How to appeal a child custody order

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Custody on Friday, February 8, 2019.

While every family court judge tries to rule in the best interest of the child in each case, the reality is that mistakes happen. In custody cases in Illinois and across the United States, judges may make a judgment call that isn’t right. Thankfully, parents have the right to appeal most custody orders, but the rules regarding these appeals can vary between one state and another.

The first thing to consider is whether the order in the custody case is final. A final order is one in which the court has reached its ultimate conclusion on the issue. A final order is typically entered after a hearing is held and all arguments are heard. If an order isn’t final, that means there are still issues to be decided at the trial level. Without a final order, an appeal isn’t appropriate yet. The rules regarding these appeals depend on the laws of the state the court sits in, so parents may want to consult an attorney with experience in family law in their state.

Just because an appeal is possible doesn’t mean it is likely to succeed. For starters, an appeals court can only consider the evidence entered at the trial court. No new evidence will be admitted during the appeal. It will also use the same rules and laws to review the case that the trial court did. In many cases, the appeals court will simply agree with the trial judge and leave an order in place.

Parents considering an appeal of a final custody order may want to consider hiring an experienced family law attorney. The appellate process can be complicated, and a mistake could lead the court to refuse to consider a case on its merits. An attorney may be able to help a parent file an appeal and present the case that the original order goes against the best interest of the child.

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