In the American legal system, you have the ability to appeal the outcome of the court’s decision in your case. The appeal process is very often misunderstood. Though you can appeal the decision of the court, you can’t do so simply because you’re unhappy with the results. In order to appeal, you must prove that the judge made a mistake in his/her decision.
Acceptable Reasons for Appeal
When it comes to family court decisions, the only acceptable reason to appeal is if the judge erroneously applied the law or didn’t completely understand the facts. For example, if you were ordered to pay child support on three kids, but there are only two. Maybe the judge wrongly interpreted the law or simply abused his/her power. When you appeal a family court judge’s decision, you must prove a definite error on the part of the judge.
Process of Appeal
Your case will not be re-heard in the appellate court. They will simply take records from the first along with written arguments explaining where you feel the judge was wrong. If your ex is the one requesting an appeal, you do not have a chance or the right to present your case. The argument will be read to a panel of judges in 15 minutes or less. You will not be able to be present. A formal decision will be made on the case and mailed to you later.
Drawbacks of Appeals
The time and expense involved is one of the biggest drawbacks to appealing the family court’s decision. It may be a year or more before your appeal is finally resolved. Additionally, you should know that most of the time, appeals require an attorney due to the complexity, so there’s the high attorney’s fees and other legal expenses.
When it comes to family court decisions, the judge is expected to interpret facts on a case by case basis. They have been granted discretion, which basically means that their decisions are based on their opinions. There really aren’t any specific rules. When appealing, you must prove the judge was wrong- but there really is no right/wrong in family court. Most of the time, the appellate court will not decide that the judge’s feelings were wrong and only overturn decisions if there was a glaring legal mistake made.