Maryland Family Law provided by Mulinazzi Law Offices

15Dec/10

Post Judgment Divorce Options

Post judgement divorce optionsYou’ve gone to Court and the Judge has issued a Divorce Decree that you think is unfair, or you are otherwise unhappy with it.  Can you appeal the Judge’s decision?  Yes, there are a number of avenues you can take that our firm can help you with.  The rules for filing an appeal are very strict, especially concerning the processing of the appropriate legal documents.   For instance, failure to submit a brief in the correct format, or a mistake in how the brief and appendix are to be prepared, could cause the clerk's office to reject the submission.  When a client is serious about winning an appeal, enlisting the services of an experienced attorney is crucial.

Our attorneys evaluate your case and determine which option from the below list is the best option to change the results in your case.

Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment:

You have ten (10) days from the date that the Clerk of the Court enters the Divorce Order into the docket to request that the same Judge alter or amend his or her judgment.  Your attorney must do this by formal Motion and your ex-spouse will have a chance to respond.  Usually Judges deny these Motions without a motions hearing, but if you are given a hearing you should know that these Motions are rarely successful.  Judges explain that they already considered this matter carefully before s/he made their decision and therefore there is no reason to change the decision.  However, this Rule states that the Court may open the Judgment to receive additional evidence, however, this up to the discretion of the Judge.  This is especially helpful if new facts or circumstances have occurred and it is clearly in the children’s best interests that the Judgment is changed immediately.

 

Motion for a New Trial :

You have ten (10) days from the date that the Clerk enters the Divorce Order to request a new trial.  This is done with our attorneys filing a formal motion on your behalf and your ex-spouse will have a chance to respond.  Usually Judges deny these Motions without a motions hearing on this issue.  Maryland Rules require that the party asking for a new trial be specific as to the issues that need to be re-litigated.

 

Motion for Revision:

You have thirty (30) days from the date that the Clerk enters the Divorce Order to file a Motion for Reconsideration.   This is done with our attorneys filing a formal motion on your behalf and your ex-spouse will have a chance to respond.  In the rare case, where there was fraud, mistake, or irregularity (ex: entered the wrong amount, incorrect fact or name, etc.), you can ask the Court to revise the Judgment/Order even after thirty days.  It is important to note that the mistake would have to be material to the terms of the Order and that the Court rarely grants a request to revise after thirty days.

En Banc Appeal to a Three Judge Panel of the Circuit Court:

You have ten (10) days from the date that the Clerk enters the Divorce Order to request en banc appeal. This is done with our attorneys filing a formal motion on your behalf and your ex-spouse will have a chance to respond.  There are a few procedural rules for this option to be considered including ordering a transcript of every hearing date pertaining to the disputed issues and to file an appellate Memorandum arguing your positions.  Our attorneys have vast experience in writing successful Memorandum at this level.   The big differences between En Banc Appeal and a traditional appeal is that the appeal is heard by three Judges of the same Court (or local Circuit in smaller jurisdictions) as opposed to Judges from the appellate courts, and the En Banc is faster and costs less.  There are disadvantages to taking an En Banc Appeal and those disadvantages should be discussed with our attorneys at length before deciding to file this type of appeal.

 

Appeal to the Court of Special Appeals in Annapolis:

You have thirty (30) days from the date that the Clerk enters the Divorce Order to file a Notice of Appeal.   This is done with our attorneys filing a formal motion on your behalf and your ex-spouse will have a chance to respond.  The Rules for this procedure are complex and detailed and it is your burden to prove that the trial Judge erred as a matter or law or that there was not substantial evidence on the record to support His or Her Honor’s findings.

Our lawyers can assist you by evaluating your chances of success if seeking or defending an appeal, provide you with a reasonable estimation of length of time and expense involved, and offer you guidance in making an informed decision on whether or not to file an appeal.

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