Interlocutory Appeals -- Equitable Distribution
The Court of Appeals has again ruled on February 19, 2019, that an interlocutory appeal must be dismissed. In Bezzek v. Beezzek, the plaintiff filed an action for equitable distribution. The defendant asserted as a defense that be equitable distribution action was barred by the terms of a separation agreement. The plaintiff argued that the separation agreement was void because it was the result of fraud by the wife, consisting of a failure to disclose assets, as well as duress and undue influence and unconscionability. The trial court ruled that the separation agreement was rescinded and was of no legal effect. The defendant attempted to appeal to the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
The Court of Appeals ruled that even though some family law orders are immediately reviewable under N.C. Gen. Stat. 50-19.1, this was not such a case. The court also noted that the lower court did not certify the order for review under rule 54, and that the court would in its discretion not regard the defendant’ss brief as a petition for writ of certiorari.
This is yet another case in which the Court of Appeals rules and clarifies that an appeal made prior to a final judgment is interlocutory and is therefore premature. There is a fairly broad exception to this rule in the context of rulings from a domestic case, but not all rulings from a domestic case are immediately appealable.
I have advised clients on the appeal ability decisions from trial courts in North Carolina. If you are considering whether to appeal and order, you may contact me to discuss the matter.