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When should you hire an appellate attorney?

Trials and appeals work very differently, which means that trial attorneys and appellate attorneys have very different skills that they bring with them to a courtroom.

Should you consider hiring an appellate attorney to participate as part of your divorce team from the very start? While not every divorce needs that sort of extra precaution, you may want to consider it if your divorce includes the division of a lot of property and other assets, if there are significant income or support issues involved or if you believe that custody and visitation may be a real battle.

Here are several reasons why an appellate attorney can be useful from the very start of your divorce case:

1. Having an appellate attorney on hand frees your trial attorney up to do what he or she does best -- pleading your case, interviewing witnesses, deposing experts and negotiating.

Your appellate attorney can focus on making certain that your right to appeal an issue is preserved by objecting when necessary and building the record. Many appeals are lost before they start because the trial attorney is focused on the case at hand and misses an important objection. This means that the right to appeal that issue isn't preserved.

2 Your appellate attorney can help your trial attorney find a strategy. These attorneys can examine your case and determine what issues they think will be the hardest to win at the trial level. An appellate attorney can help examine the issues from the appellate judge's perspective in order to strategically present the issue in terms of how it could affect public policy or change future cases.

3. An appellate attorney can also make sure that the physical record of the proceedings is properly maintained. This helps keep mistakes from getting into the official record. The appellate attorney can keep an eye on the court reporter to make sure that any argument that needs to be on the record is captured. He or she can also make sure that the clerk of courts properly records all pleading and motions. That trial record is incredibly important to a successful appeal.

For more information on how an appellate law attorney might be able to help you during the initial phases of your case, talk to an attorney today.

Source: FindLaw, "Getting a Lawyer for Your Appeal," accessed May 25, 2017

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