An appeal is a proceeding that allows a higher Court to review a lower court's decision. The most common reasons for an appeal from a decision by the Family Part are:
- the court failed to make adequate findings of fact;
- the court failed to follow the law (controlling statute, case law, or court rules);
- the court failed to conduct a plenary hearing to resolve material issues in dispute; and/or
- the court abused its discretion.
Appeals can only be taken from a final order or judgment. An order or judgment is only final where it disposes of all issues as to all parties. If an order is not "final", a party must file a motion requesting leave to appeal from the interlocutory order and only a small percentage of interlocutory appeals are granted. The filing of a motion for leave to appeal, however, does not automatically stay the order or proceedings in the trial court. Rather, a motion must be filed to stay an appeal.
If you are going to file a Motion for Leave to Appeal, it must be filed within 20 days of service of the Order.
For appeals as of right, typically filed when a matter is over, in the case of a divorce, or upon receiving an Order resolving a post judgment motion, these must be filed within 45 days from the date of the Order or Judgment.
Family Part judges have substantial discretion in deciding matters. As a result, the appellate courts give substantial deference to trial court decisions from Family Court judges. Simply disagreeing with a judge's decision does not provide a basis to file an Appeal.
Given the complexities involved with Appeals, we advise you to contact one of our experienced family law attorneys at 908-735-5161 at Gebhardt & Kiefer today. We handle Appeals and family law issues throughout New Jersey.