Appeals and Post-Judgement Motions

Bookcase full of law books
Many attorneys who appear adept during trials or hearings find themselves struggling when an appeal or post judgment motion is needed: the legal research and writing that appellate practice requires is not their strong point. Georgia Lord has extensive experience in handling litigation that requires the briefing of complex legal questions and taught legal writing to law students at Emory University College of Law and Georgia State College of Law. She has demonstrated the capacity to promptly produce lengthy, well-researched briefs that persuasively present her client’s case. During her work with Fulton Superior Court she has continued to prove her ability to rapidly digest voluminous materials submitted by other counsel and promptly draft materials that clearly address the pertinent points.

I think the trial judge made the wrong decision. Can I appeal to a higher court?
A party disappointed with a trial court’s ruling can ordinarily appeal from that ruling. Often, however, you cannot appeal right away but must instead wait until later – sometimes years later. In other situations you can bring an appeal right away but the rules governing the appellate court’s consideration of that appeal may make it highly unlikely that the trial court’s ruling will be set aside. On the other hand, sometimes a seemingly insignificant aspect of the trial court’s actions may provide a means by which to get its entire order reversed. The rules regulating these questions are particularly convoluted and it is extremely easy to file too early, file too late, file in the wrong court, file a doomed appeal, or overlook a means by which a bad decision could be challenged. Parties weighing a possible appeal need advice from an attorney knowledgeable regarding the complicated web of rules governing Georgia appeals in order to make a well-reasoned decision regarding whether, when and how to bring it.

If I appeal, do I have to follow the bad order while we are working to get it reversed?
It depends. In some circumstances the legal principle of supersedeas can prevent the winning party from enforcing an order while an appeal or certain types of post-trial motions are pending. There are additional rules that are unique to family law cases. Often a temporary order may control the parties’ actions while they await further review of the final order. If an appeal by the other side has left you in an untenable position an attorney familiar with these principles can help you finds ways to seek relief.

I won at trial, but the other party has filed an appeal. Can’t I just rely on the trial court’s order? What else do I really need to do?
No, you will also need to present arguments and information in support of the trial court’s order. The party appealing may only prefer the portion of the facts that favor its point of view or may even misrepresent the facts. In addition, the legal arguments the appealing party presents may well be different from those that were presented to the trial court and may not even be mentioned in its order.