In all areas of law, including divorce and family law cases, there are instances when a trial court does not render a fair, jus, or equitable decision. This does not necessarily mean that all is lost.
If you have received an adverse ruling in your divorce or paternity case, you may benefit from consulting with the attorneys at Hurst, Robin & Kay, LLC. Our attorneys are able to identify instances where the court has failed to properly apply the law based upon the facts of a given case. We have successfully represented clients in numerous Illinois State Court appeals and are available to assist you in this process. Attorney Brian Hurst has successfully argued before the Illinois Supreme Court, which is a rarity in family law cases. At Hurst, Robin & Kay, LLC, our attorneys have the legal knowledge, skill and experience to assist you in determining whether an appeal is appropriate for your case. If you are interested in appealing a ruling, please contact us for a consultation. Time may be of the essence, call today.
In all areas of law, there are instances when a trial court does not render a fair and equitable decision. This is true in divorce and family law cases, where decisions handed down by the court may not be appropriate for everyone involved. If the family law court made a decision that you don’t feel is in you or your children’s best interests, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all is lost.
If you have received a ruling that you don’t like or doesn’t serve you and your family’s needs in your divorce or paternity case, you may benefit from consulting with our family law appeals attorneys. Our attorneys can identify situations where the court has failed to apply the law properly based upon the facts given in the case.
How we approach appeals
Our family law firm provides masterful and aggressive appellate services to clients who need help appealing a trial court’s decision. We handle appeals relating to complex family law matters involving
- Child custody
- Child support
- Child visitation
- Spousal support
- Separate property
- Community property
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- Premarital agreements
- And more
Our family law attorneys have the reputation and breadth of knowledge to handle the complex issues that may arise in the appeals process. Having an attorney on your side who has experience in handling appeals and writs may make all the difference.
How the appeals process works
An appeal’s purpose is to request that a higher court reverse the trial court’s decision. The Courts of Appeals steps in to review the record and determine if the trial judge made any mistake or neglected to account for anything that affected the final decision.
You can challenge an adverse decision that the trial court handed down by filing an appeal in the Court of Appeals (appellate court). Protecting the record of proceedings and evidence at the trial court level is crucial. Without securing this trial court information, there may be no practical way to appeal.
A panel of judges from the appellate court typically decides the issue. This panel hears oral arguments from both sides. However, it doesn’t provide an opportunity to bring in new evidence or listen to novel witnesses. Bear in mind that an appeal is not a re-trial of your case.
If you expect an unfavorable decision at the trial court level, it is helpful to secure appellate counsel early in the process. Or, if you wish to protect a favorable ruling you anticipate receiving, it is also beneficial to engage appellate counsel first — before the appeal is filed.
Once you receive a final decision from the trial court, you have only a short amount of time to file your appeal. If you intend to launch an appeal, an experienced appellate attorney can provide legal advice about the applicable filing deadline.
Successes in Appellate Court
First District Appellate Court
In re Marriage of Edelberg and Slobodien, 2015 IL App (1st) 141940-U. HRK prevails in defense of appeal addressing maintenance in gross, valuation issues. The Appellate Court affirmed all of the trial court’s rulings. At issue on appeal was an order of maintenance “in gross”, valuation of the marital residence and interest in a business, the propriety of a nunc pro tunc order, and the award of attorney’s fees to Husband for the defense of the appeal.
Illinois Supreme Court
In re Marriage of Gutman, 232 Ill.2d 145 (2008) (published): Hurst, Robin & Kay prevailed on behalf of the petitioner. The Supreme Court held that in light of former wife’s pending contempt petition, an order terminating maintenance was not a final order that was immediately appealable, in the absence of a finding by the trial court that there was no just reason for delaying the appeal. This matter clarified conflicting case law regarding Illinois Supreme Court Rule 304(b).
First District Appellate Court
In 2012 Hurst, Robin & Kay successfully overturned the decision of the trial court awarding exclusive possession of the marital residence to the wife. The Appellate Court reversed the finding of the trial court relating to exclusive possession pursuant to 750 ILCS 5/701. It was held that trial court’s judgment granting wife’s petition for exclusive possession of the marital residence was unsubstantiated by the evidence. This matter addressed an issue without extensive precedent in case law. This was the first published case on this issue in eighteen years in Illinois.
Chraca v. Chraca, 2012 IL App (1st) 111938-U (unpublished): Hurst, Robin & Kay prevailed on behalf of the respondent. The Appellate Court affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of petitioner’s petition for a rule to show cause why respondent should not be held in contempt for failing to make certain court-ordered payments where respondent did not willfully refuse to obey the court order and where the petitioner failed to make a cohesive argument and provide a complete record on review.
In re Marriage of Workman, 09-0045 (2009) (unpublished): Hurst, Robin & Kay successfully defended the trial court’s award of property and support. The Appellate Court affirmed all findings of the trial court relating to property, debt, and support, and found that the Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage and underlying Agreement in Principle were not unconscionable.
Illinois Second District Appellate Court
In re Marriage of Blackburn, 2013 IL App (2d) 110719-U (unpublished): Hurst, Robin & Kay prevailed at trial and successfully defended the decision in the Appellate Court. The Appellate Court affirmed the trial court’s determination as to the apportionment of stock and other marital property, petitioner’s 401(k) account, and interest payments on loans apportioned to respondent. The trial court reasoned that the stock, which was valued at $6,101,335, was obtained during the marriage through the exercise of nonmarital options utilizing marital funds, resulting in the newly acquired stock being marital property.
In re Marriage of Preston, 2-08-0826 & 09-0090 cons. (2008) (unpublished): The Appellate Court agreed with Appellant, who was represented by Hurst, Robin & Kay, that the trial court’s determination that commingling between marital and nonmarital funds had occurred was against the manifest weight of the evidence. The court found that Appellant’s non-marital property did not lose its identity. The Appellate Court also reversed the award to Appellee of $194,282.84 from Appellant’s inheritance, and found this award was against the manifest weight of the evidence.
How to get professional representation
Family law attorneys can assist you in the appeals process. They have the legal experience and knowledge to help you. If an appeal is an appropriate option in your circumstances, we’ll let you know once we’ve conducted a case review. If you would like to appeal an unfair or biased ruling, please contact Hurst, Robin & Kay, LLC today to schedule a consultation.