Can I Appeal a Divorce Decree?

A divorce decree is the written, court-ordered document that grants the dissolution of a marriage. If one or both parties disagree with the final divorce judgment, they can file an appeal with a higher court.

Grounds for Appeal

People commonly claim the court made a mistake when appealing a divorce decree. The party that chooses to file the appeal must illustrate how the judge or court made an error in judgment or when applying the law to their case.

A party cannot challenge the facts established during the proceeding. However, if a fact arose from an error in interpreting the legal standard, it could be challenged. For example, if a judge ruled that the wife’s income was $45,000 a year, it won’t be contested unless there is proof that the wife makes less or more than this amount annually.

You can appeal a case if the other party:

  1. committed fraud;
  2. hid assets; and/or
  3. concealed facts not discovered during the initial proceeding.

While these are legitimate grounds for appeal, a court is more likely to grant an appeal if it is based on an error in the law rather than an error related to one of the parties in the divorce.

Types of Appeal

There are a few different ways a person can challenge a divorce decree:

  1. Appeal: There are strict deadlines and procedures to follow when filing a notice of appeal. If you miss any, you may lose your chance to appeal.
  2. Motion for Rehearing: This must be filed immediately after a final judgment is issued. Filing this motion does not guarantee a case hearing; that decision is up to a judge.
  3. Motion for Relief from Judgment: This is typically granted when a serious offense occurred that affected the outcome of the divorce. For instance, if there is evidence that the other party hid assets to avoid dividing them during the divorce.

Filing a Notice of Appeal

Either party has until 10 days after the final judgment to file a notice of appeal. In civil cases, a judgment becomes final 30 days after the initial entry, if no motion for a new trial is filed. If a motion for a new trial is filed, the judgment is considered final 90 days after the filing or, if the motion is passed, 30 days after the judgment is entered.

Providing Sound Advocacy in Appeals Cases

If you believe the terms of your divorce should be appealed, our appeals attorneys can help you advocate for your rights. We have extensive experience arguing cases before the appellate court and will do everything we can to produce a favorable outcome.

Call our firm today at (314) 441-7793 or contact our firm online for a complimentary consultation.