If a lower court judge decides against you in your divorce or other family law matter, you may be able to appeal to a higher court. Or, if you won in the lower court, you may have to defend the decision on appeal. In either case, the Law Offices of Randy S. Margulis will skillfully represent you throughout the appellate process, whether or not we handled the case for you in the lower court.
An appeal is not a new trial. It is a procedure by which a higher court reviews a lower court’s decision for possible errors and either affirms the decision or takes corrective action, such as reversal, modification or remand. However, not all judicial decisions are appealable. A lower court is allowed broad discretion when making findings of fact. To succeed on appeal, a party must convince the appellate judges that the lower court either made a mistake of law, made findings of fact not reasonably supported by the evidence or made some other error of judgment. If circumstances so justify, your attorney may raise an argument that persuades the appellate court to recognize an exception to existing law. We carefully review the lower court record and assert all reasonable grounds for challenging a decision that went against you or for upholding a decision in your favor. We are willing and able to make innovative arguments.
All appeals of rulings in divorce cases and in family court matters are started by filing a notice of appeal to the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court. The party taking the appeal is called the appellant and the party opposing the appeal is called the respondent. The appellate court reviews the lower court decision and the record of any trial or hearing. Whether you are the appellant or the respondent, we carefully review the record, research the legal authorities supporting your position and make the strongest arguments possible in your behalf.
The attorneys for the appellant and the respondent file briefs that explain their position and assert arguments for why the appellate court should agree with them. In some cases, the attorneys will orally argue the case in the appellate court. Appeals are decided by panels of three judges, who read the briefs, listen to the oral arguments and then issue an order and an opinion describing the reasons for their ruling, including a discussion of the relevant law. The panel of judges, or at least a majority of them, will either affirm the lower court’s decision or reverse it. Alternatively, the panel may also choose to affirm some parts of the decision and reverse other parts. In some cases, the panel remands the case back to the lower court for a new trial or hearing. Whether we represent the appellant or respondent, we prepare the strongest arguments in favor of our client, both in the brief and during oral argument.
The Law Offices of Randy S. Margulis represents Western New York clients in a full range of family court matters, including appeals. Call 716-886-9600 or contact us online to schedule a consultation at our Williamsville or downtown Buffalo office.
As a Buffalo divorce lawyer for 28 years, I have devoted myself to solving the problems that affect families throughout the Buffalo metropolitan area and Western New York. As a family law attorney, I make it my goal to create a partnership of trust with my clients. People put their trust in me to handle cases that can potentially have a long-lasting impact on not only their lives, but the lives of their family as well.
Alexandra M. Rockwood is a Senior Associate Attorney with the Law Offices of Randy S. Margulis & Associates and has been with the firm since early 2020. She primarily practices in the areas of matrimonial and family law, including divorce, child custody, and child support. Alexandra is a practicing matrimonial and family law attorney as…