Can You Appeal a Divorce?
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.
Motions to Reconsider
Occasionally, new evidence comes to light after a divorce is finalized that affect your rights and could have significantly altered the divorce agreement. In such situations, your attorney can file a motion to reconsider or set aside a judgment. Circumstances that warrant these motions include:
- Discovery of fraud, excusable neglect or mistake
- Discovery of misrepresentation, hiding or lying about assets.
Either spouse can file a motion to reconsider within 20 days of when the divorce is finalized. In cases whereby new information becomes evident after 20 days has passed, a judge can set aside judgment for up to a year. In rare cases, a judge may reconsider a case that is older than one year if extremely unfair circumstances would otherwise prevail.
Motions for Modification
After your divorce is final, you can file a motion for a modification of your existing agreement to address life changes that affect child custody, child support, parenting time or spousal support. Modifying a divorce agreement is relatively common and not the same as appealing a court decision.
South Jersey Divorce Lawyers at Adinolfi & Packman Fight Aggressively to Protect their Clients’ Interests in a Divorce Appeal
If you need to modify an existing divorce agreement, file a motion to have the court reconsider your divorce or if you have valid grounds for an appeal, our South Jersey divorce lawyers at Adinolfi & Packman can help. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience necessary to ensure the best possible outcome for our clients. Contact us online or call 856-428-8334 today.