Family Legal Center, LLC
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Can I appeal a divorce court ruling?

You went through the dissolution of marriage process. You tried so hard to reach a settlement through negotiations in order to avoid going to court, but it just did not work out in the end. Your divorce case ended up going to trial and a judge had the final say on your settlement terms. You do not believe the final terms will serve your best interests in the long run, particularly in regard to your alimony order. What can you do?

If you are one of the many Pennsylvania residents whose divorce terms were decided by a judge, you may feel you just have to take the terms as they are and move forward. This may not be true, however. Did you know you may have the right to file an appeal or at least seek a modification of the order?

Appeal

One or both spouses can file an appeal if they are unhappy with a judge's divorce ruling. To do this, the party interested in filing the appeal will need to file an appellate brief that documents the complaint and provides supporting information as to why the ruling was unjust. You can't include new evidence to the appellate court for consideration. The appeal simply has to do with overturning the lower court judge's decision.

Modification

While it is possible to appeal a divorce ruling, many of these appeals fail to receive approval. This is where modification requests come into play. For instance, if you are unhappy with your alimony amount and duration, you can ask a judge to change the order. For such a request to be successful, it is necessary to provide evidence as to why you require the change.

Order adjustment requests do not stop at alimony. You may also submit a request for a modification of the following:

  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Visitation

With any modification request, it is generally necessary to show a substantial change in circumstances occurred making the adjustment an absolute need.

Is either worth the time and effort?

Filing an appeal or seeking a modification to a divorce ruling can take a lot of time, effort and money. Some may not believe either to be worth it. However, it is a very personal decision. If you have an issue with your divorce ruling or require a change, fighting for what is fair or needed may serve your interests in the end.

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