How to Appeal a Divorce Settlement in New York
Your divorce settlement is what specifies how you and your spouse will divide money, property, and debts between each of your after your divorce. It also includes alimony or spousal support if it’s awarded and healthcare and insurance coverage that one spouse may be required to maintain for a period of time.
This is a legally binding document that you and your ex agree to honor and cannot be changed without a new hearing in court.
If you feel that your settlement is unfair, you may be able to appeal the judge’s decision. However, this can be a complex process that requires the help of an experienced New York divorce lawyer. Here’s what to know.
The Legal Grounds for Filing an Appeal
Unfortunately, you can’t just file an appeal if you feel that your divorce settlement is unjust. You have to have adequate legal grounds to do so. For example, if you can show that the court misapplied the law or made procedural mistakes in your case, you may be able to successfully get an appeal hearing on the docket.
It’s also possible to file an appeal if the settlement was based on misrepresentations your spouse made that you only later discovered, or if you were forced to accept the settlement terms under duress. You will need to show strong evidence that your spouse lied or concealed their assets or that you were coerced to accept the settlement.
How Much Time You Have to File
In New York, the clock starts ticking as soon as the divorce settlement is entered. Then, you only have 30 days to file an appeal. If you don’t file within this time frame, you will forfeit your right to appeal the court’s decision entirely.
Gathering Evidence for Your Appeal
For your appeal to be successful, you need to present compelling evidence that supports your grounds for appeal. The more evidence you have that shows your initial settlement was unjust, the higher the chances are that you will be granted a new hearing. This can include things like:
- Tax returns, bank statements, asset valuation, and other financial records to illustrate any inaccuracies or omissions in your spouse’s disclosure.
- Emails, letters, and text messages that indicate fraudulent behavior or coercive tactics.
- Statements from witnesses who can corroborate your claims.
- Statements from financial or legal experts who can provide professional opinions on misrepresentations or errors in the initial divorce settlement.
It’s also a good idea to get copies of your original court transcripts. These documents offer a detailed record of the settlement proceedings, including motions, judgements, court orders, and an exact transcript of what was said by everyone in the courtroom. This provides crucial evidence of any legal errors that may have been made by the judge.
What to Expect During the Appeals Process
The appeals process can be long and it’s easy to get frustrated. Knowing what to expect ahead of time can help you prepare. When you file your Notice of Appeal, your argument will be reviewed by a higher court who can issue a judgment that either affirms the lower court’s decision or requires a new hearing to take place.
The latter happens the least often and usually only in cases where serious misapplications of the law occurred. If a new hearing is set, a different judge will reevaluate the specific settlement terms and make changes accordingly.
How an Experienced Long Island, NY Divorce Lawyer Can Help
An experienced divorce lawyer is a critical asset when it comes to filing your settlement appeal. They can assess the fairness and legality of your initial settlement and identify if you have any legitimate grounds with which you can file an appeal.
Your attorney can also help you collect and organize important evidence to substantiate your claims and build a compelling case that demonstrates injustices and errors that occurred during the initial hearing. They’ll handle paperwork and phone calls on their end, so you can focus on your divorce recovery.
Contact Veteran New York Divorce Attorneys Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. Today
At Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C., we understand how difficult the divorce process is, especially when your settlement seems unfair. Our experienced Long Island, NY family lawyers are standing by now to provide you with the support you need to appeal your case. Contact us today for more information or to book your free initial consultation by dialing 631-923-1910 or fill out the short form on this page.
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