In child custody matters, family courts aim to make rulings that are in the best interests of the child, even if parents can’t come to an agreement on what that is. However, there are certain legal circumstances that can justify the appeal of a child custody decision and taking the matter to the next level of court.

This article addresses the question, “can you appeal a child custody ruling?” and discusses when you might consider doing so with the help of an experienced attorney.

Grounds for Fighting a Child Custody Ruling

The decision to appeal a child custody ruling should be based on evidence that the court made an error in its decision. If you and your attorney can show that a judge made a mistake with regard to your child custody ruling, an appellate court can order the original court to re-review this judgment or retry the case. Grounds for appeal include improperly excluding or including evidence, violating a procedural requirement, or applying the law incorrectly to the case.

Steps Involved to Fight a Child Custody Ruling

There is typically only a short amount of time that you have to file an appeal after a child custody ruling is made. An attorney well-versed in New York family law will ensure that you are within your statute of limitations and follow specific rules that apply to your jurisdiction.

Final and complete custody orders can often be appealed, but non-final interlocutory orders typically cannot be. Your attorney will create a brief that summarizes your grounds for an appeal and point out inconsistencies in the ruling. Upon receipt and review of the brief, the appeal court will consider your appeal case along with original hearing transcripts and make a decision.

Possible Outcomes of Appealing a Child Custody Decision’

When you appeal a child custody ruling, the lower court’s decision can be either upheld or overturned. If upheld, the original ruling will stand as originally established. If overturned, a new ruling will be made based on the new information received and reviewed. It is also possible to lose an award of legal fees to the opposing party due to an appeal.

Child Custody Appeal vs. Modification

Appealing a child custody order can be a challenging process with varying levels of success. An appeal can draw out the process and make life more difficult for children, not to mention cost you substantially more in terms of filing fees, trial transcriptions, and brief preparation. However, an appeal may also be what is in the best interests of your children if the original court made a serious error in its ruling.
Alternatively, parents can petition the court to modify an existing ruling if circumstances have changed or after a certain amount of time has passed. Child custody modifications are typically easier and less costly than appeals and can be good options for minor changes to overnight visits or for accommodating scheduling conflicts.

Finding a Lawyer to Appeal an Unfair Ruling

If you wish to exercise your parental right to appeal a child custody order, Alatsas Law Firm can help. We are a respected law firm with over 20 years of experience that advocates for its clients, and we will use our skills to resolve your legal problems. We’re based right here in Brooklyn and know what it takes to be successful in a New York child custody ruling appeal.

For a free consultation, contact us by phone at 718-233-2903 or complete our online form to tell us more about your child custody situation.

Ted Alatsas
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Trusted Brooklyn, New York Family Law Attorney helping NY residents with Elder Law and Asset Protection