Can a judges decision in a divorce be overturned?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Can a judges decision in a divorce be overturned?

I was late getting to my divorce court date, they went a head and the judge made a
ruling my wife pretty much got everything not what she filed for can I get a lawyer
and overturn the ruling?

Asked on August 13, 2019 under Family Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can appeal the ruling, but to do so will have to be able to point to either some error of law (e.g. the court interpreted the law as pertaining to asset division, support, etc. incorrectly) or some extreme factual error (appeals courts only reverse trial courts on the fact when the "record" shows that essentially no one could have drawn the factual conclusions or findings that the trial court did; because the trial court listened to any testimony and they did not, appeals courts defer to them about factual evidence). Being late to court may not be enough of an error, since the courts are allowed to proceed with cases and make rulings in the absence of a party if that party misses the trial date/time: otherwise, people could endlessly delay litigation by not showing up and thereby putting the adjudication on hold.
In my experience, appeals work far less than half the time and can be expensive--several thousand dollars or more, between lawyer fees, filing fees, and the costs of gettng the "transcript" of the proceedings in trial court. While it's worth consulting with an attorney or three about the case, to see if you should appeal, do so with a sense of skepticism: any lawyer who overpromises (e.g. assures you it will work) is likely just trying to get your retainer. Listen skeptically to the attorneys, then decide whether to go ahead.
Note: there is usually a fairly short timeline to file an appeal, so if you want to explore this option, do it know.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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