Am I Entitled To An Appeal?

Friday, May 1, 2015 | 9:59 pm

In the last article I discussed the nature of an appeal and the functions of the trial courts and the courts of appeal. Family law is probably one of the most complex areas of the law. This is also true for family law cases before the court of appeal. In this article I will discuss appeals in family law cases.

The appellate process is begun by one of the parties filing a notice of appeal if they believe that the trial court incorrectly applied the law. In this notice the claimed error is usually identified . This notice of appeal must be filed within 60 days of entry of the judgment or order in question. Failure to timely file precludes any appeal. At the same time notice is given by the appealing party, that party must determine what portion of the court’s file will be needed and whether any oral statements made in the court proceedings are also needed. This is called the designation of the record which is directed to the Superior Court. Once the record is compiled it is then transmitted to the Court of Appeal. This usually takes from two to four months.

When the record is received by the Court of Appeal, notice is given to both parties which triggers the briefing schedule. The appellant files an opening brief, then a responding brief is filed by the other party, followed by appellant’s closing brief. If there are no extensions granted this process takes 80 days.

Once the briefs are filed oral argument is offered to the parties.  Following oral argument the court will issue a written opinion. This process usually takes another 60 days. The written opinion explains the issues, with analysis and then concludes whether the trial court was correct in its decision. If the trial court was correct then the decision will stand. If the trial court was incorrect then its decision will be reversed and the matter is returned to the trial court to enter different orders or to conduct further hearing if necessary.

The next article will discuss additional process for an appeal of an order.

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