Appealing a Divorce Judgment in New Jersey
Divorce Appeals: Find out about appropriate grounds for a divorce appeal; the timing of your appeal; and factors to weigh in making the decision to appeal your New Jersey divorce judgment.
Are you considering appealing a divorce judgment in New Jersey? If you have been left feeling unsatisfied with the outcome of your case, it is important to understand that the New Jersey court system provides options for pursuing your matter further, including filing a motion to appeal your case.
Appropriate Grounds for a Divorce Appeal
It is imperative to base the decision to file a divorce appeal on a calm and rational assessment of both the probable costs involved and the realistic chances for success. In New Jersey, there are only certain grounds upon which you can appeal.
Reasons that might justify an appeal against your divorce judgment include a trial court's:
- failure to make sufficient findings of fact,
- failure to apply controlling law correctly,
- failure to resolve all disputes,
- failure to conduct a full hearing when necessary to resolve a material dispute between the parties, or
- abuse of discretion.
If you think that one or more of these may apply to your situation, you need to consider the timing of your divorce appeal.
Timing of a New Jersey Divorce Appeal
The timing of a divorce appeal is crucial. Parties can usually appeal only from a judgment or order that is "final," meaning that it addresses every outstanding issue in the case. Appeals that are "interlocutory" (during the case) are automatically allowed in certain limited situations, such as following a final child custody determination. A court may also grant permission for you to file an interlocutory appeal if you can demonstrate both a good chance of success on appeal and the probability that delaying review would cause irreparable harm.
In some cases there are options in the trial court that need to be pursued before or instead of an appeal. These include "motions for reconsideration," and requests to "vacate" or set aside a judgment. After a default judgment against you, for example, the proper procedure will be a request to vacate. Be sure to review these options with your attorney before assuming that an appeal is the right next step in your case.
Deciding to Appeal a New Jersey Divorce Judgment
Deciding to appeal a New Jersey divorce judgment is one that requires careful consideration. Since the steps to appeal a divorce case are complicated and precision is critical, it is never a good idea to file an appeal without a lawyer. Because many Family Law attorneys do not handle divorce appeals, you may need to hire a new attorney to review your case before you will be able to assess your real chances.
Also be aware that divorce appeals can be expensive and time-consuming, and in most cases, the odds of success are low. If you are considering this route, it is imperative to take legal advice from an attorney familiar with divorce judgment appeals.
Find out more about the Divorce Appeal Process.