When a divorce is finalized – whether it’s a decision from the court or a settlement agreement between the former spouses – either party may still have the chance to contest some aspects of the decision. This is when you need the professional guidance of a divorce modification lawyer.
Both spouses – or just one of them – can modify or appeal the divorce decision. In today’s post, we’ll share what the processes are like for modifications and appeals for divorce decrees.
Seeking to Appeal the Divorce Decree
Once a judgment is finalized in your divorce case, both or one of the former spouses may try to appeal the decision of the court. Due to respect to the court’s decision, appealing to modify the judgment may not be typical. However, it’s not an impossible scenario for the appeals court to reverse the judge’s divorce decree.
Typically, settlement agreements are not easily overturned by the appeals court if both the former spouses agree to the details of the settlement. However, if there were any issues with how the agreement was finalized or if there are other issues on enforceability, then the settlement agreements are up for reconsideration.
Notice of Appeal
When there is a significant or significant error that happened while the divorce trial was taking place, a notice of appeal may be submitted. If you strongly believe that there was an abuse of law or discretion by the court, seek advice from your divorce modification lawyer on how to file an appeal.
There are strict guidelines to follow when it comes to filing this type of notice.
That’s why it’s essential to hire the services of a divorce modification lawyer to assist you. If you fail to complete the requirements for this procedure, you will lose the appeal.
Record on Appeal
Once the notice of the appeal has been submitted and filed with the appeals court, the all interested parties have been served, the record on appeal is prepared. This record details the court reporter’s transcript of the trial and the clerk’s record.
The transcript submitted by the court reporter is then typewritten in a booklet. This booklet has information detailed in the court – with the court reporter also present. Generally, the booklet will contain the testimonies by all witnesses, arguments from the attorneys, statements from the judge, and all other related information.
An appellate brief is the primary form of argument stated on the notice of appeal. This brief is filed by the counsel or divorce modification lawyer of each spouse. It’s a document detailing the legal argument, along with references to applicable statutes, case law, court reporter’s transcript, and all related documentation in the clerk’s record.
The divorce modification lawyer will submit the appellate brief to the appeals court. The latter then will decide whether an oral argument is needed or not.
If the appeals court orders an oral argument, it will be no more than half an hour for each side to present their case. There are no witnesses nor new evidence needed.
Once the appeals court obtains the record on appeal and appellate brief and the oral argument was heard, a ruling is made. The time to publish a verdict differs from state to state. Typically, it takes about sixty business days for the appeals court to reach a finalized decision.
It’s highly likely that the appellate decision will endorse the judge’s initial decision.
However, if that’s not the ruling, the case is submitted back to the trial court to do either of the two things: hold a new trial proceeding or modify the initial decision.
As you can see, seeking to modify or appeal a divorce decree entails a lot of rules and guidelines.
This is just an overview. A lawyer specializing in divorce modification can provide you with the legal guidance you need to take on this path. Reach out to one in your area when you’re ready.