Like any case in court, a divorce can be risky. If you don’t settle – meaning you don’t come to an agreement with the other side about issues in the case before trial – you’re leaving it entirely to the judge to decide your fate. And, while a pre-trial conference can give your DuPage County divorce attorney insight as to what a judge will decide on your case, you will never know what can or will happen at trial.
Luckily, you have options following the close of your case to appeal or otherwise try and change a judge’s ruling on certain issues in your case. Unfortunately, not all decisions can be challenged or changed. However, you can file an appeal or a petition to reconsider on a handful of topics.
In this article, we discuss both appeals and other options in greater detail so you know your options following the end of your divorce.
Filing an Appeal
An appeal is used when you believe the judge erred ruling on issue that is based in law. This means you could challenge a judge’s interpretation of existing law that affected your case, admissibility of evidence, and whether the law applied to the current case. Your divorce lawyer will be able to judge whether he thinks you have a basis from which to appeal.
Note that appeals must be filed within 30 days of the final judgment of the trial court. This means you must move relatively quickly if you’re going to appeal your case. It’s also important to note that appeals can be time consuming, and quite costly. The basic process looks something like this:
- Your attorney files your Notice of Appeal, allowing you to file the appeal itself.
- You deliver the certified trial brief of your final judgment to the appellate court.
- You file your appellate brief, which gives you the opportunity to demonstrate where the trial court erred.
- Your attorney may participate in an oral argument before the panel of appellate judges.
- The appellate court will hear and decide on your case.
Remember, not all trial court decisions can be appealed, nor does an appeal provide an opportunity to re-litigate the same issues decided in the trial court. It’s important that you rely on your attorney for expertise on the situation and how you should proceed.
Filing a Motion
Unlike an appeal, which is filed because something was legally wrong with the trial court’s decision, you should file a motion if you dispute a fact that the court found and based a decision upon. Typically, motions are filed if you have new information on an issue that would affect the outcome of the case. This allows the judge to reconsider his or her ruling with this new information in hand.
If you do file a motion to reconsider, you must have something new you’re bringing to the table. A judge would not rule differently on your case if you rely on the same facts just a couple of weeks after his or her initial decision.
Speak With an Attorney to Explore Your Options or to Understand That You Have Them
If you read this article, chances are you are either divorced and are dissatisfied with your final judgment or are considering divorce and want to learn more about the process. In either case, Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. can help.
Larry has over 36 years of experience in family law handling a wide range of issues in countless divorces. Take advantage of your free, 30-minute consultation with Larry today by calling us at 630-470-9990. If you prefer, you may also fill out our simple online form and we will contact you within 24 hours to set up an appointment.
We look forward to hearing from you!