Things to know regarding the family law appeals process | The Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers, APC
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Things to know regarding the family law appeals process

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When you got divorced, you were hopeful that you could put the past behind you and move on with your kids to a new lifestyle. You quickly realized things wouldn't be going so smoothly when your ex announced that he or she wanted to change the existing custody arrangement. You weren't overly concerned about it at the time, although you may have been somewhat annoyed.

Flash forward to the court's ruling in your case -- a ruling that was not in your favor. You're now faced with the question of whether or not to file an appeal. First of all, you can't simply ask an appellate court to override a judge's decision just because you were not happy about the ruling. You must have legitimate grounds for an appeal. Determining whether or not you do likely requires help from someone well-versed in family law matters.

What are the grounds and what steps must you take?

If courtroom proceedings go in your ex's favor, you might be quite upset and frustrated about the court's decision. One or more of the following issues must exist, however, in order to have legitimate cause to file an appeal:

  • If the court misunderstood certain facts in your case or applied importance to certain information that, in fact, had no bearing, it may be reason to ask an appellate court to review your situation.
  • Any misuse of law would also be grounds to take a case to the appellate level. Judges are capable of error, and if the court misinterprets a particular law and this misunderstanding influences the court's decision in your case, you may have grounds to appeal.
  • Either a petitioner or respondent may file an appeal, provided he or she has cause to do so. A petitioner is the person who brought the initial case to court; the respondent is the person against whom the petitioner filed the case.

Depending on the details of your individual case, the appellate court may do one of several things. The appellate court may reverse the family court's decision. It is also possible that the appellate court will order the case remanded back to the family court, meaning the family court must hear the case again. Two other possibilities are that the appellate court would affirm the original court's decision or would modify it in some way.

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