What You Should Know About Handling Family Court Appeals

Decisions in family court can often resolve issues that are related to divorce including the division of property, child custody, and child and spousal support. Each state has mechanisms in place through court appeals that help to ensure that courts act appropriately and apply the law in the correct manner. By understanding the types of errors and orders that one can appeal, many parties can receive help to determine how they can best proceed should they believe a judge has made a mistake in his or her judgement.

What is the Appeals Process?

The definition of an appeal is a request that is made to a higher court to revisit a decision made by a lower court. It is important to note that appealing does not mean the case is retried – new evidence cannot be submitted in an appeal. An appeal instead is just the court of appeals reviewing the record of the trial and deciding whether or not the judge of the original case acted within his or her discretion. Should the appellate court decide the judge on the case made the correct decision, the judgement is upheld – if it believes the judge made the wrong decision, that decision is then overturned.

How to Begin an Appeal

The appeals process can be started by filling out a Notice of Appeal with the court before a deadline specified by state law. This deadline is often either 30 days or 60 days from the date when the original court order was decided. In the notice, the complainant needs to provide the basic information about the case he or she is appealing and have a copy delivered to the other party, which in most family court cases is the complainant’s spouse. Once the notice has been filed, the court usually requests that the complainant obtain and file copies of the transcripts from any of the previous hearings that took place.

Parties may also have to file a written description of the basis of their appeal, which could be followed by sitting for an oral argument. After reviewing all of the evidence provided, the court of appeals issues a ruling, which either affirms or reverses the decision that was made by the lower court. Another option is the court of appeals demanding a retrial. It is important to keep in mind that the appeals process can take up to a year to complete though expedited processes may be available.

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3 thoughts on “A Brief Introduction to Family Court Appeals”

  1. I wish to appeal recent orders on a family court matter. I’m also interested in filing charges of prejudice and malfeasance against the judge. Her orders are completely out of line with evidence presented.

  2. Benjamin Andrews

    I found it interesting that you state that it’s important to file your appeal before the 30-day deadline. My brother is looking to get a longer amount of time with his kids during the week and wants to make sure he takes it to court as many times as possible. I will send him this information so he can read more on family law and appeals.

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