Divorce can be a difficult process. Not only is it common for emotions to become involved in the negotiations for a divorce settlement, but the rules and laws surrounding divorce can be very complex, especially when children and financial assets are involved. For this reason, to assist you in your divorce process, you should seek the help of a specialized lawyer.
A good divorce lawyer will not only help you with the divorce settlement, they can also handle any appeals or submit requests to modify the initial judgment in the divorce.
General steps for divorce
The steps of the divorce process depend on the answers to certain questions: Do financial assets need to be divided? Can both parties agree on how to support their children after the divorce? Are the two parties willing to negotiate so that they can have a “amicable settlement” and agree to the divorce terms on their own? Are there certain important issues that the two sides do not agree on?
Even if there is a so-called “amicable settlement,” the two divorcing people may want to have lawyers on hand when they meet to make certain that the negotiations and decisions follow the law and to answer any legal questions during the process.
If the two parties do not agree on the terms for the divorce, they may need to go to court for an interim hearing. This hearing will decide who gets initial custody of children and assets and who gets to stay in the family residence. The interim hearing judgments are NOT the final divorce judgements.
After this, a provisional hearing and final divorce hearing will be held in order to determine the details of the divorce settlement. The divorce settlement is not finalized until the end of the divorce hearing. In contested divorces, one or both parties may bring witnesses or experts to testify on their behalf. You should always consider having a divorce lawyer present during these hearings.
What if you do not agree with the final divorce judgment?
Perhaps you did not have adequate legal representation during the provisional and divorce hearings. Or maybe you simply feel that the judgment was unfair or the judge failed to take certain evidence and arguments into consideration.
You can appeal the decision or ask the appeals court to modify the judgment. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you form an argument that will have a chance of success in an appeals court. The rules are very strict and the judges hearing the appeal will assume that the original judgement is correct unless you and your divorce lawyer can convince them otherwise. Also, there are specific time frames for serving the notice of appeal, giving the other side a chance to lodge their own appeals, and providing your reason and evidence for the appeal in writing. This complex process is much easier if you have a skilled divorce lawyer advocating on your behalf.
How do you win an appeal?
You will have to prove that the original judge got the facts wrong or they misinterpreted the law when they made their decisions about the divorce judgement. The standard for overturning the initial divorce judgment is usually very high. This means you must have a very good argument if you want to have any chance of success. Your lawyer should be able to tell you what your chances are of winning an appeal.
Needless to say, having an experienced divorce lawyer by your side during the negotiations, hearings and, if necessary, appeals, will give you a much better chance of getting a fair divorce settlement.