Can I get parts of my divorce decree thrown out while keeping the parts I like?

Can I appeal my divorce while still accepting benefits from the parts of the judgment that work in my favor?

As with most questions asked about the law, the answer to whether you can appeal a part of your divorce while accepting benefits from the parts of the divorce you do like is, it depends.  More accurately, the answer is, probably not. This is because of a legal concept called estoppel.

What is estoppel?

Estoppel means pretty much what it sounds like it would mean, it’s basically one party’s ability to “stop” the other party from doing something that isn’t fair. This estoppel issue was recently addressed in the Court of Appeals for the Fifth District of Texas in a case called In the interest of C.S.B. and R.D.B. The court made clear in that case that a party cannot treat a judgment as both right and wrong. If you accept benefits from a judgment, in this case it was proceeds from a sale to pay off a personal debt, then you cannot appeal the judgment based on other parts except for under two narrow exceptions. In the case at hand, the person bringing the appeal did not even attempt to say that they fell under the exceptions.

What are the exceptions?

The two exceptions are (1) acceptance of the benefits were a result of financial duress or other economic circumstances or (2) the appeal sought could not possibly affect the benefit accepted. Since the party at issue in this case failed to say that either of these exceptions should have applied to her it is unclear whether they would have or not.

Contact Guest & Gray today to schedule your divorce consult. We can discuss any issues you may have, how this case might affect your case, and what your options are. We look forward to meeting with you.