You received your divorce decree but have concerns about the judge’s decision. In New Jersey, you can appeal the judge’s decision and try to move it to an appeals court to rule differently. However, this can be a costly move and should never be made without consulting with a knowledgeable divorce lawyer who has expertise with the appellate court and its processes.
Most appellate courts will review your appeal with a bias toward your original family court judge’s decision. Since no new evidence can be entered into a case, you must prove that the family court judge made an error. This can be tough to do, although not impossible under the right conditions. In general, you should not try to appeal a divorce judgment without good reason.
Some of those reasons could include:
- The original judge made an obvious error
- The original judge abused their authority
- The original judge did not seem to carefully analyze the evidence
- The original judge did not award alimony in a manner consistent with the alimony awards usually found in similar divorces
- The original judge did not resolve every dispute in the divorce judgment
Again, these are tough points to prove and require the representation of an experienced family law attorney. Because the process to formally file an appeal is a complex one, divorced parties would be unwise to represent themselves.
What Does Filing an Appeal Involve?
As with most appeals, plaintiffs must file notice of the appeal within specific timelines. In New Jersey, the time to file an appeal is within 45 days after a divorce decree is filed. You must then submit briefs and potentially make oral arguments. However, oral arguments are typically short because only evidence from the original divorce trial will be taken into consideration during an appeal. The process from beginning to end usually involves about one to two years of work, and can include very high fees to get transcripts and other documents in addition to other legal costs. Additionally, most divorce decree appeals are not overturned or are turned back to the family law court for retrial.
Are There Alternatives to Appealing a Divorce Judgment?
To save money and time, many parties who are unhappy with a divorce decree because of alimony or property division file a motion to modify rather than appeal. That way, they can try to settle their disagreements with the divorce judgment and spend less money in the process. To be sure, modification can be challenging, too, but if your circumstances have changed, it may make sense. It can also help you move on from a divorce both financially and emotionally faster.
South Jersey Divorce Lawyers Provide Counsel to Parties Considering a Divorce Judgment Appeal
If you are unhappy about your divorce judgment, call us at 856-751-5505 or use our online form to request a free initial consultation. Located in Marlton and Somers Point, New Jersey, we work with clients across South Jersey, including Camden County, Burlington County, and Atlantic County.