A judge’s decree does not necessarily have to be the final outcome in your divorce case. Options still exist, and depending on your case, an appeal could lead to a more favorable outcome. During this process, the appellate court will not consider whether the initial trial judge arrived at the correct conclusion, but rather, whether the judge made an error that may have resulted in a problematic case outcome.
The appeals process can be incredibly difficult, and even getting your case heard by an appellate court could be a struggle. However, it’s important to know when you can and can’t appeal a ruling — and when it’s inadvisable. The following are a few examples of the many grounds on which divorce rulings can be appealed in Maryland:
Improper Analysis of Evidence
Cases can be appealed if it can easily be proven that the trial judge erred while analyzing the evidence used in the case. This approach presents numerous challenges, however, as it is rare for family courts in Maryland to incorrectly interpret local laws.
Alimony or Child Support Inconsistent With Typical Awards
In many cases, it is not possible for divorced individuals to have judgments altered via the appeals process. However, modification may be possible if it is found that the initial amount approved for alimony was inconsistent with awards that would typically be given to a person in a similar situation. This can also apply to child support, particularly if state guidelines are not followed. For example, in a 2013 case in Montgomery County, a Maryland husband sought an appeal because the original court deviated from child support guidelines without any evidence that such a departure was necessary. However, the appellate court ultimately determined that, in this case, the trial judge did not abuse his discretion in departing from the state’s child support guidelines.
Appeals can be a perilous path — there’s a reason most divorced spouses avoid this route. However, if a trial judge has clearly shown poor judgment or not examined the evidence properly, there’s a chance that you could secure a different — and better — resolution. Your best bet is to consult an attorney with a thorough understanding of appellate procedure to determine whether an appeal is possible, or prudent.
The divorce process is notoriously confusing, whether or not you feel the need to appeal a ruling. Seek guidance from DiPietro Family Law, a trusted law firm with an excellent reputation throughout the state of Maryland.