When it comes to trials or hearings, it’s not always certain that rulings will go your way. So, in the event that this does happen, it’s important to know how appeals can benefit your case. Would pursuing an appeal be a waste of time, or do you really have a chance? In order to find out, you need to know the rules of filing appeals.
What Is An Appeal?
In the legal world, appeals are more common than you’d think. An appeal is classified as a legal process where the losing party in a case requests a different court, usually one of a higher power, to reevaluate the case at hand. The higher court can decide to uphold or overrule the original decision of the trial court. Their ruling will be based on a review of the facts of the case, as well as an evaluation for any mistakes made by the original trial court.
The Appeals Process
The appeals process can be a tricky one to understand. Knowing how to properly traverse it can be difficult, but is vital to the case. Within an appeal, people should make sure to follow these helpful guidelines:
Deadlines For Filing An Appeal
Following the Maryland rules when filing your appeal is critical. Depending on what you’re appealing, the time for appealing can vary. The time could be 2 days, 7 days, 10 days, 30 days, or even a longer period of time. Taking the initiative to fill out your appeal in a timely manner will benefit your case. If you choose not to, you will likely lose the right to pursue your appeal.
Filing A Notice Of Appeal
In order to file your appeal, you must alert the court or other relevant agency of your intent to seek an appeal. When doing this, it must be done in writing and sent to the proper office. Responsibility doesn’t fall on the judge to inform you of your appellate rights, you must inform yourself on your own. Only in certain circumstances, such as in limited criminal matters, does the judge hold that responsibility. So, if you’re even considering the idea of appealing, hire a family law attorney. These attorneys will work with you through the process, and help you to understand it along the way.
Filing Fees Associated With Appeals
In most cases, there will be a filing fee associated with the appeal. If you file the appeal but forget the filing fee, you cannot pursue the appeal. While some appeals don’t require a filing fee, most appeals do. Make sure to find out if yours does require one, and include the filing fee when filing an appeal.
Working With Experienced Family Law Attorneys
At SIEGELLAW, our knowledgeable family law attorneys can answer your questions for you. We will provide guidance as well as provide a straightforward evaluation regarding your chances for success. Our attorneys understand that each case is unique, and will aid you in your specific appeal. When you work with a family law attorney, it makes the appeals process easier and ensures fewer headaches along the way.
Types Of Appeals We Handle
In family law cases, appeals fall into a few discrete categories, although there are a few other minor appellate rights in addition to these:
Temporary Or Final Domestic Violence Protective Order
Parties have a right to appeal from both temporary and final protective orders. Many are familiar with the right to appeal from the granting of a protective order. However, very few people understand you can also appeal from the denial of a protective order. If you appeal from a protective order that was granted or denied in the district court, you may seek a new trial in the circuit court. This is called a de novo appeal. If your initial trial was in the circuit court, you may seek review from the Court of Special Appeals, but that appeal will be on the record, as opposed to being granted a new trial.
Pendente Lite Hearing
In many family law cases, the first hearing you will have is a pendente lite hearing. This is where a master will hear testimony and enter a report including a recommendation on issues ranging from custody, visitation, child support, use and possession of a family home, contribution to a mortgage, alimony, counsel fees, and far more.
If you disagree with the recommendations of the master, you can ask a judge to independently review that ruling. There is a very short window of time to seek this review, as little as 10 days from the date of the ruling, and you cannot come to an attorney on day 10 to seek that appeal.
Family Law Trial
If you are not satisfied with the results of your trial, you have numerous appellate rights. These rights each have their own deadline, which could be as few as 10 days from the ruling. Here are examples of your possible rights of appeal:
- Asking the court to reconsider or give a new trial.
- Asking for a panel of three other circuit court judges to review the ruling from the original judge.
- Asking for a panel of three judges from the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland to review the ruling from the original judge.
If the trial judge made an error of law that is central to your rights, the reviewing judges have the ability to vacate that ruling for further proceedings, which could involve a partial or entire new trial. If the trial judge erred on the facts or failed to provide appropriate analysis, the reviewing judges have the ability to vacate that ruling, as well.
Appeals from rulings in family law cases are challenging, difficult, and the appellate judges are charged with the responsibility of giving a great deal of deference to the trial judge since that judge heard the witnesses firsthand. Nevertheless, appeals from rulings in family law cases are among the highest volume of matters appealed to the appellate courts in Maryland.
Speak To A Knowledgeable Family Law Attorney
Court cases, especially those including family law, can be difficult to go through. When dealing with appeals, it’s imperative to follow the necessary guidelines in the filing and pursuing the appeal. Having the professional help of a family law attorney will not only ease the process but ensure that you understand all steps of the appeal along the way.
The experienced family law attorneys at SIEGELLAW are willing and ready to take on your appeal. Reach out today, and get started working with our compassionate team of attorneys. You can contact us by phone at (410) 792-2300 or by requesting a consultation online.