APPEALING A COURT'S ORDER
Generally speaking, when a court rules in a family law matter, one or both of the parties will be unhappy with the result. This is particularly true in cases where the parties have tried and failed to settle the case on their own because such parties often have expectations that are very far apart to begin with.
What can you do if you're unhappy with a court's order? First of all, with the help of an attorney, you can file a special motion asking the court to reconsider ("alter or amend") its ruling. This is the least expensive option, but it may not be very effective, since a judge who decided a case against you the first time is not very likely to do a complete 180 just because you request him or her to reconsider.
If the ruling was inconsistent with Tennessee law or precedent, the ruling did not seem logical in light of the evidence presented, or you simply cannot live with the result and you really believe the judge was wrong, you can also file an appeal to ask the Court of Appeals to review the judge's decision. Appeals are highly technical, and the rules and procedures of the Court of Appeals must be strictly followed. For this reason, it is a bad idea for most people to attempt to represent themselves in the Court of Appeals.
You have a very limited time to file an appeal after the court makes its ruling, so it is imperative that you consult with an appellate attorney immediately if you think you might want to pursue an appeal.