Written by Canterbury Law Group

Appeals and Motions to Modify the Divorce Decree


After a divorce is finalized, either spouse may have grounds to appeal certain court rulings. Either a divorce decree modification request or a court judgment appeal may be made in order to accomplish this.

An overview of the procedure to challenge a court order pertaining to a divorce proceeding is provided below.

Having Your Divorce Judgment Reviewed

A state court of appeals can hear an appeal of a divorce court judge’s ruling. While the initial judge’s ruling in a divorce case is respected, it is uncommon, though not unheard of, for an appeals court to reject the lower court judge’s judgment.

An appeal can only address material mistakes that were made during the trial. This could be a case of factual, legal, or judicial misconduct.

Due to the fact that both parties to the divorce agreed to the terms of the settlement, divorce settlement agreements are typically unaffected by an appeal. A spouse can attempt to claim that there were issues with the way the agreement was created, which could create a problem with its enforcement.

Divorce Appeal Notice

A notice of appeal is given to the opposing party to start the appellate procedure. For filing and serving notice, there are detailed guidelines and timeframes. Your right to appeal could be lost if you don’t adhere to your county’s and state’s filing requirements.

The Appeal’s File

The Record on Appeal must be prepared once the notice of appeal has been submitted to the court and served on each party. The processes used by the states to record court transcripts differ. Ask the court clerk what documents are maintained there and how to get them for your appeal.

The clerk’s record consists of all the written materials—documents, papers, pleadings, etc.—that were submitted to the court. It contains every piece of evidence and document presented during the trial. Other court documents (like motions) that were not initially introduced at trial may be found in the Record on Appeal.

Every word spoken in court while a court reporter was present is recorded in the court reporter’s transcript, a typewritten booklet. It often includes all of the witness testimony, the arguments made by the attorneys, and any remarks made by the judge or the parties.

The appeals document

The written appellate briefs submitted by the attorneys for each party serve as the primary vehicle for argument on appeal. A brief is a piece of writing that presents the case’s legal arguments and supports them with citations to relevant statutes, case law, the reporter’s transcript, and records kept by the clerk.

After being hired, the parties’ divorce lawyers file their pleadings to the appeals court. Regardless of whether they first represented you, a lawyer must be retained in order to represent you in the appeal court. You will need to consult with your lawyer or get new counsel for your case.

When submitting a brief, the lawyer may be asked to specify whether or not oral arguments are necessary.

Oral Debate

If a request for an oral argument is made, the time allotted for each party to deliver its case will normally not exceed 15 or 30 minutes. There will be no witness summons and no consideration of fresh evidence.

You might retain the same trial court attorney to defend you on appeal, or you could get new counsel. The lawyer will go over the mistakes that were made in the trial court and how they contributed to the outcome of the initial divorce case.

Appellate Court’s Decision

The appellate court will issue its decision after receiving the Record on Appeal, the appellate brief, and any oral arguments. State-to-state variations in time exist. Typically, an appellate court can take as little as a month or as long as a year or more to rule on an appeal.

The appeal court has the option of upholding the trial court’s judgment or remanding the case back to the trial court for judgment revision or a fresh trial. In rare cases, the court may simply vacate (overturn) the judgment.

Divorce modification requests

The appeals process is costly and might not yield the outcomes an ex-spouse is hoping for.

The easiest way to get the divorce decree modified is to just ask for it, which is much less expensive and usually more effective. It is possible to change some aspects of the divorce, including spousal support, child support, child custody, and visitation, however some changes are simpler to make than others.

A “move to modify” must be submitted in order to request a change to a property settlement, child custody arrangement, or alimony payment. The same court where the divorce judgment was rendered is where this motion was filed.

The majority of states offer specific paperwork to fill out. To see if they are open, inquire with the state and county courts in your area.

When writing a motion to modify, you must provide evidence of new circumstances that call for a revision. For instance, the termination of employment may be cause for alimony or child support modification.

Each state has its own laws governing the modification procedure and the evidence required for the modification to be approved.

Although it is challenging, child custody arrangements can be changed. Following the approval of the custody agreement, courts generally reluctant to modify custody arrangements. However, if it is in the child’s best interest and a change is required due to external factors, they will.

The completed petition for modification must be submitted to the court and served on the ex-spouse. The court will set a date for a hearing where the arguments will be made.

You should provide a copy of your agreement with your petition if you and your spouse concur that a revision is required. The adjustment may be made by the court without a court presence being required.

Speak With One Of Our Divorce Attorneys In Scottsdale

Canterbury Law Group’s divorce attorneys in Phoenix and Scottsdale will handle your case with personal attention and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions. Our family lawyers can also help with divorce litigation, child custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, divorce mediationcollaborative divorce, and more.

We are experienced divorce attorneys and will fight for you to get you the best possible outcome. Our law firm will represent you fully in court, so you can get on with your life. Call us today for an initial consultation. 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

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