by Michael F. Callahan
Sometimes, a person appealing a divorce wants more than a review of the trial judge’s ruling. He or she wants the trial court’s judgment stayed while the case is being appealed.
The appellant who wants a stay in Maryland, Virginia or DC must request the stay and file a bond to ensure that if the trial court’s judgment is affirmed, there are funds to pay whatever is required.
The law in DC had been that an appeal automatically stayed the final judgment of divorce. In 2002, however, the court adopted Rule 8 which provides that you must now file a motion for a stay pending appeal in the Superior Court (the trial court) within thirty days of entry of judgment. That court then decides whether to grant a stay and on what terms. The Superior Court’s decision on the stay is also appealable.
Many interesting and potentially disastrous consequences flow from a stay of the judgment of divorce which I will discuss in my next post.