You’ve just gotten an order in your family case and you think it really stinks. You do have options! Here are the three we most often recommend. Keep in mind that 1 and 2 need to be done very quickly after you get the court order!
1. You can file a motion for reconsideration.
Motions for reconsideration are where you ask the original Judge who heard your matter to rethink his or her decision. They have to be filed within twenty (20) days of receipt of the order you want to be reconsidered (usually this is the day of the hearing.) Because family law judges have a great deal of leeway in how they rule in each case, motions for reconsideration do not work often but we do sometimes recommend them.
2. You can file an appeal to the appellate division.
You can also request that your order be reviewed by the Appellate Division. You can do this even if you tried a motion for reconsideration that failed (they are not “mutually exclusive” but you can’t try them at the same time.) How long you have to file an appeal changes depending on whether your order is considered “final” or not. If your order is considered “final” then you have forty-five (45) days, and if your order is not you have twenty (20) days. A successful appeal can have a major impact on your case, but appeals are procedurally very complicated. This is especially true in a family law case, where it can be hard to tell if your order is considered final!
3. You can wait to see if your situation changes and try to file your motion again in the future.
Many family court orders in New Jersey can be reviewed if there is a “change of circumstances”. Keep in mind that not all kinds of family court orders can be reviewed like this. That said, waiting for something to change and then filing a new request for a modification can work and we sometimes recommend it, especially when the reason your request was denied was because filed with the court a little too early.
Family Law is our specialty, and that includes appealing Family Law Division rulings that seem unfair. Call Law Offices of Lynda Hinkle at 856-227-7888 for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.