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When to Appeal a Divorce or Family Law Ruling

Posted on in Divorce

When to Appeal a Divorce or Family Law RulingAn unfavorable ruling in a divorce or family law court is not always the end of your case. You have the right to appeal a circuit court ruling in hopes of overturning it. You have 30 days to file a notice of appeal, in which you will explain why you believe the court’s decision should be reversed or remanded. An appellate court may reverse a lower court’s decision if:

  • The decision went against the manifest weight of evidence;
  • The court misinterpreted or misapplied the law; or
  • The trial was conducted in an unfair manner.

Appeals of divorce or family law cases are less common than with criminal cases, in which the appellant may be trying to avoid prison time. Appellate courts tend to trust the judgment of lower courts unless there is an egregious error. However, an appeal may be worth your time if you believe you have a strong argument.

Parental Responsibilities

Illinois law instructs courts to divide parenting time based on what is in the best interest of the children. If you file an appeal to obtain more parenting time, you will need to explain why the original ruling is not best for your children. You may argue that the lower court did not give proper weight to factors that show that your children would benefit by spending more time with you, such as:

  • Your level of participation in raising the children;
  • The resources you are able to provide the children;
  • Your availability as a parent; or
  • Your children’s wishes.

Support Payments

Divorced spouses often dispute how much child support and spousal maintenance should be paid. They may argue about:

  • The actual value of their incomes and assets;
  • Whether a change in circumstances requires a modification to the agreement;
  • Whether one of the parties is violating the agreement; or
  • When the support payments can be terminated.

The appellate court judges may have a different understanding of the law than the circuit court judge about what counts as income towards support payments and whether a party’s actions constituted a violation of the agreement.

Contact a St. Charles Divorce Lawyer

While you may be eager to appeal a divorce court ruling, you need a legal argument for why a specific portion of your divorce agreement should be reversed. You should not file an appeal in hopes that the appellate court will give you a more favorable agreement. Even if the appellate court judges have a different philosophy on divorce agreements, they will not reverse a circuit court judge’s ruling unless it clearly contradicts state law or the facts of the case. A Kane County divorce attorney at Goostree Law Group can advise you on whether your appeal would be likely to succeed. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-584-4800.


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