The appeals process helps either party get the outcome they want in the family law courts. Filing an appeal allows plaintiffs and defendants to have the court’s final decision overturned or modified.
But what if you’re on the receiving end of a petition to appeal? A court judge may have ruled in your favor only to have your opposing party appeal the decision.
As the respondent to an appeal, you have to understand the process and the many rules that govern how appellate courts approve, review, and decide on the lower court’s final decision.
The Role of the Respondent
The petitioner is the party that files a petition to appeal a court’s decision. The respondent is the party who must respond to that petition.
Respondents can be plaintiffs or defendants in a lawsuit depending on who files the petition to appeal.
Both parties must understand that the appeals process is not a retrial. So you or the petitioner may not submit any new evidence to support your argument and the lower court’s decision.
Understanding the Appeals Process
The appeals process begins when the petition to appeal is filed. Once the appeal is granted, the petitioner has to submit an appellate brief that outlines their reasons for the appeal.
This appellate brief must include references to the legal precedents and existing laws that support their claims and reasons for filing an appeal.
As the respondent, you’re entitled to receive a copy of the appellate brief when the petitioner files it with the court. You must then respond to the brief within the required time limit.
Your attorney can help you identify and comply with any rules related to the appeals process. Your response brief outlines your arguments to support the decision made in your favor by the lower court.
You may also respond to specific arguments made by the petitioner. Respondents must file their brief with the courts and provide a copy to the petitioner, who can then submit a reply to that brief.
The information provided within these briefs must only be related to the evidence, testimony, and facts that were part of the original trial record.
Winning the Appeals Process
The appellate court approves or denies the petition to appeal. If the petition is approved, then a court date is set for a hearing. Both parties may present oral arguments to the court at this time.
Working with a skilled appellate attorney is crucial for getting the outcome you want. Appellate court judges may ask questions to both parties and their legal representatives.
The court judges use the information provided in the briefs and oral arguments to make their final decision. An appeal can be overturned, modified, or remanded.
When the appeal is remanded, the case is sent back to the lower courts for a retrial. This leads to new legal costs, delays, and other issues for petitioners and respondents.
Knowing what to expect during the appeals process is the first step in protecting a lower court order from being overturned or modified.
Respondents must take the steps to protect their legal interests while meeting the requirements of the appeals process. This secures a judgment made in your favor so that you can move forward after your trial is over.