There are situations when residents of Chicago, Illinois might feel they need a change in their divorce decree once it has been issued by the court. In those situations, they can appeal to seek a change. However, they should be aware that in most cases, going through the appeal process often results in the appellate court upholding the ruling of the original court.
The appeal process
The only way you can begin an appeal process of a divorce decree issued by a court is if there was a significant error of fact or law during the trial or if you believe there was abuse involved in the judge’s discretion. If you decide you want to appeal, you will have to follow specific steps to do so. In order, these include:
- Filing and serving the other party with a notice of appeal
- Preparing the Record on Appeal that includes the trial’s transcript by the court reporter and the clerk’s record, with copies of all documents, files, exhibits and any other paperwork
- Writing and submitting the Appellate Brief, which is the written argument by each party and includes references to documents, statutes and legislation
- Delivering, if granted or requested by the court, an oral argument that usually lasts 15 to 30 minutes
- Waiting for the appellate court’s decision
- If the appeal is granted, returning to the original court for a modification or a new trial
Modification: an alternative, less expensive option
Since divorce appeals can be quite challenging to prove, another option is a modification of the decree. This can be requested when circumstances have significantly changed. It might involve a court appearance, but if both spouses agree with the modification, it might be granted without appearing in court.
As with all family law matters, you need to be clear about the state’s requirements and deadlines for the proceedings. Be organized and thorough with your preparations to avoid delays.