What Is the Appeal Process?

A gavel in front of law books

After the conclusion of your divorce case, you may feel unsettled or unhappy with the final determination by the court. Some individuals proceed to appeal their case to the Court of Appeals for their District. If you feel as though there was an error in legal determination or bias in your case, discuss this with your Florida Divorce Attorney to discuss the process of an appeal and steps to follow.

Prior to filing an appeal, it is important to ensure you fulfill the legal grounds to appeal your case. Such grounds to appeal a Dissolution of Marriage case include: newly discovered facts, concealment or fraud, and bias or legal mistake by the judge. Therefore, you may not simply appeal your case because you are unhappy. You must provide the court with an area of law to consider in order to review and reverse a judgment. These grounds can be discussed with your Florida Divorce Attorney and they will be able to provide you with a better understanding of the issues in your specific case, and if your case meets one of these necessary standards.

A second step you may take, prior to filing an official appeal is to file a Motion for Rehearing with the court. 1.530 This motion has a 10 day time limit and may only be filed after a final judgment has been entered. This motion is filed with the court who presided over your initial case and provides them for the grounds for such a rehearing. These grounds are similar to those that you would document in an appeal. However, it is not uncommon for most of these motions to fail, as they are placed before the same judge that made the initial determinations. One important detail regarding these motions, is that with the filing of a Motion for Rehearing, a toll is placed on the timeline for filing a Notice of Appeal. Therefore, it is important to have an accurate and detailed schedule, discussed with your attorney regarding the time constraints for each motion.

If you wish to continue with an appeal and have established you have proper grounds to proceed, then you will file a Notice of Appeal with the District Court of Appeals for your district. This court is a step higher than the court your initial proceeding took place in. This appeal must be filed within 30 days of the entry of the final judgment, or within 30 days of the denial of a rehearing. The appeal is strictly bound to the evidence and proceedings that occurred during your initial divorce trial. Therefore, no new evidence or testimony will be allowed. The court will look to the court transcripts, evidence presented, as well as the legal briefs compiled by each attorney. These briefs are the bulk of the appellate process. This brief will detail the specific laws in question, factual basis, and supporting case law that explains to the court the error that occurred in your proceedings. The Appellant’s initial brief is due to the court within 70 days of filing the Notice of Appeal. The answer brief shall be served within 30 days of the initial brief and a reply brief by the appellant shall be served within 30 days. The court will take each of these elements into account and determine if a reverse in judgment or remand is appropriate.

If you have questions regarding your final divorce decree and your options for an appeal, discuss your concerns with a Florida Divorce Attorney. We will be able to assess your case and ensure you are falling within the regulated timelines.

Speaking to an attorney at our Florida office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 850-307-5221 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.

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