Appealing a divorce judgment in New Jersey is relatively uncommon for several reasons. Appeals can be very costly, they are often fruitless and they could backfire and leave you responsible for paying the attorney fees of your ex-spouse. Appeals must be filed within 45 days of a final divorce judgment and/or final order, and you must have strong grounds for an appeal. You cannot appeal a divorce simply because you disagree with a judge’s decision.
There are a few situations in which it may be beneficial or even necessary to appeal a divorce decision. Before filing an appeal, it is important to consider the following:
- Were the judge’s findings reasonable and based on fact and credible evidence?
- Did the judge apply the law correctly?
- Were all major disputes in the case resolved?
- Was a full hearing conducted if the situation called for it?
If the answer to all of these questions is “yes,” you most likely do not have valid grounds for an appeal. If you file an appeal and the appellate judge does not find any major legal mistakes in the decision of the family court judge, the appellate judge will uphold the trial court’s decision even if he or she does not agree with it. The role of an appeal is to correct significant legal injustices, not to reargue your case.