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That Didn’t Turn Out the Way I Expected…

The Circuit Court has jurisdiction over most family matters.  But the Circuit Court judge doesn’t necessarily have the last word.  If you think the trial judge was wrong, you should consider an appeal.  Maryland Law provides two options for appeal.

In Banc Review

In an In Banc review, three circuit court judges sit as a panel and review the decision of the trial judge.  There are pros and cons to In Banc review.  On the plus side, the process is faster and less expensive than a formal appeal (see below).  The downside, however, is that you waive any right to further appeal by choosing In Banc review.  Also, some people may not feel comfortable having a trial judge’s peers review his or her decision, particularly if the case may continue in the circuit court in the future.

Formal Appeal in the Courts of Appeal

he Court of Special Appeals (COSA) is Maryland’s first-level appeals court.  Again, there are pros and cons to consider.  This process takes longer because a full brief must be written, and there will be a hearing so that the appellate judges can test the parties’ legal arguments and ask questions.  There may also be significant attorney’s fees for writing a full brief and for attending the hearing in Annapolis.  On the other hand, the appellate judges may provide a more removed, clinical view of the case, and they may use your case to clarify existing law or make address a new issue.

NO MATTER WHICH OPTION YOU CHOOSE, YOU SHOULD BE AWARE THAT THERE ARE STRICT FILING DEADLINES.  If you are considering an appeal of a family law matter, or if the opposing party has appealed, you should seek advice sooner rather than later.

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