What Should You Do If You Don’t Agree With the Judge’s Decision in Your Divorce?

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by | Dec 21, 2022 | Blog, Divorce

After a long battle in your divorce, you’re finally waiting for the judge to decide the case. Unfortunately, when you get the ruling, it isn’t the result you wanted. What’s the next step if you don’t agree with the judge’s decision? Generally, there are two paths you can take and they can be pursued virtually simultaneously. 

Motion to Reargue Your Divorce Case

If you believe that the judge made the wrong decision, you can file a motion to reargue with the court with help from a NY divorce attorney. Essentially, when you file a reargument motion, you are asking the court to reconsider its ruling. However, you must explain your reasons which demonstrate that the court got it wrong. Simply being unhappy about the verdict isn’t enough. You must show that the court overlooked or misapprehended the relevant facts or misapplied a controlling principle of law in order to prevail.

A motion to reargue must be filed within 30 days of the court’s decision being entered with the county clerk’s office. If the motion is denied, the denial cannot be appealed. 

Appeal the Court’s Decision in Your Divorce Case

You can also appeal the judge’s decision to the appellate court. You must file a notice of appeal with the court that heard your case within 30 days of the court’s decision being entered with the county clerk’s office.

As with a motion to reargue, there must be valid grounds for the appeal. You must prove that the judge made a significant legal mistake, misapplied the facts to the governing law, or there was an abuse of discretion resulting in harm to a party. 

Importantly, appellate courts give broad deference to the decisions of trial judges because they are the ones that heard the witnesses and parties and were involved in the day-to-day issues and therefore, best understand the nuances of the case.

Importantly, with both a motion to reargue and an appeal, the parties cannot re-litigate their case or introduce new facts or issues not raised at the original trial. To be clear, the parties must work from the very same record that was before the original court.

Contesting the Judge’s Decision in Your Divorce

Typically, it is best to simultaneously file both a motion to reargue and a notice of appeal. This shows respect to the trial judge and provides him or her an opportunity to review the decision and the arguments that you are bringing to the appellate court and reconsider his or her decision. The appellate court also tends to prefer that the trial judge have a chance to consider the losing party’s argument. Regardless, you should file both a motion to reargue and an appeal if you think the court’s decision is wrong.

If you are considering reargument or appeal of your divorce judgment, contact an experienced NY divorce attorney to discuss the best way to resolve your matter.

 

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