Family law cases are often emotionally difficult and legally complicated. If you are disappointed by the outcome of your divorce, child support or child custody issue, you are not alone. You may be wondering what other options you have under the law. Some people feel strongly that the judge wrongly decided their case and consider appealing to the Illinois Appellate Court in an attempt to change the outcome.
Common reasons for a family law case appeal include:
- The judge miscalculated child support or spousal support
- The judge made a mistake in dividing the property
- The person’s lawyer failed to adequately represent them
- The judge went outside of his or her authority under the law
Appeals are based on how the judge applied the law in the case, not on the underlying facts. The appellate court will generally trust the trial judge’s findings regarding evidence and credibility.
Tips for seeking an appeal
The appellate process is different from the circuit court and has its own set of rules and procedures. You must follow these rules in order for the appellate court to hear your case. Here are a few tips for appealing your judgment:
- Act fast – You only have 30 days to file your appeal. That is not much time to make a decision and file with the appellate court.
- Work with an appellate lawyer – Not all attorneys do appellate work and it is important to find one who understands the rules and the process.
- Be prepared – You should know ahead of time that appeals take time and will add to the overall cost of your legal issue. Make sure you discuss the potential costs and benefits with your lawyer.
The appellate court may either agree or disagree with the lower court’s decision, or ask the lower court to take some further action. After the appellate court makes a decision, either side may try to appeal once again to the Illinois Supreme Court.