How to Appeal a Child Custody Decision in Dallas, Texas

By Brenna Davis

Child custody cases can be highly contentious and emotional, and an unfavorable ruling can be devastating. Texas law allows parents to appeal custody rulings, but the appeals process can be lengthy and difficult. If you are not already represented by an attorney, you will have a much greater chance of success if you hire a family law attorney who specializes in custody appeals. Appeals in Dallas are heard through the Texas Fifth Court of Appeals.

Step 1

Submit a motion for new trial to the clerk of family court within 15 days after the issuance of the final custody order. If the motion is not submitted in time, it is highly unlikely it will be heard or you will be granted a new trial. The motion must be submitted to the trial court that heard your original case, not directly to the court of appeals. Texas appeals courts are more likely to grant new trials whenever there is any evidence the trial court may have erred. You must demonstrate an error was made by the trial court, such as a refusal to hear certain evidence or newly discovered evidence, or judicial or juror misconduct occurred.

Step 2

Provide any new evidence to the appeals court as well as any evidence the trial court refused to hear. The appeals court may schedule a hearing to determine if there should be a new trial. If so, you should attend this hearing. The appeals court may also grant an appeal without a hearing. If the appeals court finds grounds for a new trial, it will send the case back to the trial court. The trial court may be directed to conduct an entirely new trial or only hear certain issues.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Step 3

Attend the new trial and present all of your evidence as well as any witnesses you have. Texas uses the "best interests of the child" standard in making child custody determinations; judges may consider the child's attachment to each parent, relative emotional stability of each parent and quality of the child's environment, as well as any other factors that affect the child's well-being. You must demonstrate why your proposed custody plan is in your child's best interests. If the other parent does anything that is harmful to the child, such as drinking excessively or exposing the child to criminal behavior, call witnesses and submit evidence that can support this claim.

Step 4

Submit an application for writ of error to the Supreme Court of Texas if the appeals court denies your appeal. If there is a dissenting opinion in your appeal, you will be more likely to be granted Supreme Court review.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Can You Appeal a Judge's Decision in Family Court?

References

Related articles

Statute of Limitations on Contesting a Will in New Jersey

There are several ways to contest a will in New Jersey, and each has its own time frame and statute of limitations, according to James Curcio, a real-estate attorney who was elected the Atlantic County Surrogate (probate judge) in 2010. In extraordinary cases, there might be no statute of limitations at all. If you think you have grounds to contest a will, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible.

How Long Do You Have to File an Appeal for Divorce in Arizona?

If you can't reach an agreement with your spouse as to how to end your marriage, you run the risk of having a judge decide things for you at trial. Your life – and all the things that matter most to you – end up in a judge's hands, subject to his discretion and decisions. He may or may not agree with your arguments, and he's only human. He can make mistakes. In the latter case, Arizona law gives you options for setting things right, but you won’t have much time to act.

How to Get Sole Custody of My Unborn Baby in Washington

In Washington, it is not possible to obtain sole custody of an unborn child because courts will not make custody determinations until the child is born. However, courts cannot delay or deny a divorce based on a pregnancy, meaning you may still divorce while one spouse is pregnant, and then reserve the issue of custody until later. Like all states, courts in Washington will determine custody based on what is in the best interests of the child.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How to Appeal a Divorce and Parenting Plan in Washington

Whether you live in Washington or any other state, you can usually save yourself a lot of time, money and stress if you ...

Mississippi Joint Custody Law

In Mississippi, as in all states, custody decisions are made according to the best interests of the child. Judges may ...

How to File a Petition for Visitation in Virginia

Virginia recognizes that it can be very important for a child to maintain ties with both parents even after the parents ...

How Long After a Divorce Can You Remarry in West Virgina?

West Virginia does not impose a waiting period after divorce before an ex-spouse can remarry. You can obtain a marriage ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED