Probably. Divorce is unique in civil suits because the parties likely will continue to know each other (particularly) if they have children and interact into the future. With a divorce if you lose custody, child support is wrong, or the property is not properly divided or completely divided, you need to appeal to protect your future rights. This blog explores why you should consider an appeal in divorce and paternity cases.
Where children are involved (divorce or paternity), if child custody is at issue, the parent who does not prevail should consider an appeal if there are viable issues. Just waiting and moving to modify in the future is problematic because there is a higher burden of proof. In an original custody determination, there is no preference for either parent. If your custody position could be reversed on appeal, you avoid having a much more difficult time in future modification actions when you must show a substantial change to obtain a modification. Thus, this is the reason to consider an appeal.
There is a similar concept in child support. If the trial court’s child support determination is in error, failing to appeal the determination cannot be corrected in the future. In fact, in the future, there is normally a requirement to show a twenty percent difference in the amount of support to be paid for modification. This is for divorce and paternity cases. This may not ever occur and thus you would be stuck with the duty to legally pay more support than the Child Support Rules and Guidelines require. This too is a strong reason to appeal.
With property division, it can never be modified or changed if in error. For this reason, if you believe the property was not equitably divided an appeal is required or the division stands and effectively cannot be challenged in the future. Equally, if the court does not include and divide assets, then it must be challenged on appeal as the trial court loses jurisdiction to divide property thirty days after the divorce is final and there is no remedy. Many prior divorcees have undivided or accounted for property (not in the divorce decree) for many reasons. Without an agreement by the parties after the divorce is over, there is no legal remedy to correct the situation.
For these reasons, custody and support determinations in divorce and paternity cases and property divisions in divorce cases must be appealed if there is legal analysis to support reversal. Without a timely appeal, you are “stuck” with the decision. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. advocates handle criminal and civil appeals from all final orders of Indiana trial courts. We hope this blog provides you with working background information on the unique considerations for appeal in custody, support and property divisions. This blog is written by Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. advocates. This is an advertisement.