Family Law Appeals in North Carolina
If you believe the trial court made a mistake in its decision in your case, you may have the right to seek review of the decision by filing a notice of appeal to the North Carolina Court of Appeals. In general, only final orders may be appealed although in certain cases, orders affecting substantial rights may be appealed.
The record (all relevant court filings and a transcript of the hearing, if requested by one of the parties), along with a written argument (called a brief) by each party are reviewed by the Court of Appeals to determine whether the trial court made any errors in its ruling. In some cases, the Court of Appeals will permit oral arguments before the panel deciding the case, but, in most family law cases, the Court of Appeals makes its decision based on the written arguments.
Appeals are lengthy, often taking at least a year before a decision is given. The trial court is granted broad discretion in family law matters, thereby making it difficult to prevail on many issues. It is best to discuss with a lawyer whether success on appeal would be likely in your particular case, and, in addition, whether an appeal would be cost effective.