Things to Think About Before Appealing

Before appealing a decision, it is important to understand the job you are taking on. It may not be for you. You may decide you need help. Think about:

  1. Costs: Appeals from Family and Surrogate’s Court are free, but other appeals cost money. There is a Filing Fee to start an appeal. There are costs to prepare the transcript of the trial or hearing and printing costs. There is the cost of an attorney if you hire one. There is the cost of your time. It takes many hours to finish an appeal.
  2. Limited Review: The Appellate Court only looks at facts and arguments made the first time around. The Court can’t look at new evidence or papers that were never submitted before. An appeal is not a chance to retry your case. The Appellate Court only reviews what happened in the first court and decides if a legal mistake was made. The Appellate Court won’t change the decision just because the Appellate Court disagrees with it. Because it is hard to prove a legal mistake, it is not easy to win an appeal.
  3. You Must Follow the Rules: Taking an appeal is hard. Legal training and practice make it easier. There are strict time limits to start the appeal and submit all the required forms and papers. If you miss a deadline, you can’t finish the appeal.
  4. Filing an Appeal Doesn’t Stop Enforcement of the Decision Appealed: Unless you ask the Court to stay (a court order to stop) the first court’s order, the winning party can take steps to collect a judgment. Asking the court for a stay is hard and you may have to pay the Court the money judgment during the appeal.

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