Every Connecticut litigant has the right to appeal a final judgment entered by a trial court. In divorce cases, these appeals often arise after the trial court enters financial orders, but, on occasion, there may be sufficient cause to appeal a trial court’s orders concerning the custody of and/or visitation with minor children. In Connecticut, an appeal must be filed no later than twenty days after the court issues notice of its decision. It is important that if you receive a decision from the trial court with which you disagree or that you do not understand, you seek out the advice of seasoned appellate counsel immediately. If your former spouse is filing an appeal, you should speak with an appellate lawyer to make sure that your position is adequately defended on appeal and to ensure that your rights are protected during the pendency of the appeal. The attorneys at Broder Orland Murray & DeMattie LLC have experience representing individuals in Connecticut’s Appellate Court and can help answer your questions.
Once an appeal is filed, certain order(s) associated with the final judgment may be automatically stayed. This means that until the appeal is finally concluded, the trial court cannot enforce the order(s) that are the subject of the appeal. Pursuant to the automatic stay rule, that order would not be enforced during the pendency of the appeal without the trial court terminating the stay of execution of that order. The trial court can terminate the automatic stay of its orders on its own volition or after a motion is filed by either party. In such a situation, the trial court is not the final arbiter of determining whether there should or should not be a stay of execution of its order. A party aggrieved by orders regarding the termination of a stay can seek review of those orders by the Appellate Court. In addition to handling family law appeals, we handle issues regarding the automatic stay of order(s) while an appeal is pending.
The likelihood of success on appeal is largely determined by the level of scrutiny applied by the Appellate Court. The Appellate Court has broader authority to overturn a trial court’s decision when the decision rests upon a question of law, such as a question of statutory interpretation. This is referred to as plenary review. Issues concerning factual findings by the trial court or any other decision where the court has the discretion to enter an order as it sees fit is governed by the abuse of discretion standard of review. Unlike plenary review, the Appellate Court will defer or give the benefit of the doubt to the considerations and determinations made by the trial court. The attorneys at Broder Orland Murray & DeMattie LLC can review your case to tell you which standard of review would apply to the issues presented on appeal.
Unlike the trial court, the Appellate Court does not seek or require the submission of new evidence or new testimony. The cases at this level are resolved after each party submits well-researched briefs and argues his or her position before the Appellate Court. In addition to reviewing the trial court’s decision, preparation of an appellate brief requires review of the transcripts from the trial court proceedings at issue and review of the exhibits submitted to the trial court judge. After all of the briefs are filed, the Appellate Court will schedule a date for oral argument before a panel of Appellate judges. At the Appellate Court, the panel typically consists of three judges. At the Supreme Court, the panel consists of seven justices.
Contact BRODER ORLAND MURRAY & DEMATTIE LLC
Broder Orland Murray & DeMattie LLC provides appellate representation in addition to litigating at the trial court level. If you are contemplating an appeal, contact Sarah E. Murray, Esq., Chair of the firm’s Center for Family Law Appeals. Call 203-222-4949 or e-mail us to schedule a consultation.