Appealing a Divorce Decree

There is a common saying that no one “wins” a divorce.  After all, even if you get everything you ask the court for, your marriage is still over.  However, there is still an undeniable difference between walking out of a divorce hearing having successfully argued for specific issues and walking out having lost on many or even all of the issues you held most dear.  If your divorce hearing did not end the way you had hoped, you may be thinking about filing an appeal.

If you are considering an appeal, you need to understand that an appeal is not the same as being granted a new trial.  During an appeal, your attorney will write a legal brief to the Court of Appeals explaining why the trial court made specific types of errors that merit either a new hearing or in some limited circumstances, asking the Court of Appeals to render a new judgment in your favor.  There will not be any evidence presented during an appeal.  Instead, the Court of Appeals will look to the records of what occurred during the divorce hearing and decide if mistakes were made based on the written briefs (and occasionally oral arguments) submitted by each party.

Parties should also understand that it is very rare to get a Court of Appeals to reverse a trial court merely because the Court of Appeals does not agree with the trial court’s assessment of the evidence.  For example, a Court of Appeals is unlikely to overturn a trial court’s decision that the parties should be granted joint legal custody based only on the fact the Court of Appeals thinks the evidence should have been weighed differently.  Instead, an appeal is more likely to be granted where the appellant can demonstrate that the trial court misapplied the law or failed to resolve all of the issues in the case.

Appeals are also highly technical.  Appeals have strict deadlines and particular requirements for the contents of its briefs.  The first important deadline to note is that an appeal must be started within forty five days of the entry of the divorce decree.  Missing that deadline by even a day can mean that you will not be able to appeal the divorce decree at all.  As a result, it is best to hire an attorney to help you with your appeal, even if you handled your divorce yourself in the trial court.

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We have extensive experience helping our clients with family law cases at all stages.  Contact us today to talk about your case and how we can help you.

Are you interested in seeking an annulment? If so, contact Williams Law Group, LLC right away. Our family law attorneys will review your case to determine if an annulment is an option. If it is, we will guide you through the process and ensure you make the best decisions for your future. Call our office at (908) 738-8512, email us, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation

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