A review of acquiescence in divorce appeals

Here’s a look at the acquiescence defense in divorce appeals.

Say you’ve done everything right on your appeal from a divorce order that didn’t go your way.

  • You filed the notice of appeal on time and in the right court.
  • You ordered the transcript.
  • You filed the index.
  • You wrote the brief, kept it within the word limit, formatted it correctly, cited the right standard of review, used the right font, had it printed with a cover page in the right color, and filed it by the deadline.

Then your spouse deposits $100,000 in your bank account, which is the amount of the monetary award. You need the money so you keep it. You may have just waived your right to appeal.

Exceptions to Acquiescence Defense in Divorce Appeals

There are exceptions.  In Dietz vs Dietz, 241 Md. 683 (1998), Mrs. Dietz accepted and deposited a check for a portion of the martial award after she filed an appeal. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals held that was not inconsistent because she was seeking an increase in the marital award on appeal and the husband had not appealed. So the only issue on appeal was an increase in the martial award.

The Court of Special Appeals held otherwise in Chimes v. Michaels, 131 Md. App. 271 (2000), cert denied, 359 Md. 334 (2000). There the appellant accepted the entire monetary award and filed a statement of satisfaction with the court.

Another exception to the acquiescence defense in divorce appeals is waiver. In a recent case we argued, the husband waived the right to raise acquiescence on appeal, then filed a motion to dismiss the wife’s appeal based on acquiescence. We presented the waiver as  Exhibit Number 1 and the husband’s motion was denied. Abdullahi vs Zanini, Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, No. 2390, September Term 2017.