Going through a custody battle can be emotionally taxing and stressful for everyone involved, especially when the outcome is not in your favor. In Maryland, if you are dissatisfied with the outcome of a custody case, you have the right to appeal the decision. However, appealing a custody case can be a complex process, and it’s important to understand the steps involved and what to expect.
Grounds for Appealing Your Custody Case to the Appellate Court of Maryland
Before deciding to appeal your custody case, it’s important to understand that an appeal is not a new trial. Rather, it is a review of the Circuit Court’s decision by the Appellate Court of Maryland. The Appellate Court of Maryland will typically not re-examine the evidence or make a new determination of the facts. Instead, the appeal will focus on whether the lower court made any errors of law or fact that affected the outcome of the case.
Some common grounds for appealing a custody case in Maryland include:
- Errors of Law. If the lower court made an error in interpreting or applying the law, you may have grounds for appeal. For example, if the court misinterpreted a statute or failed to consider a relevant legal precedent, you may be able to appeal the decision.
- Errors of Fact. If the lower court made a factual error that affected the outcome of the case, you may be able to appeal. However, it’s important to note that appellate courts generally defer to the lower court’s findings of fact, and will only reverse them under specific circumstances.
- Procedural Errors. If the lower court made a procedural error that affected the outcome of the case, such as denying you the opportunity to present evidence or cross-examine witnesses, you may have grounds for appeal.
Navigating the Appeal Process in the Appellate Court of Maryland
Knowing the steps for navigating the appeal process is important because it can help you make informed decisions about your case, manage your expectations, and ensure that your appeal is presented in the strongest possible manner. Working with an experienced appellate family attorney can help you navigate the complexities of the appeal process and achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Below are the general steps to follow regarding appealing your custody case to the Appellate Court of Maryland:
- File Your Notice of Appeal. In order to file an appeal, you first need to file a notice of appeal in the court that originally heard your case. Typically, this notice should be filed within 30-days after the judgment is entered. Once filed, the fees associated with the filing will need to be paid. The fee contributes to the courts assembling, preparing, and transmitting the record.
- Obtain the Record on Appeal. After filing the Notice of Appeal and paying the required fees, you will need to obtain the Record on Appeal from the lower court. The Record on Appeal typically includes a transcript of the trial, exhibits, and any orders or rulings made by the lower court.
- File the Record on Appeal with the Appellate Court. Once you have obtained the Record on Appeal, you must file it with the Appellate Court of Maryland.
- Submit Briefs. After the Record on Appeal has been filed, both parties will have the opportunity to submit briefs to the appellate court outlining their arguments and evidence. The appellant (the party appealing the custody order) will typically file an opening brief, which outlines the reasons why the lower court’s decision should be reversed. The appellee (the party who won the custody order in the lower court) will file an answering brief, which responds to the appellant’s arguments.
- Attend Oral Arguments (if necessary). In some cases, the appellate court may schedule oral arguments to allow both parties to present their case in person. Oral arguments are typically brief and focus on answering clarifying questions from the appellate judges.
- Receive the Appellate Court’s Decision. After considering the Record on Appeal, the briefs, and any oral arguments, the appellate court will issue a decision. The decision may affirm the lower court’s decision, reverse it, or remand the case back to the lower court for further proceedings.
It’s important to note that the appeals process can be complex and time-consuming. Therefore, it’s important to work with an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through the process and help you make informed decisions about how to proceed.
Contact Our Experienced Maryland Family Law Attorneys Regarding Your Appeal in Montgomery County, Maryland and Prince George’s County, Maryland
If you have questions or concerns about appealing your custody case to the Appellate Court of Maryland, please contact the Law Office of LaSheena M. Williams, LLC today. You can reach attorney LaSheena M. Williams at (301) 778-9950 or by leaving an online request for a consultation.
Our firm ardently represents clients across Rockville, Bethesda, Gaithersburg, Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Chevy Chase, College Park, Cheverly, Greenbelt, Oxon Hill, Hyattsville, Upper Marlboro, Largo, Bowie and surrounding communities.