• February 1, 2023
  • Yoni Levoritz
  • Divorce

When can you Appeal a Family law matter?
A guide by The Levoritz Law Firm

When you are given a final court judgment issued by the court, you may disagree with the judgment rendered. You may have noticed a mistake of law that was applied during your family law court proceedings or even false evidence relied upon during the proceeding. You may be wondering what your next steps are. Read on to find out about your next steps in appealing a family law matter.

Appeals and how to Preserve your Right to Appeal-

In the legal world, an appeal is the court process in which cases are reviewed by a higher authority, like a higher court’s judgment, where a party requests a formal change to an official decision. A court appeal can function both to correct any mistakes that occurred during the court process in addition to seeking clarification or an interpretation of a particular law.

You can preserve your right to appeal in your family court matter by ensuring that your objection to appeal is raised during the original matter. If you do not preserve your right to appeal, your appeal may be limited to only errors in applying the law.

What is an Appellate Attorney?

An appellate lawyer will objectively evaluate your family law case based on any new information that is found after the court renders its decision or judgment. The appellate attorney will assist parties in answering any questions, conducting a thorough evaluation of the previous case, and ensuring that the parties are on the same page regarding the decision’s clarity and ability to be appealed in the New York State court system.

Most Appellate attorneys strictly focus on the legal and procedural issues of the case rather than the facts and finding during the court proceedings. Factual accounts during court cases are almost never re-examined on appeal, subject to extenuating circumstances.

You must preserve your record to appeal in any case. If an objection is not raised, chances are you only have an appeal if there is an error of law. You can speak to an Appellate attorney about your case if you have any questions about preserving your right to appeal.

A knowledgeable and competent attorney, like the ones at The Levoritz Law Firm, can assist you in answering your questions about a potential appeal, can consult with you about the ramifications of a family law appeal, and guide you through the process. Contact the Levoritz Law Firm today for your free consultation or through our online form to arrange a consultation.

What is the timeline to appeal an action?

The deadline for filing an appeal starts to run if you are served with a copy of the Order or Judgment with a Notice of Entry. The order or Judgement with Notice of Entry are the forms you will receive from the New York State Court system with the judgment from your family law matter.

According to the New York State Code CPLR 5513[a], there is a 30-day statutory time limit for taking a civil appeal that runs from the date of service of the judgment or order sought to be appealed from, with written notice of its entry. This means that if you disagree with a decision that the court has issued or rendered in your family law matter, you have 30 days to appeal this decision.

Further, New York State Law dictates that an appeal from a family law matter must take place within 30 days after service by a party or an Attorney for the child upon the appellant of the order sought to be reviewed, within 30 days after receipt by the appellant of a copy of the order in open court; or within 35 days after the mailing of the order to the appellant by the clerk, whichever is earliest.

What does a Notice of Appeal Contain?

An appeal is started with an important document titled the “Notice of Appeal.” A Notice of Appeal is the written paper you file to let the court and the other side know (likely, your ex-spouse) you are appealing the court’s decision for a matter of law, procedural issue, or a mistake of law.

According to the New York State Courts, the notice of appeal will contain the following:

The name of the case and index or docket number, like it is written at the top of all the court papers
Your name
The order or judgment you are appealing
The date of the order or judgment
The name of the court that made the order and entered the judgment
The name of the court that you are appealing to

What types of decisions can you appeal?

You must have a “leave to appeal” for a family court matter to be able to appeal the decision, or it must be the final order for it to be appealable.

In a family law appeal, akin to other types of civil appeal matters, you can appeal a mistake of law, a procedural mistake, or errors made by the court. You can also appeal decisions that were rendered after the final judgment, like child custodial issues. Remember, you can only appeal a court decision after a final judgment was rendered and not a preliminary or another type of judgment.

In most cases, you can not appeal a preliminary judgment, like for child custodial issues or dealing with an elder adult during divorce proceedings, because the court did not issue a final judgment on the matter.

Another vital clarification on what you can or can not appeal is that a Judge from a New York court of law must issue the final judgment or decision. It can not be issued by an arbitrator or mediator.

This means that if your divorce proceedings were dictated by a third-party mediator or arbitrator, these decisions could not be appealed in the same fashion as a final judgment by a court.

Who can Appeal a Family Court decision?

Either side of the family law court matter can appeal a judgment or verdict rendered by a judge on their case. However, only a person or entity that was a party in the family law court case can appeal a decision made in that case. Even if there were an outsider interested party, they would not be able to appeal a family law case, even if it potentially affected them. An example of someone that could not appeal a family law court case is an adult child during a divorce proceeding of their parents.

A knowledgeable and experienced appellate attorney can answer all your questions about a potential family law appeal, prepare you to appeal the decision, and ensure you meet all of the appeal deadlines. Contact the Levoritz Law Firm today for your free consultation or through our online form to arrange a consultation.


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