Bringing And Defending Against Family Law Appeals
A court decree is not always the legal end of the story in a divorce or a custody dispute. Parties are frequently displeased with decisions reached in their family law, matrimonial, custody or support cases. Depending on whether the divorce or child-related issue was heard before the Supreme Court of the State of New York (“the Supreme Court”) or a family court, once a decision is rendered by a judge or hearing officer, you have a certain number of days to file for an appeal.
Typically, in a matrimonial law case in New York, it is your right to appeal any final order that a court hands down. Although you have that right, this is not a step that you should take quickly or on your own. It is important to first ask your attorney to assess the merits of your appeal and help you anticipate likely scenarios and outcomes. Founder and managing partner Kamelia “Mia” Poppe, Esq., of The Law Firm of Poppe & Associates, PLLC, is available to evaluate potential family and matrimonial law appeals in New York City.
Mia can also defend your position if a case outcome is in your favor and an appeal is filed by the opposing side. As your lawyer, she can counter an appeal with compelling arguments for denying the appeal or fight back if you appeal and the other side counters your appeal.
The Family Law Appeal Process
Time is of the essence if you plan to appeal a court’s decision. In a divorce action filed in the Supreme Court, parties have 30 days post the date of entry to file and serve a notice of appeal. In a family court, parties have 35 days past receipt of the decision to file with the clerk of court.
After you’ve filed your claim you must submit your legal brief, which will then be served to the opposing party. The timeline for submitting varies within the 4 appellate divisions in New York City, so be sure to verify how soon you must appeal.
Finally, the opposing party has the opportunity to file a brief in opposition to your brief. Upon completion of these steps, a hearing is scheduled for oral arguments.
Reasons You May File An Appeal
The following are arguments in support of an appeal that you may bring after a judge or court has issued a court decree or child support decision.
- The judge applied the law incorrectly or misapprehended the law.
- There was an improvident use of judicial discretion.
- There was an abuse of discretions.
- The judge made a factual mistake.
- New evidence has been brought to light.
There are different processes and interpretations of the law among the 4 appellate divisions. Work with an attorney who knows the idiosyncrasies of each court.
Appellate Outcomes And Explanations Of Their Meanings
The most common outcomes of Appeal Courts include the following:
- Reversing a decision by a trial court
- Remanding or sending an appeal back to the lower trial court for reconsideration
- Affirming or approving of the original decision
- Modifying the appeal
- A combination of the four outcomes listed above
Below are extended descriptions of these outcomes:
- A reversal means the appellate court decides that the decision of the lower trial court was wrong. When this happens, the appellate court may vacate the decision of the family court. To vacate a decision means to cancel or set aside the decision as if it did not happen.
- When an appellate court remands a decision, it directs the lower court to hear the case again. This may mean a new trial on all or some of the issues will be necessary, with instructions from the appellate court.
- For an appellate court to affirm a case outcome means that the appellate court agrees that the lower court made the right decision. This means the decision will stay the same and the appeal will not alter that original decision.
- Lastly, when an appellate court modifies a case outcome, at least part of the family court decision will be changed.
- If you are unhappy with the outcome of your matrimonial matter contact us today to arrange an initial consultation.
To recap, the appellate division may reverse, remand, affirm, and/or modify the decision of the family court or parts of the decision.
Learn About Your Prospects For A Family Or Matrimonial Law Appeal
Put Mia’s experience and persistence on your side after a family court or the Supreme Court has issued a custody order or a divorce decree.