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Can I appeal a divorce judgment?

After a divorce agreement is considered final by the court, that is generally the end of negotiations. However, one or both spouses do have a right to appeal the judge's decision in a trial court to an appeals court. While this is rather unusual because appeals courts don't often overturn a judge's ruling in a divorce case, it is not unheard of.

When filing for an appeal on a divorce judgment, both parties prepare a written appellate brief. This is a document written by your attorney that states the argument why you believe the judgment should be amended. There are references in appellate briefs to statutes and case law. Your spouse's attorney will then present their counter argument in their brief why the trial court's decision was correct. Once submitted to the appellate court, it will be up to the court to determine if they want to hear oral arguments from the parties.

If both of you agreed to the settlement, then it likely cannot be appealed. In most cases, the appellate court will not hear new testimony. Once the appeals court rules on your appeal, there is limited opportunity for more appeals.

This does not mean that you cannot petition the court to modify your divorce judgment. When this occurs, it is usually done for such things as child custody, visitation, child support and alimony. A "motion to modify" is made to the same court that originally heard the divorce case.

Modifying a divorce agreement is much easier than trying to appeal a divorce judgment. If you need more information, your divorce attorney can help.

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