Appeals are not new trials; the Appellate Court will only consider arguments that there may have been errors in the trial’s procedure or the judge’s interpretation of the law.
In some cases, the appeals court will decide the matter on written briefs submitted by lawyers; in other cases, oral arguments may be necessary. At oral argument, each party’s attorney can briefly argue the case or answer questions.
Because of their complexity, it is important to talk to an attorney who regularly practices before the Appellate Court.
Orders of Protection
When the trial court has issued a plenary order of protection after hearing, there is no "new trial" on appeal. Instead, the Appellate Court reviews the record and makes a decision as to whether or not the trial court judge made an error in granting or denying the protective order.
Because of this, it is important to ensure the complete record is brought before the Appellate Court. Otherwise the argument could be forfeited.
Divorce, Child Custody & Support
Custody judgments are immediately appealable under Rule 304(b)(6), and must be perfected within 30 days of entry of any applicable allocation judgment. Final Judgments on issues such as child support, alimony (called maintenance in Illinois) and property are appealable under Rule 301 and 303.
Certain child custody and juvenile cases are handled under an accelerated track pursuant to Rule 311(a). Because of this, there are additional rules and requirements that will govern how and when such an appeal may be taken.
Generally an appeal can not be taken until after the trial, but there are a number of exceptions. Illinois Supreme Court Rules 306 and 307 list several, such as injunctions, temporary parenting orders, findings of contempt, forum non conveniens, and the like. Some of these appeals are automatically allowed, while others are permissive.