Divorce Laws & Procedures Family law

How and When Can You Appeal the Outcome of a Divorce?

When it comes to divorce settlements, it’s very uncommon for both spouses to get everything that they want. Instead, it’s essential in most cases that each party is able to compromise in some way in order to come to an agreement and resolution. This could mean making adjustments to child custody arrangements or splitting financial assets in a way that you might not have chosen for yourself but can live with.

divorce settlements

However, this often leads to some divorced spouses believing that they got the short end of the stick in their divorce, but it doesn’t always mean that you have the grounds to head back to court and fight for a new settlement. On the other hand, if you received a divorce settlement that was truly unfair, you may be able to reopen your case and ask the court to take another look.

Reopening Your Divorce Case

First of all, it’s important to bear in mind that most people rarely succeed in reopening a divorce case. If your settlement wasn’t everything that you wanted, but it was not truly unjust or unfair, it’s unlikely that the court will agree to reopen your case.

So it’s worth taking the time to make sure that you really do have solid grounds to appeal. You will need to file a petition with the court, and any application to reopen your divorce case should allege that:

  • There is unfairness or inequality of the divorce settlement agreement
  • You were under duress; for example, if your ex-spouse used threats or violence or manipulated you into accepting and signing the settlement agreement
  • You were mistaken about a material fact that influenced the agreement
  • Fraud or deceit occurred; for example, your ex-spouse provided you with false information or concealed important information to the case.

Are There Different Appeal Types?

There are various ways that a final divorce settlement can be challenged, and in most cases, they are only granted according to the judge’s discretion. These include:

  • Appeal: This is the typical avenue for challenging a divorce settlement. However, it can also be quite time-consuming. Generally, you will have thirty days to make your appeal after the final judgment has been made.
  • Motion for Rehearing: This is usually filed if you believe the court has made a mistake and you will need to file almost straight away after the divorce settlement is reached. The request must be granted by a judge.
  • Motion for Relief from Judgement: This motion will only be granted in certain extenuating circumstances such as the ones mentioned above. For example, if the other party concealed assets or coerced you into accepting the settlement, you can usually apply for a motion for relief. It will only be granted in cases where a serious matter has affected the fairness of the settlement, and not because you aren’t satisfied with the outcome.

If you believe that you have reasonable grounds to appeal your divorce settlement, it’s important to understand the deadlines. Each potential procedure that you can take will have a very strict deadline and generally speaking, the sooner you apply, the better.