A Family Law Judge will make rulings on all issues in your case that will have a substantial impact on you and your family well into the future, from ruling on the valuation of complex marital assets to deciding on a parent time-sharing schedule for your children. Upon conclusion of a trial, the Court will issue a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage in your case. Family Law Judges are bound by statutory and case law to apply the law correctly and they must also have evidence to support his/her ruling. Unfortunately, the decisions of the trial court are not always correct and an appeal of the trial court’s ruling must be taken.
A Final Judgment may be challenged under several avenues: (1) the trial judge made a mistake and/or misapplied the law; (2) there are insufficient findings to support the conclusion of the trial judge; or (3) based on the evidence and testimony presented, the trial judge erred in its ruling because the evidence and testimony presented at trial did not support his/her ruling. In order to challenge a Final Judgment, a Notice of Appeal must be filed within 30 days of issuance of the Final Judgment. If the Notice of Appeal is not filed within 30 days of the issuance of the last order, your right to appeal a Final Judgment is lost. In addition to the Notice of Appeal 30-day time limit, the five District Courts within Florida have differing views whether it is necessary to file a Motion for Rehearing prior to filing a Notice of Appeal. A Motion for Rehearing must be filed within 15 days of issuance of the trial court’s Final Judgment. A Motion for Rehearing allows the trial court to review its decision and correct any errors before the appellate process begins.
In most circumstances, only Final Orders (rulings) of the trial court can be appealed. However, in limited circumstances, a Non-Final Order, meaning a ruling issued during the pendency of your case, may be appealed. These Non-Final Orders are generally limited to (1) the rights or obligations of a party for child custody or parent time-sharing under a parenting plan; (2) the right to immediate monetary relief, such as orders for temporary support and awards for fees; and (3) the determination that a marital agreement is invalid in its entirety. As with a Final Judgment, an appeal of a Non-Final Order is time-sensitive and a Notice of Appeal must be filed within 30 days of issuance of the Non-Final Order or your ability to challenge the Non-Final Order may be lost.
The attorneys at Long & Associates have successfully appealed Final Judgments and Non-Final Orders, having decisions reversed and/or remanded back to the trial court to correct the error. Just as important, we have successfully defended appeals, with the District Court upholding the ruling of the trial court. Appeals are highly time-sensitive issues and require immediate action. We look forward to guiding you through the appellate process in order to achieve your goal, whether that is initiating or defending an appeal.