What is the process for an appeal in Texas and how long will it take?

Appellate, Blog, Brad M. LaMorgese

What is the process for an appeal in Texas and how long will it take?

By Brad LaMorgese

These are very good questions and there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

Generally, a more complex case with more issues on appeal will take longer than a simple case with few issues.  Also, a case with a bigger record (think longer trial or lots of filings) will usually take longer than a smaller record (half day trial with few filings).  But there is nothing exact about how long an appeals court may take to review everything, as they treat appeals seriously.

Basically when a judgment is signed, if a motion for new trial is filed, then the records from the trial court will be due in the Court of Appeals within 120 days.

After the records are filed, the party appealing will have 30 days to file a brief, and on the other side not appealing will have 30 days to respond.

The case may then be set for oral argument, usually several months later.

So the process can be quite lengthy. Also keep in mind that in almost every step, here is the opportunity to potentially ask for extensions at the Court of Appeals level.  So, the 30 day deadline to file a brief, for example, can potentially be extended several times.

The average rule of thumb for the time of appeal was roughly 7-14 months from beginning to end.  But appeals can potentially take longer, or in other cases, go more quickly if it is an appeal required to be expedited by law.

There is no exact answer, but an appeal in a Texas family law case is a process that can take some time.  The most important thing is to get it done right. If time is of the essence, then it may be a good idea to think about filing for some emergency relief or pursuing a state of some of the rulings of the trial court.

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