Ohio Divorce Appeals

Can a final divorce decree be appealed? The short answer is—yes, it can, because any final order by any Ohio judge can be appealed. The longer answer is—appealing a divorce order is a decision that needs to be looked at very carefully.

Any party who is dissatisfied with the decision of a judge can appeal that decision. Divorce cases are, however, rarely appealed and those appeals rarely result in overturning the trial judge’s decision.

There are enough times that trial courts are actually overturned, however, that appealing a divorce judgment is, indeed, the right thing to do. But there are several things to consider.

First, most divorces are uncontested. Absent real fraud, an agreement that goes against public policy, or an agreement that the court finds “unconscionable,” no agreement between two parties will be overturned by any court, including an appeals court. And, if there is real fraud, the solution will generally be to go back to the trial court, rather than to go through an appeal.

Secondly, appeals are very expensive, and can easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars. Costs not only include the hourly fees of your attorney (or, in some cases, team of attorneys), but also the real expense of typing up the trial transcripts and delivering all of the case’s documentation to the appeals court.

Third, an appeal may very well not be the proper course of action. You may, instead, be looking at a motion to change something in the separation agreement or final order, or you may be looking at a motion for a new trial, rather than looking at an appeal.

An appeal is not another trial. There is no evidence presented, and there are no witnesses. There is an entirely different set of court rules. The only issues are generally how the trial was conducted by the trial judge.

The primary reason that a divorce case can be appealed is if the trial court abused its discretion. The problem here is that trial courts, and especially divorce courts, have considerable freedom to interpret evidence and the demeanor of the parties, and they also have wide discretion in how they control their own dockets.

There are also time considerations. In Ohio, a Notice of Appeal must be filed with the trial court within a very short period of time, so you have to decide very quickly after the judgment was filed whether or not you want to pursue this option.

Trying to change or overturn a divorce court’s judgment can be a very time-consuming and costly endeavor. There are, however, times when that is the only solution to your problem. You need an experienced attorney who gets results to guide you through this difficult decision-making process.

Please call us at 1-888-534-4850 for a FREE consultation or send us a Website Message to discuss whether an appeal is in your best interest.

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