It’s not over ‘til it’s over
Certified Family Law Specialist
In North Carolina, parties can’t typically appeal decisions of a Trial Court until the Trial Court has addressed all the pending issues. In the family law context, that means, until the Trial Court has resolved each claim for relief, including claims for attorney fees, it is not time to appeal. There are exceptions to this rule, but the exceptions are few.
The Court of Appeals has dismissed 2 appeals at our request, because issues remain for the trial court to decide in the case, in the same case! The first appeal in our case was brought after a favorable ruling by the Trial Court on the date of marriage. (See N.C. Court of Appeals Opinions, 2008 unpublished opinions, Duncan v. Duncan), http://appellate.nccourts.org/opinions/
At the time of this appeal, the Trial Court had not yet ruled on equitable distribution, alimony and attorney fees. The Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal.
The second appeal came after the equitable distribution trial, and after our client had been awarded alimony, but before her attorney fee claim had been resolved. (See N.C.Court of Appeals Opinions, 2012 Duncan v. Duncan), http://appellate.nccourts.org/opinions/
Again, the Court of Appeals has dismissed the appeal.
We expect a third trip to the Court of Appeals when the issue of attorney fees is resolved, when there will be no remaining issues for the Trial Court to decide.