Although the Florida Court System is meant to be fair and impartial, there are nonetheless times when a judge may not follow the law or may fail to look at evidence which would have proven your divorce case. Family court appeals must focus on legal errors made by the judge, and must be filed within 30 days of the judge’s final decision. Your family court judge may have made a procedural mistake or a mistake in an evidentiary ruling. Perhaps the judge failed to interpret Florida law correctly or the final judgment which was issued failed to comply with Florida law. Your Florida attorney from The Law Place has a thorough understanding of the appeal process and can tell you whether the issue at hand falls within the divorce appeal process.
Am I Entitled to a Divorce Appeal?
Divorce appeals are never simple, as it must be proven that the judge ignored evidence, ignored Florida law or was so profoundly unfair that a higher court would likely rule that the judge abused his or her power or discretion. As an example, a judge, being human, may find one party in the divorce difficult to like, or may have a more personal relationship with one of the attorneys in the case. Even so, a judge is bound to be impartial and is not allowed to let his or her emotions or feelings enter into a judgment in your divorce. In order to successfully appeal a divorce decision, you must have an experienced legal team on your side that has the necessary knowledge regarding Florida divorce appeals as well as the required trial strategies. The attorneys at The Law Place have the resources necessary as well as some of the best legal minds available and can determine the specific nuances of your divorce appeal.
Depending on the type of divorce judgment you are appealing, the process may vary somewhat. In order to appeal your divorce judgment you must plan on spending some money in the process. First you will want to budget for a court reporter for your appeal as well as to obtain a copy of the transcript from your divorce hearing or trial; court reporters take down every word which is said during a divorce trial, including what the judge says. This transcript will provide a detailed record as to how the judge in your divorce case decided your case. The specific details contained in your divorce transcript will contain any evidence that the judge in your case failed to properly follow the law.
You will pay legal fees as the attorneys at The Law Place will spend a significant amount of time reviewing the transcript of your divorce and performing exhaustive legal research into past court decisions. The arguments pertaining to your divorce appeal will be compiled into an appellate brief, along with supporting documentation. The brief will lay out the background of your case, presenting your beliefs as to why you feel the judge’s final determination was wrong. Your attorney will detail how the judgment should have resulted, based on your presentation of the facts. This entire package will be filed with the court—in other words, the cost may be substantial and the time constraints are strict.
If you feel your personal life and your future have been turned upside down by your divorce, you likely want some closure. Should you decide to bring an appeal, the divorce will essentially continue, emotionally and financially, therefore you should be very sure you are following the right course of action. Florida appellate courts will generally not second-guess factual conclusions reached by the trial judge, rather will only listen to arguments by each lawyer in order to determine whether your divorce judge made a legal error which affected the outcome of your divorce. If it is determined that such a legal error was made, your divorce case will be returned to the trial court. The appellate process can take from one to two years. Should the case be sent back for a new trial, it is likely the circumstances surrounding the divorce may have significantly changed. Regardless of whether your appeal is successful or not, you will still be required to pay all legal expenses associated with the appeal and spend the time necessary for the divorce appeal.
A survey of Florida appellate decisions regarding divorce decrees revealed one of the most common grounds for reversal in such cases is lack of requisite findings of fact. Having a skilled attorney by your side who can sift through the relevant statutes, rules and case law is extremely important when filing a divorce appeal in Florida. The attorneys of The Law Place have the necessary knowledge and experience and understand what a difficult time this is for you. We will work hard on your behalf to ensure your appeal has a good chance of success.