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NYC Family Law Appeals Lawyers

Appealing A Family Court’s Decision In New York

It is possible for people to put a lot of time and effort into trying to make their case in family court. They may still not get the decision they believe is fair. It is also possible that errors were made by the judge deciding the case. There is a mechanism in place for making certain judges act appropriately and correctly apply legal standards. This is known as the appeal process.

Challenge A Ruling
When a person wants to challenge the ruling of a New York family court, they or their attorney can file an appeal. This is a request for a higher court to review the decision made by the family court. It’s important to realize the appellate court is not rehearing the case that was presented. People are not permitted to submit any new evidence. The Appellate court will only be reviewing the trial record. They will try to determine if a judge acted with proper discretion. Should an appellate court determine the judge acted appropriately, the decision given by the New York family court will be upheld.

Aggrieved Party
In the state of New York, a person who wants to proceed with an appeal must be an aggrieved party. This is the individual or entity that does not get the decision they request during a court trial. Once a person is able to prove they are an aggrieved party, they must make certain the court’s decision is appealable at that juncture. Most things in family court are appealable. It’s even possible to appeal orders of support. The responsible appellate court will make every effort to provide a speedy trial in this situation. Temporary orders issued by the New York Supreme Court are also appealable. Most final judgments are appealable. A temporary order that effects a final judgment can also be reviewed on appeal.

Grounds For Appeals
It is possible for a person to believe a judge made a mistake in their case. It’s important for a person to know if they have grounds for an appeal. The legal grounds for an appeal are limited in scope to errors in fact and the law. This could happen in a situation where a state law requires a parent to complete some type of counseling prior to being awarded custody rights. Should a judge ignore the counseling requirement and still grant custody rights, this is considered a direct violation of the law. When a mistake in fact occurs, it happens when a judge renders a decision that no other reasonable person could have concluded based on the evidence that was presented. This could be relevant in a situation where a judge awards sole custody to an unemployed parent convicted of drug use and several counts of sexual assault against children. At the same time, there is overwhelming evidence the other parent is far more fit to provide care for the child.

Appeal Process
The appeal process may begin when a Notice of Appeal is filed with the New York family court. There is a specified deadline for filing a Notice of Appeal. It is determined by New York state law. A person will have up to 60 days from the date they receive a court’s decision to file. When a notice is filed, it should provide all basic information concerning the case. A copy of the notice also needs to be delivered to the opposing party. Once an appeal is filed, the appellate court will request the individual filing the motion to obtain file transcripts for any possible hearings that could be held in the family court. A written brief will also have to be filed with the appellate court. This should explain the basis for the appeal and be followed by an oral argument. The appellate court will review the case and issue a ruling. The court will either affirm or reverse a lower court’s decision. It could also remand the matter for retrial. The entire process from start to finish could take up to twelve months. The process can be expedited if the party bringing the action can show a delay will cause harm. Expediting the appeals process is a common request in cases involving the welfare of a child.

Appellate Courts
The highest appellate court in New York State is the New York Court of Appeals. When a person appeals a decision, the appropriate Appellate Divisions will make a final decision on the appeal. It is possible for the New York Court of Appeals to provide opinions on questions of law on cases being reviewed by different Appellate Divisions.

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