Should you appeal or seek to modify your divorce decree? | The Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers, APC
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Should you appeal or seek to modify your divorce decree?

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If your divorce negotiation is heading south, or if you already received a frustrating decree that you believe is unfair, the law provides ways for you to challenge those results. However, things do not operate in exactly the same way after a court hands down a decree.

The appeals process is fairly limited, and requires a very specific, experienced approach. If you are considering appealing a divorce decree or petitioning the court for a modification to a decision, you must choose your legal team very carefully.

The details are always important, but in the appeals and modification process, it is all details. Even if you already have an attorney representing you in your divorce, that attorney may not have appropriate experience to navigate a successful appeal or modification.

Any time that you want to address an issue through an appeal, it is important to seek the guidance of an attorney whose practice focuses on appeals and who understands exactly how to approach your needs in the most effective way possible.

Appeals versus modifications

If you believe that the court that handled your divorce was not fair in its decision and is unlikely to be fair if you petition a certain aspect of the decision for a modification, you should enlist the guidance of an experienced appellate attorney.

Appellate law specifically deals with appealing a lower court's decisions to an appeals court. However, there are fairly tight restrictions to what you can and cannot appeal.

Appeals generally identify some aspect of a lower court's decision and argue to the appellate court that the law supports a different decision. If you are pursuing an appeal in California, this requires the attorney representing your appeal to understand not only the fundamentals and nuances of the state's divorce law, but to also maintain great in-depth understanding of relevant case law.

Your attorney then prepares a legal argument that based on specific California legislation and case-law precedents to present to the appellate court in hopes of undoing an unjust decision.

However, depending on the nature of your decree's unfairness, you might decide it is best to petition the court that handled your divorce for a modification to the decree.

This is common when a judge hands down decree that doesn't really work in practice, or when one parent experiences a life change that makes it difficult to abide by the decree.

Maybe one you or your former spouse has experienced a great increase or decrease in income, or the terms of your parenting plan seemed reasonable when you both agreed to them, but after some time living with it, you realize that it needs to change.

In these cases, it's possible to petition the court for a modification. While a modification is never a foregone conclusion, they are easier to obtain than appealing a decree to the appellate court.

Get the right help for your needs

There are many competent, understanding attorneys in Southern California, but not all of them actually build their practices on an in-depth understanding of appeals and modifications in family law matters.

If you want to make sure that your family law needs are truly addressed professionally, make sure that you seek out the guidance of an attorney with years of appellate experience. With proper guidance, you ensure that your rights remain secure while you chart a course to a new season and a fresh start.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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