Legal Blogs from the Attorneys at Roach and Bishop LLC

How Do I Appeal a Child Custody Ruling?

Any time that two parties go to court for a family law dispute, there’s a good chance that things will be emotional and heated. Depending on the judge’s ruling, there’s also a good chance someone will leave the courtroom disappointed. While several cases fall under the family law category, child custody disputes are some of the most common. 

If you were recently in a child custody dispute that went to court and didn’t get the ruling you prefer, there’s a good chance you want a do-over. However, the only way to get your do-over is if you appeal the child custody ruling made by the judge of your case. All types of appeals are tricky, and child custody rulings are no different. 

Can You Appeal a Child Custody Ruling in Washington? 

First and foremost, you should know you’re well within your rights to file an appeal on a child custody ruling in Washington state. Typically, people file appeals in these cases when they’re unhappy with the original ruling. Regardless of how unhappy you are, however, you should know that appeal cases are difficult to win. 

One of the reasons that people rarely win child custody appeals on their own is because they don’t understand how appeals work. When a judge makes their ruling, the decision is final. Getting them or another judge to overturn the decision is a sticky situation, and you have two options. 

  • You can try to convince the Court of Appeals that the judge made the wrong decision. 
  • You can present evidence of a legal error in your original case. 

If you hope to win in court, choosing option 2 gives you the best chance. However, neither option is easy, and you will need guidance along the way. 

Are There Child Custody Rulings That I Can’t Appeal? 

In general, there aren’t any child custody cases that you can’t appeal. However, you will have to wait until the conclusion of your present case to make your appeal. This happens when a judge or court places temporary orders before making their final decision. Until the decision is final, you won’t be able to start the appeal process. 

How to Appeal a Child Custody Ruling in Washington State 

If you’re certain that a judge made the wrong decision in a child custody case and you want to appeal the ruling, here’s what needs to happen:

Make Your Plan to Appeal Known 

The first thing you should do is notify the court that you plan to appeal the ruling. It’s best to do this very soon, if not immediately after the original ruling. 

Hire a Family Law Lawyer to Present Your Case 

Once the court knows you plan to appeal, you should immediately hire a family law attorney. Family law lawyers are professionals in all aspects of family law, including child custody cases. They will help you compile a case to present at your appeal and give you the best chance of winning it. 

Put Together a Brief 

Putting together a brief is the step that will make or break your case. It’s important to compile a brief with new and existing evidence and proof that the judge made an error in their original ruling. The brief should also state why you’re making your appeal and layout inconsistencies. 

It’s important to understand that you may not be able to argue your case verbally, so having a thorough brief to present is essential. 

child custody ruling appealMake Your Appeal to the Washington Court of Appeals 

Once your brief is put together and you’re satisfied, it’s time to present it to the Washington Court of Appeals. The court will review the original court transcripts and your brief and decide. 

The Best Child Custody Lawyers in Pasco County 

If you hope to have any chance of winning your child custody appeal, you’re going to need the family law experts from Roach & Bishop at your side. Child custody rulings are difficult to overturn and nearly impossible on your own. However, when you have Roach & Bishop appealing for you, you have a fighting chance. Contact us to learn more and make an appointment! 

PS: If you are interested in more divorce resources, read our previous blog on what information you need to have to prepare to file for divorce. 

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