How to Appeal a Divorce

While some divorces are amicable and the two parties can find a solution without the input of the courts, others require adjudication. However, if you take your divorce to the courts, you may not like the final judgment.


You may appeal the family law court’s decision by going to the New Jersey Appellate Court or file a motion of reconsideration or modification. An experienced legal team like Lyons & Associates, P.C. can help you understand how to appeal a divorce since this process can be long and confusing—sometimes taking years. 


How to Appeal a Divorce: Can You Appeal a Divorce Ruling?

Can you appeal a divorce ruling? In New Jersey, the answer is yes. However, the process is complicated, and the Appellate Court often sides with the original ruling. To effectively appeal a divorce ruling, there are several important steps to follow.

First, you need to speak with your divorce lawyer. Even if you represented yourself in the divorce, having expert legal advice is essential for the appeals system since your lawyer can present your arguments clearly to the Appellate Court on your behalf.

Once you’ve spoken with your lawyer, they can help you determine if you have grounds for an appeal or if you should pursue other avenues. To qualify for an Appellate Review, you need to show that the judge made an error when determining your divorce decree, such as:

  • Not applying the law correctly
  • Not conducting the hearing according to the legal requirements
  • Leaving one or more significant disputes unresolved
  • Abusing the discretion of the court, meaning it reached a decision unsupported by the evidence

If you and your lawyer believe your judge committed one of these errors, you can file an appeal. In most cases, you must wait until you receive a final divorce decree to appeal. However, in the case of child custody, you can file an interlocutory appeal while the rest of the case is ongoing.

While some appeals are successful, many are not since the trial courts have the final say in determining the truth in New Jersey. If your appeal fails, or your lawyer believes you would not have a case for an Appellate Review, you have several alternative avenues to alter your decree.

Other Avenues

Going through the Appellate Courts isn’t the only way to request an alteration of your divorce decree. If you believe the judge made a significant error that negatively impacted your rights, you can file a motion for reconsideration. However, you must do this within 20 days of receiving your final decree, with the only exception being if you find new evidence showing fraud. In these cases, you can bring the new evidence to the judge within a year.

Some elements of your divorce, including child support, visitation orders, and custody schedules, may need to change according to your circumstances. You may be able to file a motion for modification instead of appealing the entirety of your divorce.

Contact a Top New Jersey Family Law Firm

Whether you just received your divorce decree and believe it’s unfair, or you’ve had a change in circumstances and wish to modify an old decree, the team at Lyons & Associates, P.C., can help. Contact us online or call us today at (908) 575-9777 to schedule a free consultation and learn about your rights after divorce.