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Is it possible for a child custody case to go to the supreme court?

Yardley, PA |

I am at trial court asking for a modification. However, if judges rules against me, I will appeal. If the appeal does not work, can I take it to the supreme court?

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Attorney answers 3


With the exception of capital murder cases, there is no absolute right to bring a case before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. Instead, you must file a petition for allowance of appeal; if they accept, then your case will be heard. Most cases are not accepted.

If you are in a position where you must appeal, I strongly suggest that you hire an experienced appellate attorney.

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If you are not successful before the Superior Court, you may petition to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania for allowance to appeal to them. In your petition, you will provide the Supreme Court with a summary of the case and legal issues. In evaluating whether to hear your appeal, the Supreme Court will consider the factors contained in Pennsylvania Rules of Appellate Procedure 1114 (you can find this online). The Supreme Court will then either grant you permission to file an appeal or deny your appeal, which typically is the end of the road.

If you lose before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court or are denied an appeal, there is the potential then that you could petition the Supreme Court of the United States for allowance to appeal to them, but this is beyond rare. Firstly, in order to appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States, you normally will need present a constitutional issue, such as a Due Process violation (e.g., denied your right to a hearing, should have been entitled to legal representation). Simply arguing that the Judge abused his/her discretion is not going to be reviewable by the U.S. Supreme Court. Secondly, the cost for an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is very, very expensive and without the backing of some group like the NRA, NAACP, or ACLU is beyond the means of most people.

The procedural requirements for any appeal are very strict. If you need to file an appeal, I strongly recommend utilizing an attorney. If you would a free consultation, please contact our firm. We have experience with appeals and I, personally, currently have a custody case on appeal before the Superior Court. Best of luck!


Given the amount of time it takes to go through an appeal, your better option would be to refile a modification again if the appeal to the Superior Court does not work. Even an appeal to the Superior Court will take about nine months to get an answer. I agree with the other attorneys that is unlikely you will be able to appeal to the Supreme Court in PA as they accept very few cases.

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