Getting divorced is never easy. While some spouses are able to resolve their differences amicably by filing an uncontested divorce, others have to fight it all out in court. (Read more about filing for divorce)
When you take your divorce to court and entrust the judge to make decisions for you, you may not be satisfied with the outcome of your divorce decree or judgment.
When this happens, you may wonder, “Can I appeal my divorce decree in Texas?” Whether or not you can appeal your divorce decree depends on why you want to appeal the judge’s ruling. It is advisable to consult with a Gatesville divorce lawyer to review your situation and determine if you have valid grounds to appeal the divorce decree or judgment.
What is a Divorce Decree in Texas?
A divorce decree is a formal order issued by the court containing information about the divorce case, including spousal maintenance, child support, child custody, and division of property.
Your divorce is not final until the divorce decree is issued by the judge. Divorce decrees also contain the following basic information:
The spouses’ names
The case number
The date when the divorce becomes effective
The agreed-upon terms of the divorce
If you feel that the divorce decree is wrong, unfair, or contains factual inaccuracies, do not hesitate to contact a divorce attorney to help you appeal the decree. You have limited time to appeal the divorce decree, which is why you should act quickly.
Can I Appeal a Divorce Decree in Texas?
There are several reasons to contest a divorce decree, but not all of them are valid. You cannot appeal a divorce decree unless you have valid grounds to do so.
One of the valid grounds to appeal a divorce decree in Texas is when the judge made a mistake regarding the application of the law. When filing the appeal, you must demonstrate evidence that the court made the error. For this reason, it is imperative to contact a knowledgeable attorney to find errors or inconsistencies in the divorce decree.
Just because you do not agree with the judge’s decision in the divorce decree does not give you grounds to file an appeal. If the lower court made any mistakes in applying the law to the specific circumstances of your case, you could ask the appellate court to overturn the judge’s decision.
Aside from the errors or factual inconsistencies in the divorce decree, your attorney may also be able to appeal the divorce decree when any of the following is true:
Your spouse and/or their lawyer obtained the judgment against you by actual fraud, perjury, or duress;
Your spouse hid or concealed assets or critical information during the court proceedings;
You or your attorney discovered new facts that could not have reasonably been discovered during the court proceedings;
Inadmissible testimony or evidence was allowed during the divorced case; or
Your admissible evidence was excluded from the court proceedings.
In any of these situations, it is imperative to consult with a skilled attorney to determine if you can appeal your divorce decree. Your appeal case may not be successful unless you present substantial evidence to convince the appellate court to overturn the judge’s ruling.
How to Appeal a Divorce Decree in Texas?
Once the divorce decree has been issued by the judge, you and your former spouse have a right to appeal the ruling. In order to appeal a divorce decree, follow these steps:
Submit a motion to appeal the judge’s decision to an appellate court in Texas;
Provide a complaint detailing the reasons for an appeal; and
Provide evidence and supporting documentation to convince the appellate court to overturn the divorce decree.
Once you file an appeal, it could take months or even years for the appellate court to makes its decision in your case. The appellate court may send the original judgment back to the lower court that issued the decree to reconsider the issues and make the necessary changes.
Just because you were able to file an appeal, there is no guarantee that the appellate court will approve your requested changes. Every case is unique, which is why it is essential to seek the counsel of an experienced lawyer to review your case and ensure you are taking the right course of action.
Keep in mind that there are strict deadlines for filing an appeal. Thus, if you want to appeal a divorce decree in Texas, you have a limited time after the final judgment is issued to file an appeal. Otherwise, you will be barred from appealing the decree, and it will be permanent.
Contact a knowledgeable divorce lawyer to help you navigate the appeals process in Texas.
Appeal vs. Modification of a Divorce Order
Even if you have no valid grounds to file an appeal or the appellate court rejects your requested changes, you may still have a right to modify your divorce order.
In Texas, you have a right to request a modification of the following court orders:
Spousal maintenance (alimony)
Child custody and visitation
Under Texas law, the requesting party is required to present proof of a substantial change in circumstances in order to modify an existing court order.
Note: The appeals process can be quite costly and may not provide the results you are seeking. (Click here to learn more about divorce costs)
Speak with a Gatesville Divorce Lawyer During a Free Consultation
If you are considering appealing your divorce decree, speak with our attorneys at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard. Our knowledgeable and results-driven divorce lawyers offer a free consultation to help you understand your options.
Keep in mind that it can be very difficult – and, in most cases, impossible – to appeal or change a divorce decree or court-approved settlement if you and your spouse agreed to it. Nonetheless, it makes sense to consult with an attorney to discuss your particular case and determine if you still have a chance to file an appeal. Call 254-501-4040 to receive a free consultation.