What Is a Divorce Appeal, and Can It Prevent Divorce?

A divorce proceeding is similar to other legal matters in that the final judgment can be appealed. While an appeal won't stop a divorce, it may help you get more suitable terms for your divorce judgment.

What does it mean to appeal a divorce judgment?

To “appeal” is to challenge a ruling made by the court. In this case, the ruling you aim to change is the divorce judgment, which contains divorce terms such as the specifics of property division, debt sharing, child custody, the amount of child support to be paid, and the amount of spousal support to be paid.

Appealing a divorce judgment may occur when one or both spouses disagree with the ruling and seek to have it overturned. This typically happens after the judge has issued their final decision on all relevant matters, including those mentioned above.

In order to appeal a divorce judgment, the appellant must submit paperwork to the court that outlines their objections and arguments for why they believe the ruling should be reversed within a certain time – usually 30 days or less.

Watch: Can My Ex Really Say No to Getting a Divorce?

Why would someone appeal their divorce judgment?

There are a variety of reasons why someone might choose to appeal their divorce judgment. These include but are not limited to the following:

  • The ruling does not adhere to the law or was made in an improper manner.
  • They believe the court failed to consider important evidence that could have impacted the ruling.
  • The judgment ignored something promised by one party during the marriage, such as the enforcement of a prenuptial agreement.
  • They feel the court has made an unfair award regarding the children they share with their ex-spouse.
  • The rulings did not adequately consider any potential future financial issues or changes in circumstances.
  • One or both parties disagree with how assets were divided and feel it should be done differently.

What steps are necessary to file a divorce appeal?

The process for appealing a divorce judgment varies depending on the state and court, but broadly speaking, it involves submitting an appellate brief that outlines the appellant's arguments and objections to the ruling.

Any relevant documentation or evidence that supports the appellant's case must be included. After this, the matter would be forwarded to an appellate court, where further legal arguments take place until a new court order is issued or the original judgment is confirmed.

How much does it cost to make an appeal?

Costs vary depending on factors like court fees and legal representation. Generally speaking, an appellant should expect to pay initial filing fees, potential appeals fees, and attorney's fees. A family law attorney’s fees can be substantial in this case, as an appeal often requires more time and preparation than a trial.

In the years after a divorce decree has been issued, it may be possible to have a court decision modified if a significant change of circumstances occurs. For example, if you were paying child support but lost your job due to a permanent physical handicap, you may be able to stop child support payments through a court-ordered modification to your agreement.

Can an appeal stop a divorce?

No. An appeal is a request to the court to have a ruling in a case overturned or modified. Therefore, an appeal cannot stop a divorce from taking place. However, it can potentially modify the associated judgments given by the court, such as the division of assets or arrangements for child custody.

At Hello Divorce, we support people before, during, and after their divorce process. We do this by offering intuitive and flexible online divorce plans, legal advice through private one-on-one time with an attorney, and many more professional services.


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Divorce Content Specialist & Lawyer
Divorce Strategy, Divorce Process, Legal Insights

Bryan is a non-practicing lawyer, HR consultant, and legal content writer. With nearly 20 years of experience in the legal field, he has a deep understanding of family and employment laws. His goal is to provide readers with clear and accessible information about the law, and to help people succeed by providing them with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate the legal landscape. Bryan lives in Orlando, Florida.