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Appealing a Contested Divorce Judgment

During a divorce, you may not always agree with the ruling of the court. However, if the court makes a mistake when rendering a judgment, you can appeal that decision to the appellate court. Appeals are different from modifications and may only be done in certain situations. To learn more about whether you have an appealable issue in your California divorce case, call or contact the experienced contested divorce attorneys at Kearney Baker today to schedule a consultation. 

The Difference Between Modification and Appeal

There are significant differences between a modification and an appeal of a contested divorce judgment. A modification is requested when there has been a substantial change in circumstances for one or both former spouses that is permanent, material, and unanticipated at the time of the divorce decree. Modifications are usually requested months or even years after the initial divorce judgment and are handled by a trial court judge.

An appeal is made immediately after a contested judgment because a spouse disagrees with the ruling made by the judge due to an error in fact or law. A spouse cannot appeal simply because they disagree with the outcome. There must be an identifiable issue like a misapplication of legal statute or erroneous ruling on a motion to admit evidence that could have otherwise rendered a different outcome in the case. Unlike a modification that is heard by a trial judge, an appeal elevates the issues to the appellate court for a decision.

How to Appeal a Divorce Judgment

There are strict procedures and tight timelines for appealing a contested divorce judgment in a California divorce case. A spouse has thirty days from the final ruling to file a notice of appeal with the courts. Their attorney will review the trial record for all appealable issues in the case and file a written brief with the appellate court outlining how the trial court erred in its decision as well as how those errors fundamentally altered the outcome of the case. The other spouse has an opportunity to respond and file their own written brief before both sides present oral arguments to the appellate court.

After oral arguments, the appellate judges will deliberate and render a ruling on the case. They may either affirm the trial court’s ruling, reverse the ruling, or remand the case back to the trial court with instructions specific to the appealed issue. If remanded, the trial court must reconsider the contested divorce judgment with the appellate court’s ruling dictating the legal issues. As the appellate process is substantially different from a trial, it is important to secure the services of an attorney with experience appealing divorce judgments for your case. 

Want to Appeal a Contested Divorce Judgement? Talk to Our Office Now

Do you believe that the court made a mistake in your California divorce? If so, call or contact the knowledgeable attorneys at Kearney Baker in Pasadena today to schedule an evaluation of your case to determine if you have a valid issue for appeal.

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