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Can I appeal a family law judge’s ruling?

| Apr 2, 2020 | Family Law |

One of the documents that you were probably given a copy of soon after officially ending your marriage was your divorce decree. This document generally spells out all property division, custody and support payments that you and your spouse have agreed to.

This is often the final document that an Oregon judge signs off on in your case. If you read over your divorce decree, you may get the impression that there’s no hope of making any changes to it.

That’s not necessarily the case though. You may be able to either appeal or seek a post-divorce modification in your case.

Either spouse is entitled to challenge a decision rendered by an Oregon judge. This can happen whether you and your ex reached an agreement between yourselves or the court ordered it because you couldn’t reach an agreement. You can generally request a reconsideration of your case in either instance.

One option that you have available to you if you aren’t happy with your agreement is to appeal your case to your local appellate court. One downside to doing this is that appeals court judges seldom are willing to overturn decisions made by the lower family law court. They may be willing to do so if you can demonstrate that there are some enforceability issues or errors in how the divorce settlement was reached.

An alternative that you may want to consider if filing for an appeal isn’t ideal is to petition the family court judge that originally heard your case to reopen it.

The judge will generally expect you to demonstrate that there’s been some kind of change in circumstance that warrants a modification hearing. If you or your ex have received a promotion or lost your job, for example, then this may motivate a judge to reassess your support agreement.

If you wish to appeal or seek a modification in a case, you may be required to wait for a period before being allowed to file the new petition. You may be required to give your ex time to respond to your filing as well.

A family law attorney can advise you of the different timelines that you’re subject to and advise you whether it’s in your best interest to request a modification or file an appeal in your case.