Sometimes, one or both parties may find disappointing aspects of a divorce settlement, from custody arrangements and spousal support to the distribution of marital property. However, there is a difference between feeling disappointed with the final divorce agreement and believing that a mistake was made or that the terms are legitimately unfair. If this is the case, you may want to file an appeal.
To appeal your divorce judgment in New Jersey, you will have to file a motion to reconsider the judgment. You will need a divorce lawyer who can help you with this process.
In most cases, once a divorce agreement has been finalized, there are limited circumstances that would warrant an appeal. If you intend to appeal your divorce judgment, it is important to understand that the court will consider the evidence presented to the trial court and the legal arguments you and your divorce lawyer made.
You will have to go through steps to appeal a divorce, such as:
- Decide what to appeal. Before you go to court, you must decide what details of your divorce you are appealing. In most cases, the process allows you to challenge certain divorce terms rather than appealing the entire divorce. You should consult with your divorce lawyer before filing an appeal.
- File a notice of appeal. This notifies the court, your ex-spouse, and the lawyers involved that you are appealing the divorce. In New Jersey, you must file a notice of appeal within 45 days of filing the final judgment. You must provide your e-spouse with copies of the notice. If you fail to do this, the court may dismiss your appeal.
- Prepare the record. You and your divorce lawyer must prepare the “record of appeal,” which includes the trial transcript and case record. The trial transcript is a written version of everything said during the trial. You must pay for a copy of the transcript. The case record includes pleadings, exhibits, and other case documents presented during the trial. No new evidence may be presented.
- Draft and file the appellate brief. This step of the process is particularly labor-intensive. A brief is a written document that details the writer’s legal arguments and the evidence to support those arguments. This is a complex process, and many courts have specific requirements for formatting the brief. Both spouses must submit a brief to the court, and once the briefs are submitted, the court will notify both spouses with a date for oral arguments or issue a decision.
- Attend the oral argument. This allows you to present your “oral argument” to a panel of judges. Once you have completed your oral argument, the judges will take the case under advisement. An immediate decision is generally not issued.
- Receive the court’s decision. Appellate courts generally decide between 30 and 90 days after the oral arguments. The following are possible outcomes from the court’s decision:
- Affirm the trial court’s order. This means the appeal was unsuccessful, and the divorce terms remain binding as written.
- Reverse the trial court’s order. This means that your appeal has been successful. You will be notified of the next steps. The case may be remanded to the trial court, or a modified order may be entered.
- Remand the case to the trial court. In most cases, when a trial court’s decision is reversed, the appellate court remands the case and provides instructions as to how the trial court should decide the matter.
- Modify the trial court’s order. If the appeals court believes an error was made, they may issue an amended judgment or modify the trial court’s order.
Do I Need to Hire a Divorce Lawyer to Handle My Appeal?
To successfully navigate the appeals process, it is in your best interest to have an experienced divorce lawyer with a proven track record of handling appeals and negotiating the best possible outcome. The process can be extremely complicated, requiring attention to detail and strong legal arguments. Ultimately, appeals are challenging to win, and they can prolong the divorce process. A skilled divorce lawyer will determine whether this is the best legal course of action. If you have a strong case, your lawyer will guide you through this complex process, ensure all notifications and filings are made, and address your questions and concerns.
A Freehold Divorce Lawyer at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Can Help You Appeal a Divorce Judgment
If you feel that the terms of your divorce are unfair, it is in your best interest to contact a Freehold divorce lawyer at Lyons & Associates, P.C. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call 908-575-9777 or contact us online. Located in Somerville, Morristown, and Freehold, New Jersey, we serve clients in Somerset, Woodbridge, Morristown, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, Morris Plains, and Monmouth County.