The success of an appeal depends on how the trial was conducted and is specific to your individual case. An appeal is not a “do-over” of the trial. The appeals court will not hear testimony or take other evidence. The appeals court will only review the testimony and documents that were introduced during the trial. The appeal occurs only through written legal briefs, and usually only after the entire trial is complete. So, the trial must be conducted with an appeal in mind, to ensure that all the necessary information and arguments are brought up at trial. It may take up to a year from the end of trial until a decision is received from the appeals court. Because the appeals court gives a great amount of deference to the trial judge, it is difficult to overturn the trial judge’s decision and win an appeal. Usually a great amount of legal research and review goes into an appeal, and it is important to find out prior to filing the appeal if it would be worth the cost. The deadline to file an appeal after trial can be as short as 45 days, and this deadline cannot be extended. Therefore, if you believe there is any reason to appeal a decision, it is absolutely necessary to consult an attorney immediately. An experienced family lawyer can give you at least a general idea of your chance of success and help you make a decision on whether to appeal. Once again, the key is to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible either during or immediately after your trial. I have years of experience in all areas of family law and would be happy to consult with you on appeal questions.
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