Appealing divorce settlements


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As divorce lawyers we are often asked whether it is possible to appeal against a decision made by a judge as to what the financial settlement between a husband and wife should be. Many people simply cannot afford to appeal an unwanted decision.

Most of our case law from the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court comes from very big money cases, where assets are several millions or even billions of pounds and the costs associated with appealing  are a drop in the ocean.

Appellants in the lower courts with fewer assets are often representing themselves and can sometimes fail to appreciate the grounds upon which an appeal is decided.

To successfully pursue an appeal it is necessary to show that a judge failed to take into account the proper criteria in assessing the settlement and that the decision was so plainly wrong that another judge on another day would not have made such a decision. This is a relatively difficult hurdle to jump.

Added to the burden of long delays in getting appeals before the court and the stress and emotion associated many people who are disgruntled with the outcome of their case simply do not appeal.

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Nicola Furmston is a solicitor specialising in the family field at Barker GoteleeSolicitors in Ipswich.