Like everyone and everything in life, the judicial system isn’t perfect. As such, sometimes trial courts get it wrong. If you or someone you know just received a child custody determination that you believe was wrongly decided, you have the ability to seek relief via an appeal. How is this done? How long does it take? In this blog, we look at the general process for appealing a custody order in Indiana. The first thing to consider in the appeal process is the timing of initiating the appeal. Generally speaking, once you receive a final custody order, whether it be an ...
June 17, 2020CD
Yes. No. Maybe. In Indiana, child custody is always modifiable, if modification is in the child’s best interests and there is a substantial change in one (1) or more factors1 the court can consider under the initial custody determination statute, namely (1) the age and sex of the child; (2) the wishes of the child’s parent or parents; (3) the wishes of the child, with more consideration given to the child’s wishes if the child is at least fourteen (14) years of age; (4) the interaction and interrelationship of the child with the child’s parent or parents, the child’s siblings, and ...
June 5, 2020CD
In a civil trial with many issues, such as divorce which may have child support, custody, and property issues decided, a losing party may want to challenge every issue, such as a minimal difference or error in weekly child support to be paid. While there is no express appellate rule prohibiting or limiting the number of issues a party may raise on appeal, raising more than three or four issues on appeal is normally not prudent. This blog explores why limiting the number of issues raised on appeal is practical and prudent. As a threshold matter, a party that raises numerous ...
May 29, 2020CD
Any party who loses a civil trial (bench or jury) has the right to appeal. Trials and appeals are expensive and laden with emotion. That said, we often receive inquiries from “appellees” when they find out the losing party is taking an appeal.1 These calls all focus on what really happens if they do not file an appellee’s brief. Clearly, the winner in the trial court does not have to file an Appellee’s Brief. This blog explores the reasons a potential appellee should strongly consider filing an Appellee’s Brief. There are two key reasons you should consider retaining appellate counsel to ...
May 15, 2020CD
In domestic cases, trial courts are given wide discretion to decide matters initially, such as when the parties divorce or later in child-support and/or physical and/or legal custody modification proceedings. Further, because so much time, emotion, and judicial resources go into domestic cases, Indiana’s appellate court gives trial courts vast leeway to judge the credibility of witnesses when deciding issues.2 Even if the Court of Appeals might have decided the case differently, it defers to domestic courts on how much weight to assign to a witnesses’ credibility. However, the appellate court’s do not defer to the trial court if it applies ...
May 6, 2020CD
In Indiana, there are thousands and thousands of trials and hearings each year. For litigants who lose on the merits in civil or criminal litigation, there are roughly 3,000 appeals taken to the Indiana Court of Appeals.1 This is Indiana’s intermediate appellate court. The entire appellate process is laborious for the lawyers who handle appeals and time-consuming for the Court because three judges are assigned to review every case. As might be expected, there are comprehensive rules to ensure efficiency and consistency in the process because these appeals come from all of Indiana’s 92 counties. The one rule that can ...
April 30, 2020CD
“I want to appeal!” is a statement we hear often. However, many individual’s knowledge of appeals is very limited. Understanding the appeal process can be confusing, even for attorneys. Whether it be an appeal of a final order or an interlocutory appeal as of right, having a basic understanding of the beginning process of appeals will go a long way. This blog provides the three key questions you should ask yourself when considering taking an appeal. Is this an appealable order? The first question you need to ask is whether you have an appealable order. You may be thinking to yourself, ...
February 13, 2020CD
One question we frequently hear from our clients is “can I get attorney fees?” Unfortunately, the answer to this question is, it depends. The main reason for the uncertainty surrounding the ability to obtain attorney fees is due to the fact that our legal system follows what is known as the American Rule. The American Rule is a deviation away from the old common law rule (known as the English Rule), which required the losing party of a particular matter to pay the winning party’s attorney fees. However, under the American Rule, the presumption is that both parties pay their ...
February 6, 2020CD
A frequent question we receive from our clients seeking an appeal is whether or not they can stay1 the trial court’s ruling during the pendency of the appeal. The answer to that question is, it depends. In general, seeking a stay during the pendency of an appeal is difficult to accomplish. Whether you will be successful in seeking a stay of the trial court’s order depends on the specific facts of the case and what is at issue for stay (property and/or custody). In this blog, we provide a brief overview of the process of seeking a stay during the ...
January 15, 2020CD
Indiana provides parties involved in legal disputes, whether it be criminal or civil in nature, with the opportunity to appeal the outcome of the case, albeit, with some exceptions. Like most everything else in life, an individual’s entitlement to an appeal is not absolute. There are certain requirements that must be met in order to effectively preserve your ability to pursue an appeal. In this blog, we look at three basic components to an appeal and provide a brief overview of information so that you do not forfeit your right to an appeal. Timing. The first thing to know about appeals ...
January 9, 2020CD