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Previously I blogged about what happens during a family law trial.  To see that post, click here.  In this post, I will discuss what happens during an appeal.

The first question that has to be answered is whether a matter is ripe for an appeal. If the case is still pending and you want to file an appeal, there is no appeal as of right.  The case is called "interlocutory" and you need to file a Motion for Leave to Appeal.  Similarly, in most circumstances, a matter is not ripe for appeal unless the Order or Judgment being appealed from resolves all issues as to all parties.  Motions for leave to appeal are seldom granted because courts do not like piecemeal litigation and it frustrates the notion of judicial economy.  If you are going to file a Motion for Leave to Appeal, it must be filed within 20 days of service of the Order.

For appeals as of right, typically filed when a matter is over, in the case of a divorce, or upon receiving an Order resolving a post judgment motion, these must be filed within 45 days from the date of the Order or Judgment. 

In an appeal, you must show that the trial judge made an error as to the law or the facts.  In fact, the scope of Appellate review is whether the trial judge’s findings could reasonably have been reached on sufficient credible evidence present in the entire record (meaning the evidence and testimony presented to the trial court.) Moreover, the factual findings of the trial judge, his assessments of credibility and the discretionary decisions he may make are entitled to great deference. When the reviewing Court is satisfied that the findings and the result meet the above criterion, they should not disturb the result, even though they may have reached a different conclusion. 


Continue Reading What Happens in a Family Law Appeal?