Is Trial The End of The Road? What About Appeals?
To begin this blog a definition of “legal appeal” is necessary. Online Legalzoom states the following: “An appeal is a request made to a higher court to review a decision made by a lower court. It is not a rehearing of the case you presented”
No, a trial is not the mandatory end of the road in a Family Law case decision in Florida. However, as judges usually have wide latitude in making decisions, especially in dissolution of marriage, it is not likely an appellate court will reverse the judge’s decision unless there has been judicial error or the misuse of judicial discretion. Just because a person is unhappy with a final outcome is not considered a reason for an appeal. Yet, an appeal can be made which would consider mistakes or misapplications of the law. There are four usual types of appeals in Florida Family Law cases concerning minor child custody, child support, and dissolution of marriage and all appeals must be made within 30 days of the final judgement. These four types are as follows:
1. The judge did not use appropriate discretion in making the final decision.
2. There were not adequate findings of fact
3. No plenary hearing was held to settle or resolve disputed custodial, support, or marital issues.
4. Established laws regarding the case were not followed correctly.
However, even when there appears to be a valid reason to appeal, there are still some difficult hurdles to cross. One of the biggest is the cost. It is extremely expensive to file an appeal, something many people can’t handle. Further, unless there is an issue such as the safety of a child at stake, it can take up to a year or more to have the appeal heard and ruled on. In the meantime, again unless there is an extreme reason such as the safety of a child, the original ruling must be adhered to until the appellate court hears the case. The appellate court will rule to maintain, or overrule the verdict of the original order or in some cases order a new hearing.
The process of filing an appeal is complicated and should really only be attempted by a competent, experienced, Family Law attorney. Attorney Grant Gisondo has practiced Family Law for over 10 years in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Hillsborough, and Orange counties and in Washington DC. He will be able to help with you Family Law needs, including appeals. His offer of a free, initial, in-office consultation where he will meet with you personally is most helpful to getting answers to legal questions and concerns. You can call his office located in Palm Beach Gardens at (561) 530-4568 to make an appointment. His office hours are Monday through Friday, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and for new clients, Saturday from 8:30 am to 1 pm.