If you have recently received a divorce decree and are unhappy with the outcome, you may wonder if there is anything you can do to appeal the decision. The good news is that in Washington State, you do have the right to appeal a divorce decree if you believe that the court, the mediator, or your spouse made a mistake. However, the time to do this is limited.
The essence of a divorce decree in Washington
When a divorce is finalized in Washington, the court will issue a divorce decree. This document legally ends your marriage and spells out all of the terms of your divorce, including child custody, support, and property division. The rulings made on these agreements must be followed to a tee, and any violation could lead to penalties.
Appealing your divorce judgment
If you decide to appeal your divorce decree, it is important to understand that you are not asking the court to reconsider the entire case. Instead, you are asking the court to look at a specific issue you believe was decided unfairly or incorrectly. For your appeal to be successful, you will need to show that there was some sort of error made during the original proceedings.
The appeals process starts with filing a petition within 30 days of the date the final divorce decree was entered. This can be done by mailing a copy of the notice to your spouse and their attorney, if they had one, as well as filing it with the clerk of the court where your divorce case was originally heard.
You will also need to submit supporting documents called “points on appeal” or “assignments of error.” These documents will detail why you believe the judge made a mistake in their ruling and how that mistake impacted the outcome of your divorce. A hearing will then be scheduled where both you and your spouse will have the opportunity to present your case to a panel of judges.
Divorce is one of the toughest experiences one can ever go through; therefore, it’s possible to miss a step or two during the process. However, the main challenge to correcting such mistakes is the time limitation. You have only a month to collect evidence to support your claim and file the necessary documents to begin the process.