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Know the Laws:

UPDATED March 26, 2010

When the Legal System Fails You

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Nothing can be more frustrating than when you feel that the judge or lawyer on your case is not performing their work properly. Sometimes you feel that the judge or lawyer isn’t paying enough attention to your case or is not considering domestic violence as a critical issue when deciding a protection order, custody or divorce case. It can also be frustrating when you cannot afford a lawyer but your local legal services organization has turned you down. Here are some ideas/ options to consider when you feel “the system” (judges and lawyers) has failed you.

File an appeal

back to topHow the appeal process works

You might be able to file an appeal of the judge’s decision. An appeal is when you ask a higher court to review a decision by a judge in a lower court. The higher court (usually called a court of appeals or supreme court) looks at the record of the trial court and decides if the judge made any mistakes of law.  You cannot introduce new evidence when you appeal your case to a higher court. The higher court only looks at what was said and done in the trial court.

Usually, you only have a short time to file an appeal once an order is issued.  The time limit may be different depending on what state you live in.  For basic information on appeals, go to our Filing Appeals page.  You may want to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible about the time limit in your state so that you do not lose your chance to appeal.  Go to Finding a Lawyer to find legal help in your state.

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