Appeals in the State of New York

New York Matrimonial Appeals

Parties are frequently displeased with decisions reached in their matrimonial, custody, or support matters. Depending on if the matter was heard before the Supreme Court (divorces) or the Family Court (child support, custody, etc.), once a decision is rendered by a judge or hearing officer, you have a certain number of days to file for an appeal. 

In most cases, in New York, it is your right  to appeal any final orders handed down in your matrimonial matter. Although you have that right, it’s important to consult with an attorney that can assess the merits of your appeal and provide you with likely scenarios and outcomes. \

The Matrimonial Appeal Process

Time is of the essence. In a divorce action filed in the Supreme Court, parties have 30 days post the date of entry to file and serve a notice of appeal. In Family Court, parties have 35 days past receipt of the decision to file with the Clerk of Court. 

After you’ve filed your claim you must submit your legal brief which will then be served to the opposing party. The timeline for brief submission varies within the 4 appellate divisions. 

Finally, the opposing party has the opportunity to file a brief in opposition to your brief. Upon completion of these steps, a hearing is scheduled for oral arguments. 

Reasons You May File a Matrimonial Appeal

  1. The judge applied the law incorrectly or misapprehended the law
  2. There was an improvident use of judicial discretion
  3. There was an abuse of discretions
  4. There are differences within the 4 appellate divisions regarding the law
  5. The judge made a factual mistake
  6. New evidence has been brought to light 

Appellate Outcomes

The most common outcomes of Appeal Courts include:

  1. Reverse
  2. Remand
  3. Affirm
  4. Modify
  5. A combination of the four

The Appellate Division may reverse, remand, affirm, and/or modify the decision of the Family Court, or parts of the decision.

Generally, Reverse means the Appellate Court decides that the decision of the lower trial Court was wrong. When this happens, the Appellate Court may vacate the decision of the Family Court. Vacates generally means to cancel or set aside the decision as if it did not happen.

Generally, a Remand is when the Appellate Court directs the lower Court to hear the case again. This may mean a new trial on all or some of the issues, with instructions from the Appellate Court.

Generally to Affirm denotes that the Appellate Court agrees that the lower Court made the right decision. This means the decision stays the same.

Lastly, generally Modify is when the Appellate Division changes part of the Family Court decision.


If you are unhappy with the outcome of your matrimonial matter contact us today to arrange an initial consultation.