Dealing with Disappointing Results: Appeals and Other Post-Trial Practice

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Often justice for abuse victims is obtained through the appellate process. During litigation, wise trial attorneys prepare their clients for any combination of possible outcomes. Protective mothers and other domestic abuse survivors must be advised early in the process that results can range from acceptable to what they consider disastrous. Judges view cases from a perspective that may not align with the protective parent’s view. For the reasons discussed in other chapters of this book, children with an abusive parent may not be protected by the trial courts. Indeed, the children, as well as the mother, may be at an even higher level of risk post-judgment. This is particularly so if the abusive parent is awarded unrestricted access to the children, without the presence of a protective adult. As with all domestic violence practice, safety of the clients and their children must be considered during every step of the decision-making process. Clients will know best whether appeal places them or their children at greater risk, and whether that risk is acceptable given the consequences of the lower court outcome.


Originally published in 2019 by Family and Intimate Partner Violence.