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Matrimonial and Family Law Blog

Friday, June 22, 2018

How Do I Appeal My Divorce Judgment?

In many cases, a divorce judgment is the final order of the court. Even though you might not like the judge’s order, your displeasure is not a valid reason for appealing a divorce judgment under New York laws. However, there are circumstances in which a party may have a valid reason for filing an appeal of the divorce judgment. You should consult with an experienced New York divorce appeals lawyer to determine if you have cause for an appeal and the likelihood of success. An automatic right to appeal does not always mean it is in your best interest to proceed with the appeals process.

The Appeal Process of a Divorce Judgment in New York

Within 30 days after receiving the order or judgment in your divorce case, you must file a  notice of appeal with the Office of the Clerk of Court. Once you file your notice of appeal, you must then move forward to perfect the appeal by filing legal briefs arguing the cause for your appeal. Your legal brief is filed with the court and served on the other party. The other party may then file a brief in opposition to your brief. After briefs have been filed, a hearing is scheduled for oral arguments.

The appellate process may appeal to be straightforward; however, filing an appeal of a divorce judgment is a complex undertaking. It is extremely difficult to change a divorce judgment on appeal. The appellant must have evidence that proves a legal cause of action to reverse or modify the judge’s decision.

Common causes of action for appealing a divorce judgment include:

  • The judge abused his or her discretion when rendering a judgment;

  • The decision made was erroneous;

  • The judge made a factual mistake; or,

  • The judge misapplied the law when making a final decision.

The above list is not an exhaustive list of the potential causes for filing an appeal of your divorce judgment. Our New York divorce appeals lawyer can conduct a case review to determine whether an appeal is proper in your situation.

Issues to Appeal in a Divorce Case

The most common decisions that are appealed relate to child custody, property distribution, child support, or child custody. The issue that you are appealing determines whether the appeal is likely to succeed. The evidence and burden of proof may be different depending on the issue at hand.

In most cases, you must prove one of the causes of action for appealing a divorce judgment (i.e. errors of law or abuse of discretion) to change a divorce judgment. However, if you wish to petition for a modification of the divorce judgment, you may succeed if you can prove a substantial change of circumstances warrants a modification.

Contact a New York Divorce Appeals Lawyer for More Information

If you are considering an appeal, you must act quickly to file your notice of appeal. Schedule a consult with an experienced New York matrimonial law lawyer as quickly as possible after the judgment is entered. It is typically best to act quickly if you think you want to appeal a divorce order even if you decide after the consultation that an appeal is not the best course of action for you.


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