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Family Law Appeals

Legal Representation in Domestic Disputes in South Florida

Many people contending with family law disputes cannot come to a resolution and turn to the courts to resolve issues such as property division, child custody, and spousal and child support. While family court judges typically have extensive training, they do not always issue rulings that are in accordance with the facts and the law. Thankfully, parties who are affected by unjust rulings often have a right to appeal. If a judge issued an unfavorable order in your case, Miami family law appellate lawyer Sandy T. Fox can advise you on whether you may be able to file an appeal and help you fight to protect your interests. Mr. Fox is a Florida Bar Board Certified specialist in Marital & Family Law.

Grounds for Filing an Appeal

In Florida, family law orders issued by judges, like rulings in other civil matters, are often appealable. In many instances, final orders in divorce, child custody, paternity, spousal support, or child support cases can be appealed. Non-final orders issued in family law cases can be appealed only if they deal with a right to immediate financial relief, a ruling that a marital agreement is completely invalid, or the obligations or rights of a person regarding time sharing or child custody under a parenting plan. It is important to note, though, that a person generally cannot appeal a ruling simply because it adversely affects the person’s rights. Instead, there must be grounds for filing an appeal.

The precise grounds will vary depending on the facts of the case, but generally an appeal will arise due to one of three reasons. First, judges are required to adhere to the laws established by the Florida statutes and prior rulings, and if they fail to do so and ignore existing standards or established precedents, this may be a basis for an appeal. A family law appellate attorney in Miami can explore whether you can bring an appeal on this basis.

Similarly, a judge is required to consider the facts presented by the parties and analyze them in accordance with the prevailing law. If the judge ignores evidence, this might form the basis of an appeal as well. Finally, while judges may have a certain degree of discretion in deciding how to rule in a matter, they cannot abuse their discretionary powers. An example of an abuse of discretion might be granting one parent sole custody when the evidence indicates that it would be in the best interest of the child involved for both parents to maintain parental rights.

The Appellate Process

The process and deadlines for appealing a family law ruling depend on the nature of the order. For example, a notice of appeal of a final or non-final order must be filed within 30 days of the date when the order was issued. After the appeal is filed, the party appealing the order and their Miami family law appellate attorney must file a brief setting forth the legal basis as to why the underlying order should be overturned. For matters involving non-final orders, the appealing party must file a brief within 15 days, but in cases in which parties are appealing final orders, the appealing party has 70 days to file a brief. The opposing party will then typically file a brief asking the court to uphold the order. Notably, the appealing party usually cannot ask the appellate court to consider new evidence or hold a new trial on the underlying issue. Instead, the appeal is limited to determining whether an error was committed at the trial court level.

Speak to an Experienced Family Law Attorney

Family law rulings can drastically affect a person’s rights and finances, and it is critical for anyone affected by an adverse ruling to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. If a judge issued a ruling against you in a family law matter, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Sandy T. Fox, P.A. can advise you on whether an appeal is appropriate and, if so, craft compelling arguments to help you show that the court should overturn the prior order. Our family law appellate lawyers represent people in Miami and elsewhere in South Florida. You can contact us at 800.596.0579 or via our form online to schedule a free and confidential consultation.