Blogs from May, 2021


Have you recently been through a litigated divorce or another family law dispute that ended in your exes’ favor? Does something about what happened during the trial process not sit right with you? When you have a serious issue with how your case was decided, you should know that New York law allows you to appeal most final decisions. Depending upon how the appeal is handled, the outcome of your case could be completely reversed.

What is an Appeal?

In simplified terms, an appeal is a formal request for a higher court to review the decisions and orders of a lower court. An appellate court reviews all parts of the case and decisions you complain of. An appeal is only a review of the lower court’s trial. It is not a retrial. No new evidence, testimonies, or expert statements can be brought into the appeal. Whatever evidence which was used in the first trial is what will be reviewed in the appeal.

Can You Appeal Anything You Don’t Like?

No. Most non-final orders are not appealable. This is an issue to consult an attorney about.

What Goes Into An Appeal?

In order to have a good chance of success in the appellate court, you need to cite genuine case law and present the objective issues in your case. You should not appeal simply because you do not like the outcome of your case. There must be a legally appealable issue.

An objective issue would be something like the judge misinterpreting New York’s laws and making an order based upon that misunderstanding. Or you might have good reason to believe that the family court judge did not properly consider the facts, leading to an erroneous decision.

How a Family Law Appeal is Filed

While filing an appeal can look and feel simple, it is not. I always suggest that, where at all possible, an appeal should be analyzed and filed by an attorney who is familiar with the appellate process.

This is the usual order of a family/divorce law appeal in the State of New York:

  1. A family law or divorce case concludes.
  2. The party opposed to the judge’s decision has 30 days to file a notice of appeal with the clerk of the correct court. If the 30-day time limit expires, it becomes much more difficult to appeal, if not impossible.
  3. Both parties are given time to prepare for the appeal and file briefs. Preparation time can vary from Appellate Division to Appellate Division, so be sure to check with a local attorney for guidance.
  4. In-Person Argument of the Appeal or Submission (allowing the judges to decide the case without in-person argument) of the Appeal.
  5. The higher court reviews the appellate case for mistakes, legal errors, and other problems brought up in the appeal.
  6. A decision is reached by the higher court.

Outcomes of Family Law Appeals

There are three possible outcomes of a family law appeal:

  • The orders of the lower court are upheld. This means that the appeal was denied.
  • The orders of the lower court are reversed in whole or in part and a different outcome is made by the appellate court.
  • The orders of the lower court are reversed or suspended, and the case must be tried again in that court.

Need to Appeal? Trust A. Sheralynn.

The Law Offices of A. Sheralynn Dow, we are led by Attorney Adelola Sheralynn Dow-- a New York family lawyer with experience with extensive mediation, litigation, and appeals. We fight diligently for our clients, no matter what. If you have been given a family law or divorce order that you know to be unjust or factually incorrect, then please do not hesitate to reach out to us for legal guidance. We can help you Turn Fear Into Power When Happily Ever After Fades Way®.

Call 800.560.0922 to schedule a Legal Strategy Session today.

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