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Michigan Family Law Blog

Friday, August 21, 2020

When Can I Appeal a Ruling During My Divorce?

The vast majority of appeals get filed shortly after the divorce is over, but sometimes it is necessary to appeal a judge’s ruling while the case is still pending. This type of appeal is called an interlocutory appeal. The Michigan Court Rules authorize interlocutory appeals and create the framework for these actions.

An interlocutory appeal is a sophisticated legal maneuver. Although our state’s law does not force you to work with a lawyer on an interlocutory appeal, it can be a good decision to do so. A Michigan divorce appeals attorney can take care of your appeal and answer your questions about when you can appeal a ruling during your divorce.

The Michigan Court of Appeals usually handles appeals of final judgments or final orders from the trial court. A final judgment or final order only happens when your divorce is over. A decision of the judge while the case is still ongoing is not a final judgment or final order. Your lawyer will have to ask the Court of Appeals for permission or leave to appeal from the circuit court’s judgment or order that is not a final judgment in your divorce case.

A Walk-Through of Interlocutory Appeals

You will have an extra step in an interlocutory appeal because you have to get the permission of the Court of Appeals to file your appeal. Generally, you only have 21 days after the non-final judgment or order gets entered into the court’s record to file an Application for Leave to Appeal.

We will have to file an Application for Leave to Appeal that explains what you think the judge did that was an error. Also, we have to explain how you would suffer substantial harm if you had to wait until the case was over before you could file an appeal. We will file the judgment or order that is the subject of the appeal and a transcript of the hearing on the matter from the trial court.

Your spouse will have 21 days to file an answer to your Application for Leave to Appeal. The Michigan Court of Appeals does not hold oral arguments on interlocutory appeals. The appellate court will render its decision based entirely on what the parties filed in the appeal.

If the court grants the Application for Leave to Appeal, the case goes forward just as it would if it were an appeal of right from a final judgment or order. The parties will file briefs, transcripts, and other relevant material. There can be a hearing in front of appellate court judges, who will then make a decision on the merits of the alleged points of error.

Reasons for Appeals

There is almost no end to the types of actions by a trial judge that can lead to an appeal. In divorce cases, some of the common errors alleged an appeal include:

  • The child support or spousal maintenance is outside the boundaries of typical awards without sufficient justification for the variance.
  • The judge did not make sufficient findings of fact or conclusions of law in the order.
  • The judge did not carefully analyze the evidence or the law when forming the legal conclusions that were the basis of the decision.

Whether you are the person who wants to file an interlocutory appeal, or your spouse filed the appeal, a Michigan divorce appeals attorney can help you navigate the appellate process an advocate for your legal rights. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.


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