Appealing An Illinois Family Court Decision

In some cases, including divorce, paternity, and family law matters, the court verdict may seem unfair or unjust. You may think there is no hope, but there may be additional legal options to consider in specific cases.

If you disagree with the ruling in your recent divorce or family law case, speak to our Chicago family law attorneys at The Law Office of Fedor Kozlov, P.C. Our divorce, paternity, and family lawyers may be able to help with an appeal, if the court did not correctly apply Illinois law to your case. Our experienced attorneys have represented family law clients in Illinois State Court Appeals and are available for consultation.

Our founding partner and chief litigator Fedor Kozlov has 10 years of experience in family court cases. He has the legal knowledge, skill, and experience to determine if your case can be successfully appealed. In 2015 and 2016, Mr. Kozlov was named by the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys as one of the 10 best attorneys in Illinois in client satisfaction. He also was named in 2016 by the ‘Who Is Who’ Directory as a Top Attorney of North America. Our Chicago family law attorneys can assist you if you want to appeal a recent divorce or family law ruling.

How Illinois Court Appeals Work

In all legal practice areas, there are cases where the trial court fails to render a fair and just decision. This happens in some family law and divorce cases, such as when the decision may not appear to be in your or your children’s best interests. While the adverse ruling may be discouraging, it is not necessarily the end of the road.

If you recently received a ruling in a family law, divorce, or paternity case that you think is unfair, it may be beneficial to contact The Law Office of Fedor Kozlov, P.C. Mr. Kozlov will review the ruling and determine if the court did not apply the law according to the facts of the case. Some types of family court decisions that may be appealed, if the facts warrant, include:

  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Child visitation
  • Spousal maintenance
  • Separate property
  • Community property
  • Prenuptial agreements

Why Do You Want To Appeal?

You cannot appeal a case successfully only because you disagree with the judge’s ruling. For an appeal to have merit, there must have been a mistake of fact or a mistake of law:

  • Mistake Of Fact: This occurs if the fact pattern used by the trial judge was counter to the weight of evidence, or if the case facts were misapplied, rendering the decision illogical.
  • Mistake Of Law: Usually appealable, it happens when the law is misapplied by the trial court. An appeal may lead to the entire case being reviewed; the Court of Appeals will assess how the judge applied the law to determine if a mistake was made.

Further, if the case involves a theory or fact improperly applied and the case would have had the same result, the appeal might not be granted. Errors alone are not the only reason to appeal; the error would have to be needed to reach the decision.

How Do You Prove There Was An Error?

The most effective way to show the trial court made an error is to review the court reporter’s record. For example, suppose the trial court judge decided to deviate from state child support guidelines and ordered a higher amount than the law requires. In that case, the reasoning must be explained in the transcript and court order. The court reporter transcript is helpful because it shows the precise words and facts the judge offered that led to the decision.

How An Appeal Works

The purpose of an appeal is to ask that a higher court reverse a lower court’s decision. The Court of Appeals will review the case and determine if the judge made a mistake of fact or mistake of law that affected the final decision. You may challenge an adverse decision handed down by the trial court by filing a case with the Court of Appeals.

An appellate court judicial panel usually decides the matter by listening to oral arguments from each side. However, the appeal process does not let you introduce new evidence or call new witnesses. Also, an appeal is not a complete retrial of the case.

If you anticipate an adverse decision from the trial court, it is beneficial to speak to appellate counsel as soon as possible. Or, if you want to protect a favorable ruling you may receive, it also is helpful to speak to appellate counsel before the decision is rendered.

Appeal Must Be Filed Within 30 Days

It is essential to understand that you must file your appeal within 30 days of the final judgment from the trial court. After 30 days, the decision is binding and may not be appealed. The most common reasons family law rulings are appealed is if the person filing it thinks their previous attorney was incompetent, or the judge was biased.

Appeals do not always work. But an appeal could have merit if you file an appeal within the 30-day period and there is an error that affected the ruling. However, remember that the appellate court may affirm the trial court’s ruling. The appellate court also can remand the case, send it back to the trial court, or vacate the earlier decision. A notice of appeal must contain the following information:

  • The court you are appealing to and from
  • The name and number of the case in the trial court
  • The person’s name filing the appeal
  • The party who will respond to the appeal
  • The trial court order you are appealing
  • The date the order was entered
  • What you want the appellate court to do

Speak To Our Chicago Family Law Attorney Today

If you want to appeal a recent family, divorce, or paternity decision because of a mistake of law or mistake of fact, you should contact our experienced Chicago family law attorney promptly. Mr. Kozlov will meet with you to discuss the chances of obtaining a favorable outcome for your appeal. Contact our Chicago family law attorneys today at (847) 241-1299 to discuss appealing your family law case.

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