Appealing the Decision in a Contested Divorce


If your contested divorce in Pasadena goes to trial and you are unhappy with the result, it is possible to appeal the judge's decision. However, this is not a plan that should be undertaken lightly.

The purpose of an appeal is to see if the judge made a legal mistake, not to question the factual conclusions that were made. So, for example, you wouldn't be advised to ask for an appeal if you simply disagreed with the judge's conclusion that your ex should be awarded primary custody of your children. For a valid appeal, you'd need a legitimate legal concern such as the judge allowing improper testimony regarding your parenting skills or making a legal error by refusing to allow you to provide witnesses that supported your claim that you were a better parent than your ex.

If the appellate court determines that the judge made a mistake that affected the outcome of the trial, the case will either be sent back to the judge with orders to correct the mistake or an entirely new trial will be ordered. The entire process can take one to two years.

Sometimes, the threat of an appeal will be used as a negotiating tactic in a highly contested divorce. If your spouse is threatening an appeal, you will need to speak with your lawyer to determine if the threat is legitimate or simply a way to try to coerce you into a settlement.

If an appeal relates to an issue such as the disbursement of pension funds, the funds will be unavailable while the appeal is pending. Therefore, if you are threatened with an appeal over funds you've won, giving up a portion of your winnings might be preferable to having the funds tied up during the appeals process. There is also the cost of fighting an appeal to consider, since there's no guarantee you'd be able to get your ex to pay your legal costs if he or she were to lose the appeal.

How Can We Help?

If have questions about the process of appealing your divorce settlement, please please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at Our experienced attorneys can help you evaluate your options to see if divorce laws in Pasadena indicate that an appeal is in your best interests.