I have just been to court for claimed arrearages and represented myself pro-se. I feel I prepared myself as much as possible, but can’t help feeling intimidated by the courts. I haven’t received the outcome yet, but my ex is trying to claim that while 1 of our 2 children have lived with each of us that she is still entitled to support and is asking in excess of 13k for back support. If I lose this case, will I have the option of appealing the decision and will it be alright to retain a lawyer this time? I am also curious if in the appeal only the previous evidence can be used by both sides or can more evidence be introduced to disclaim her requests for support.
Yes, you can retain an attorney at any point in litigation without regard to whether you had one previously. The court may not adjust deadlines or court appearances when a party does retain counsel, but you can still do so. So, yes, if the judge makes an unfavorable decision, you can appeal the decision with the assistance of counsel. In regard to evidence, the appeals court will only review the evidence considered by the trial court. No more evidence can be introduced at that point. Whatever evidence the court considered during your hearing is the evidence that will be considered by the appeals court.
Claudia J. Weaver is an Associate Attorney with Cordell & Cordell, P.C., in Overland Park, Kansas. Ms. Weaver practices exclusively in the area of domestic relations.