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Appealing a contested divorce case

Either party can appeal a decision in a contested divorce case. You cannot file an appeal if your case was uncontested.

When to file

The appeal must be filed in the Appellate Division of Superior Court within 45 days of the court’s decision.

Do I need a lawyer to file an appeal?

You do not have to have a lawyer to appeal your case. Be aware, however, that the appeals process can be confusing. It is a good idea to get a lawyer if you can.

Things to think about before representing yourself in court

While you have the right to represent yourself in court, you should not expect any special treatment, help, or attention from the court. You must still comply with the Rules of the Court, even if you are not familiar with them. The following is a list of some things the court staff can and cannot do for you. Please read it carefully before asking the court staff for help. 

  • We can explain and answer questions about how the court works.
  • We can tell you what the requirements are to have your case considered by the court.
  • We can give you some information from your case file.
  • We can provide you with samples of court forms that are available.
  • We can provide you with guidance on how to fill out forms.
  • We can usually answer questions about court deadlines.
  • We cannot give you legal advice. Only your lawyer can give you legal advice.
  • We cannot tell you whether or not you should bring your case to court.
  • We cannot give you an opinion about what will happen if you bring your case to court.
  • We cannot recommend a lawyer, but we can provide you with the telephone number of a local lawyer referral service.
  • We cannot talk to the judge for you about what will happen in your case.
  • We cannot let you talk to the judge outside of court.
  • We cannot change an order issued by a judge.

Steps to file an appeal

  1. File a Notice of Appeal.
  2. Request a transcript of your case from the Appellate Division. You must have the official transcript in order for your appeal to be considered.
  3. Complete a Case Information Statement.

Use the How to File an Appeal self-help kit.

Filing Fees

  1. $250 must be submitted with the Notice of Appeal. This is the cost of the appeal.
  2. $300 must be submitted with to the clerk of the Appellate Division within 30 days of filing the Notice of Appeal. This will be refunded if you win your appeal. If you lose your appeal, the money can be used to pay settlement or court costs.

Do you qualify for a fee waiver?

If you received a fee waiver in your divorce case, you can attach a copy of the order and a signed letter that says your finances have not changed since the case was filed.

If you did not receive a fee waiver in your divorce case, you can submit a

If you did not receive a fee waiver in your divorce case, you can submit a request for a fee waiver with your appeal.

Send copies of your appeals document to:

  1. All parties in the case who appeared in court
  2. The local Superior Court office that handled your divorce case
  3. The judge who decided your small claims case

Keep a copy of each document for yourself.

Preparing your appeal

You will need to prepare a brief, which is a document that explains why your appeal should be granted.
Questions about your appeal?
Call the  Appellate Division Clerk’s Office at  609-815-2950 .