Appealing child custody rulings in juvenile and domestic relations court

On Behalf of | Aug 30, 2021 | Child custody

Disputes involving child custody can be highly contentious. As a result, it is not uncommon for one of the parties to be displeased with the final ruling of the court. However, this ruling may not be absolute. 

If your custody case was decided in a juvenile and domestic relations court (JD&R), here’s what you should know about an appeal.

You have 10 days to make your request

You only have a mere 10 days to file your appeal — but your right to that appeal a JD&R decision is absolute. In other words, the court must hear your case. The original ruling will remain in place during your appeal and until (or unless) the Circuit Court reaches a different conclusion on the case. 

What to expect during and after the hearing?

The hearing procedure in the Circuit Court works in a similar fashion to the JD&R court process. However, the case will be tried de novo, meaning that the entire case will be presented from the very beginning. (This is in contrast to appeals filed about a circuit court decision, which must rely on arguments that some legal error took place in the original hearing.) 

When the higher court has reached its conclusion, this will be sent to the JD&R court within 21 days. The ruling of the Circuit Court comes into immediate effect at the moment it reaches the JDR court. 

Custody hearings can be tough on all parties, and judges are not immune from making human errors. Understanding your legal rights and routes to appeal is in your best interests when you’re working to preserve the precious parent-child relationship you have.