In North Carolina, parties to a case may be able to file an appeal if they believe the trial court made a mistake of law or legal procedure. Appeals courts analyze decisions by the trial courts to determine if the law was applied appropriately and to ensure there were no conduct errors. There are a few potential rulings that the appeals court can make. Continue reading →
It isn’t uncommon for at least one party in a divorce, child custody, or support matter to be disappointed with the outcome of the case. Some people may think that filing an appeal is an obvious option to have another shot at a more favorable judgment, but that’s not how it works. When you appeal, the appeals judge will examine the decision made by the lower court to look for possible mistakes, omissions, or misapplications of the law. Continue reading →
If you have an active or pending family law case, you have likely heard many terms that you’re not familiar with. The complexity of North Carolina laws can make family law proceedings difficult to navigate, especially when you aren’t fluent in legalese. If your case has already been through a preliminary hearing or has temporary order in place, you may have heard the word interlocutory.
Outside of the legal world, this is not a common word, so it’s understandable if you have questions about what it means for your pending case. Continue reading →
AMAN V. NICHOLSON, 2023-NCCOA-________ (2023).
- Facts: Plaintiff and Defendant are parents of a minor child. They separated in fall of 2019. Plaintiff filed for custody, and a temporary order was entered. The temporary order granted joint legal custody (decision making) and primary physical custody to Plaintiff, visitation to Defendant. It further required each party to obtain and exchange psychological evaluations and to attend counseling. Eventually, the custody matter was set for trial in spring of 2021. On the first day of trial, Defendant provided a list to Plaintiff containing three expert witnesses that he planned on calling to testify. Defendant also provided the witnesses’ CVs and the written reports of two of the witnesses. Plaintiff objected and wanted to exclude the expert testimony. The trial court agreed, and entered an Order that excluded Defendant’s three expert witnesses from testifying. When trying to settle the record on appeal, Defendant wanted the CVs and written reports of the experts included, while Plaintiff objected to their inclusion. In judicial settlement of the record, the trial court ordered that the reports and CVs not be included. Defendant appealed.
Shebalin v. Shebalin, 2022-NCCOA-410.
This appeal arose from the appointment of a parenting coordinator. Parenting coordinators are often appointed to child custody cases when the parents absolutely cannot get along. Plaintiff and Defendant had a minor child together who was at the center of their custody dispute. The trial court’s finding was that the case had become “high conflict” and thus a parenting coordinator was appointed for a term of years. In 2019, Defendant filed a motion to appoint again and was met with a motion to dismiss. At the hearing on these motions in 2020, the trial court again labeled the case high conflict, denied the motion to dismiss, and then set out a future date for the appointment of a coordinator. Continue reading →
On October 13, 2021, the North Carolina Supreme Court adopted amendments to the Rules of Appellate Procedure. These changes will be in effect for appeals taken on or after January 1, 2022. A few of these amendments were directly caused by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and some were accelerated by it. Below are some major changes that will take effect. Continue reading →
NC Court of Appeals (No. COA20-545)
Grace DiPrima (“Plaintiff”) and Clifton Benjamin Vann, V (“Defendant”) were the best of friends. Their friendship began in the third grade, and the two stayed friends throughout grade school and beyond. Plaintiff and Defendant attended The Fletcher School (“Fletcher”), an educational institution for children with learning differences. Plaintiff and Defendant would contact each other through various means, including text messages, Instagram, phone conversations, etc. However, by 2018, Plaintiff disclosed to her parents that the relationship had become more volatile. Plaintiff stated that some of Defendant’s recent actions made her feel uncomfortable. Between July 2018 and November 2018, Plaintiff and Defendant exchanged messages concerning suicide. Continue reading →
Appeals are very technical. In the last blog, we covered the beginning sections of an appellate brief. There is opportunity to fashion a primer for argument with the presentation of facts and issues. However, be forewarned: omissions of bad facts and argumentative spin on the facts is improper and will hurt the credibility of the attorney. Continue reading →
Appeals are very technical. Last time, we covered the technicalities in a Record on Appeal. Now we address the appellate brief. The Brief is where the case is won or lost. It contains the arguments of counsel on why the appellate court should overturn the court below. As one can imagine, an argument is made in writing is very different from arguments made orally. Over time, the appellate courts have adopted uniform rules on how to present an argument in a brief, which makes things more efficient and consistent. Continue reading →
Appeals are very technical. A filing with the Court of Appeals can happen after a final judgment, or as an interlocutory appeal—meaning before the final judgment. But in order for the Court of Appeals to properly hear your case, you have to provide them with all the facts. The Court of Appeals is not a fact-finding court; you are bound by the facts that were presented in the trial level, and further bound by the facts that you present to the Court. Those facts are included in the “Record on Appeal.” Continue reading →