Losing your child custody battle can be devastating, but if the judge who decided your case made an unlawful or unfair decision — or if something went wrong during the litigation process that falls outside of the law — you may be in a good position to appeal the results of your case. Although not many child custody decisions provide the factual backdrop to support a child custody decision appeal, these scenarios are not unheard of.
When can I file a child custody decision appeal?
There are three primary considerations that must be present in order for you have sufficient grounds to pursue a child custody appeal:
- A judge issued a ruling on your case and your current child custody arrangements are not the product of an out of court settlement between you and your ex.
- The decision made by the judge did not adhere to established law, or there was a legitimate problem during trial that interfered with an honest legal process.
- The time period within which you must file a family court appeal has not passed.
If, after consulting the law and established legal practice, you can answer “yes” to the above three conditions, then you should immediately look deeper into getting the appeals process rolling in your case.
When can’t I file a child custody-related appeal?
In the vast majority of child custody cases, Minnesota parents reach an out-of-court settlement that is later approved by a judge. If this happened in your case, then there is not a court order available to appeal. Rather, you must proceed with a request to the court to modify your current child custody agreement.
What does the appeals process involve?
Your appeals process will involve the filing of a legal pleading to the Appellate Court with jurisdiction over your matter before the time limitation that applies to your appeal runs out. The matter will then be litigated through the Appellate Court and the opposing party — the other parent — will have a chance to defend against your child custody decision appeal.
The Appellate Court will usually issue a decision that rejects the lower court’s decision or confirms it. If the Appellate Court rejects the prior decision, it will typically send the matter back to the lower court for reconsideration or order a retrial of the case.