Appeals from decisions of the Supreme Court in a divorce or appeals from Family Court orders in New York are challenging. It is very important to properly serve and file the right documents, according to the deadlines in order for your appeal to be able to proceed. It is always advisable to use an experienced matrimonial or family law attorney whenever you are involved with a family law case in court. This is especially true for appeals which are highly technical in nature. This blog entry is intended to be used for information purposes only and not as a substitute for a consultation with a New York City, Long Island or Nassau County Family Law Attorney.
To be able to proceed with an appeal in New York, the person appealing must be a party that was aggrieved by the court order that is being appealed. An aggrieved party is someone that did not get all the relief they requested at the trial court. Once you determine that you are an aggrieved party then you have to make sure the order is appealable at this juncture. The general rule is that temporary Family Court orders, except for a temporary support order, are not appealable. But, even when temporary Family Court orders of support are appealed, the Appellate Divisions will usually encourage the resolution by recommending a speedy trial. Temporary orders issued by the Supreme Court, however, are appealable. Often times the speedy trial recommendation to resolve the temporary order appealed from might still be the solution decided by the Appellate Court. Almost all final judgments are appealable and any temporary orders that necessarily effected the final judgment can be reviewed on appeal of that final judgment.
Consent orders, stipulations, ex-parte orders or default orders are generally not appealable right away. Often times a motion to vacate the order in the trial court would be a required first step. In the case of a default judgment, for example, the defaulting party should make a motion to vacate demonstrating an excusable default and a meritorious defense. If the motion to vacate is denied, then the person might be an aggrieved party with an appealable order. Again, the advice of a divorce or family law attorney familiar with appeals should be sought to help make these determinations.
The rules of the Appellate Division in which the appeal belongs should always be consulted prior to starting the process. New York is divided into four Appellate Divisions. The First Department covers New York County (Manhattan) and the Bronx Counties. The Second Department covers Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens County, Kings County (Brooklyn), Richmond County (Staten Island), Westchester County, Rockland County, Orange County, Dutchess County and Putnam County. The Third Department and Fourth Departments cover upstate New York with the Fourth Department generally being the North West counties and the Third Department generally being the North East counties of New York State. Continue reading ›