Frequently Asked
Questions: Appeals


What is an appeal?

An appeal is a formal request that a higher court review a lower court’s order or judgment. It can result in a reversal of the entire lower court order, or just a part of it. Alternatively, the appellate court can “remand” or direct that the lower court re-determine the matter in a manner that conforms to the appellate court’s decision. If review is sought from a state Supreme Court judgment in a divorce case, or from a non-support order issued by the Family Court, the appellate court is the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court. There are four departments of the Appellate Division in New York State, divided by geographic area. Suffolk County and Nassau County are located in the Second Judicial Department.  An appeal can be taken from a decision of the Appellate Division to the highest New York State court, the Court of Appeals.

How long will it take for the appeal to be decided?

Appeals can take a long time. A period of a year or more from filing of the Notice of Appeal to the appellate court decision is not uncommon. In some cases, the court will issue a stay of proceedings in the court from which the appeal is taken. If the order being reviewed was “ex parte” (issued without notice to the other party) the Appellate Division will allow a short application that can resolve the issue right away.

Is there a time limit for filing an appeal?

For Supreme Court orders (which includes divorce cases) you have thirty days to file a Notice of Appeal, measured from the date of service of a copy of the order or judgment with notice of entry. For this time period to start, the order/judgment must have been entered with the county clerk and there must be notice served of this filing. If any one of these things does not happen, theoretically the time to appeal never lapses. If the order is a Family Court order, you have thirty days from service of the order, and there is no requirement of entry with the county clerk or service of notice of entry. If the order is a Family Court support order, you must file objections with the Family Court first; if the Family Court order denies your objections, you can appeal this denial to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court.

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