Appealing or Modifying a Divorce: Which is Right for You?

Fri 3rd June, 2022 Family Law

After a divorce is finalized in California, one spouse may not agree with the final terms included in the settlement. While many people believe that they are out of options once the settlement is finalized, this is not the case. At the Law Office of Bradley S. Sandler in Beverly Hills, our experienced divorce lawyers have helped clients determine whether to appeal or modify the original divorce agreement in order to secure terms that better align with their situation. To learn more about which option is best for you, call or contact our office today to schedule a consultation.

Which is the Better Option?

Determining whether to appeal or modify a divorce settlement is first based on timing. An appeal must usually happen within 30 days after the final judgment of the court on the divorce settlement. However, a modification can take place any time after the finalization of the divorce, but it typically occurs months or even years after the original terms are settled. Second, the reason for the change often determines which option is best. An appeal is made when a spouse believes that a mistake in substantive law or procedure during the divorce proceedings fundamentally altered the outcome of the case. A modification is made when there has been a substantial change in circumstances for a former spouse or child. In order to be considered a substantial change in circumstances, the current situation must be permanent, material, unanticipated at the time of the original finalization, and significant enough to warrant the change.

How Does an Appeal Work?

If a spouse decides to appeal the terms of the divorce, their attorney files a notice with the court of their intent to appeal within 30 days of the final judgment. Written briefs are drafted by each side and exchanged, with each side getting the chance to respond before submitting the briefs to the appellate court. Oral arguments provide each side an opportunity to answer questions and argue their case. Once complete, a panel of appellate judges will determine whether to accept the initial ruling of the trial court, reverse the decision, or remand the case back for further proceedings.

How Does a Modification Work?

A modification can occur in two different ways and typically affect the more significant aspects of a divorce settlement like alimony or child custody. First, a modification can be done through a simple written agreement if both former spouses agree to the changes. An attorney can draft the modification and submit it to the court with spousal signatures. However, if one former spouse does not agree then the spouse wishing to modify the terms must petition the court. A full hearing is done to determine whether the situation qualifies as a substantial change in circumstances and how this change should alter the terms of the divorce.

Call or Contact Us Now

If you are interested in appealing or modifying your divorce in the Los Angeles area, call or contact the Law Office of Bradley S. Sandler today to schedule a consultation.