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Can you appeal a child custody decision in PA?

Unfortunately, unless the parties of a Pennsylvania divorce come to a child custody agreement via mediation, one or both parents are bound to be unhappy with the court’s custody determination. If this is the case with you, you may wonder if it is possible to appeal the court’s decision and, if so, if making an appeal would be a good idea.

According to the Family Law Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association, the law grants you the right to appeal a judge’s decision after a full custody trial. However, note that you have a deadline to make an appeal, which your custody agreement should specify. Typically speaking, if you disagree with a judge’s decision, you have within 20 days to file a petition for an appeal. In your petition, you must detail in writing why you think the judge’s determination is wrong. You must make sure the courts receive the petition within 20 days of you receiving the original written recommendation.

After you file, the courts will schedule a hearing on your behalf. During the hearing, you must again explain what the original family judge did wrong.   

If you do not necessarily think the judge was wrong but you oppose his or her determination nonetheless, you may petition for reconsideration. You must file the request within 30 days of receiving the original written recommendation. You may also appeal to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania within 30 days.

Bear in mind that appeals are extremely complex. However, if you elect to file a motion for reconsideration first, you still only have 30 days from the date of the original order to appeal to the Superior Court.

This content should not be used as legal advice. It is for educational purposes only.