Divorce proceedings can become complicated, especially when one party feels that a ruling has been entered unjustly. Those in this situation may pursue appeals in their divorce proceedings, but appealing a divorce decision can be time-consuming and costly. Worse, filing appeals in divorce proceedings will not necessarily result in success. You need an experienced Tennessee divorce attorney if you want a good chance of winning a divorce appeal.
The Nashville divorce lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC have guided clients throughout the appellate process for decades. Timing is an important aspect of filing an appeal, and our attorneys have experience handling these procedures, ensuring that we will overlook no detail. We offer knowledgeable and aggressive legal representation to clients across Davidson and Williamson Counties.
Can You Appeal a Divorce Ruling: How Appeals Work
A divorce is final, either through establishing a marital settlement agreement or through issuing a court order. However, yes, either spouse can challenge or appeal a divorce ruling, or specific stipulations in it, by making an appeal to a higher court.
Once a final order is issued in the proceedings, a party who wants to challenge the judgment, known as the appellant, must file a Notice of Appeal within 30 days. This notice must be accompanied by an appellate brief, which is a document that sets out the legal argument for the appeal. It must also include case laws or statutes that support the appellant’s argument. In other words, the brief contains the basis for why the initial judgment was legally incorrect.
Appeals in Divorce Proceedings: The Courts
Once each side has had an opportunity to file a brief, an appellate court may decide to grant a hearing for oral arguments. During oral arguments, attorneys for each side present the grounds for why a decision was right or wrong, based on the law. No new evidence is allowed to be introduced during oral arguments that were not presented during the initial divorce proceedings.
Once the Court of Appeals has issued an opinion on a matter, the last appeal available is to the Tennessee Supreme Court. Those applications for appeal must be filed within 60 days after the intermediate appellate court’s judgment has been entered. It is important to remember that, generally, settlement agreements that were willingly entered into by both parties are not subject to appeal.
Appeals in Divorce Proceedings: Modifications
In lieu of appealing a decision to a higher court, a former spouse may petition the trial court that granted their judgment for a modification. To succeed in obtaining a modification of a final judgment, the petitioner must show that there has been a substantial and material change in circumstances since the judgment was entered.
Under Tennessee law, substantial and material changes can include:
Losing or getting a job
Going into retirement
Having additional children
Encountering changes in a child’s needs, such as specialized schooling
Appealing or modifying a final divorce judgment involves substantial legal knowledge. A family law attorney can articulate your interests properly to the courts.
Retain an Experienced Divorce Lawyer in Nashville: Divorce Appeal Process
When a final judgment in a divorce is contrary to Tennessee law, an ex-spouse or parent may feel that they are without recourse. However, there are options available to appeal or modify a judgment. The family law attorneys at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC help clients pursue legal action that serves their interests during and after divorce proceedings.
If you need legal assistance to appeal a divorce decree, contact us today to learn more about how our services can help you throughout your divorce.