Portrait of John K Grubb

Texas Divorce and Prenuptial Agreement

5005 Riverway Drive, Suite 450 • Houston, Texas 77056

Phone: 713-877-8800 • Fax: 713-877-1229

Can I Appeal When My Divorce Becomes Final?

You can appeal your final divorce decree, but an appeal is not as simple as saying that you do not approve of the outcome. In order to prevail, you have to show errors during the original process – perhaps the judge incorrectly applied some aspect of family law or there was fraud or another impropriety of some sort on the part of your ex-spouse. These may be reasons to throw out the original decree and order a retrial.

The appeal process is an entirely new ball game, so to speak. Indeed many attorneys work exclusively doing appeals because of the different laws, rules and procedures that govern the 14 appellate courts in Texas and its Supreme Court. If you have a reason to appeal your original divorce decree, act quickly, as you typically need to file your appeal within 30 days of the trial judge’s signing your original decree.

Winning an appeal is difficult. You have to show errors at the lower level, and even when you can show an error, appellate judges can overlook the error if it was harmless. Their preference is to defer to the judgment of the trial judge, who had the chance to hear all of the evidence.

All of this points to an important lesson for couples undergoing a divorce – do not expect to be able to change things after your divorce is final. If you want to change something, work with your attorney to fight for it when you are negotiating your divorce settlement. Once your divorce becomes final, it is likely too late.

Have you had to make changes to your divorce decree or child custody arrangement after it became final? What was your experience?

John K. Grubb & Associates, P.C. – Houston divorce attorneys

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