Appealing a Divorce Decree in Pennsylvania

A divorce decree is a court’s final judgment or order concerning a divorce case. This decree usually addresses issues relating to alimony, child support, child custody, and division of property. However, when divorces get to litigation sometimes, the court’s decree may leave one or both parties unhappy. In such a case, either party can decide to appeal the order.

Be aware that the appellate system holds the original judge’s decision in high regard, making the appealing process quite tricky. But while it may be rare to defer the original judgment, it’s not impossible.

If you’re considering appealing your divorce order, consider hiring a good Chester County divorce lawyer to represent your interest.

Valid Grounds for Appealing a Divorce

For an appellant to succeed in the appeal, he must show that there were issues with how the judge reached the original judgment. The most common reason a person can provide is that there was a mistake in the judge’s interpretation of the law. Otherwise, a party can’t challenge any fact that the lower court established.

For instance, if a court concludes that a spouse’s income is $30,000, this fact cannot merely be appealed. However, if one party can prove that the court calculated the income using incorrect legal standards, the decree becomes appealable.

Despite their best efforts, courts sometimes make mistakes that lead to unfair judgments. If you think your divorce decree was due to an error of the court, your appeal may be valid. Other reasonable grounds that may support an appeal case includes

  • Instances of fraud committed by the other party which affected the final decree
  • Discovery of hidden assets or concealed information not divulged by the other party during the divorce process
  • Discovery of new facts or evidence that were unavailable during the original proceeding

While these are valid reasons to appeal a divorce, the appellate court is likely to favor case appeals due to lawful errors.

Filing an Appeal

There are strict procedures and deadlines for filing an appeal. In Pennsylvania, an appellant must file a notice of appeal within 30 days of the divorce order entry. Also, this filing must be at the trial court rather than the appellate court. Although the notice itself is only a short paragraph or two, there are supporting documents that you must submit along.

These documents include a proof of service, a copy of the request for a transcript, a copy of the docket entry, and the filing fee check. Failure to follow some of these protocols might cause you to lose your appeal. Due to the enormity of the paperwork and the strict deadline, you might need a Chester County divorce lawyer’s guidance.

You’ll then need to file copies of the notice with the trial court’s clerk. Furthermore, you’ll have to serve the notice to the appropriate groups, including the trial judge, the other party, the court reporter, and district administrator. During the appeal, the court will consider all paperwork and evidence from the trial, such as documents, transcripts, and testimonies, before deciding.


If you think errors led to your final divorce decree, you can contact a Chester County divorce lawyer. Appeals are time and money consuming, with deadlines for filing specific paperwork. However, hiring an attorney can ease the process and increase your chances of getting your appeal granted.