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Appealing Family Court Decisions in Allegheny County

Published: Feb 07, 2018 in Family Court

Written by Anthony Piccirilli

During any type of family matter in Allegheny County, you may or may not like the outcome. You may have filed for full custody of a child you share with another adult, only to be given joint custody. You may have fought for spousal support during your divorce, only to be denied. There is no guarantee when you go to court of a family issue that you will like what happens. All you can do is work with an experienced family attorney and fight for what you believe is right for you and your children. If you find yourself in a situation in which you strongly disagree with the court’s final decision, you can speak with your lawyer about appealing family court decisions.

To learn more about the appeals process in Allegheny County family court, call Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC at (412) 471-5100.

You Cannot Appeal Every Decision

During family matters, judges will make a number of temporary decisions. Child custody is a good example. A judge may decide temporary child custody right away so that you and your children are not living in limbo or constantly arguing over what to do. This provides a parenting plan while you and your child’s other parent go through mediation or provide information to the court regarding what you believe is the best permanent child custody solution. You cannot appeal these temporary decisions. You only have the right to officially appeal final orders, such as the final child custody decision handed down by the court.

For a number of the decisions made during a divorce, the final order is the divorce decree. You may not be able to appeal a decision until the final divorce order is entered.

You Need a Valid Reason to Appeal

You may be unhappy with a judge’s decision for any number of reasons. You may believe it is unfair or not the best decision for your children. You may not like the situation it establishes. However, simply being upset by or disagreeing with a court’s final decision is not enough to file an appeal. You could file an appeal based on these feelings, however it would be a waste of your time and money.

Instead, an appeal should be used when you believe the court made a mistake in interpreting the law or abused their discretion. When you believe either of these situations have occurred, speak with your attorney. If your emotions are clouding your judgment, your lawyer can give you an objective analysis of the situation. If you are right, then your lawyer can discuss the process of an appeal.

Appeals Must Happen Quickly

You have a brief window of time to file an appeal, typically 30 days from the date the order was entered. You and your lawyer must discuss a potential appeal quickly. Once your attorney files the appeal and schedules a hearing, the other party must be given appropriate notice of your appeal and when to appear in court.

There Are Disadvantages to Appealing

An appeal does not immediately fix a situation. Though your attorney may file an appeal quickly, it can take weeks or months for the court to hear your case or make a decision. Appeals also are not easy. They will take your attorney a great deal of time, increasing the cost of your matter.

Additionally, an appeal does not automatically stop the original order from going into place. If you disagree with a child custody decision, you must still follow the order until the higher court affirms or changes it. If you disagree with the property distribution, you must still adhere to it and then argue for a modification, which could be difficult to implement. If you want the order to not take effect while you appeal, that’s an additional legal battle.

Discuss Your Options Thoroughly With a Lawyer

When it comes to appeals in family court, you need to carefully consider the potential effect of the extended legal process on your emotional health, family, and finances. Going from one stressful court case to another may not be the best thing for you and your children. You also have to take an objective look at the likelihood of succeeding. An attorney at Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC can offer you an opinion on whether you have a strong argument for an appeal or not.

To learn more about appealing family court decisions in Allegheny County, contact us today at (412) 471-5100 to schedule a consultation.