Maitland Appeals of Final Judgment Attorney
In most cases, a divorce judgment is a final document when can only be legally modified in certain situations. But in other cases, a divorce judgment may be subject to immediate appeal. If the trial was not fair or the judge did not follow the law or enter orders that the facts support, the order may be legally invalid. A higher court may overturn it and order a new trial.
Appeals are difficult, but not impossible, to win. Fortunately, the Maitland final judgment appeals attorney at The Troum Law Firm has the expertise to mount successful divorce and other family law appeals. Both substantively and procedurally, divorce appeals are very different from divorce trials. But because we want to build lasting relationships with our clients, we always go the extra mile for you.
Grounds for Divorce Appeals in Florida
A higher court may overturn a lower court’s directive in a divorce, family law, or any other civil matter if:
- The preponderance of the evidence does not support the judgment,
- A trial judge abused his/her discretion, or
- The order was improper.
Furthermore, the appellant (party making the appeal) must also prove that, if the erroneous decision had been reversed, the trial’s ultimate outcome would have been different. Otherwise, an appeals court may rule that the mistake was a harmless error.
All three grounds of these grounds for divorce appeal are quite narrow. Abuse of discretion is a good example. Generally, family law judges have a great deal of discretion in child custody, property division, and other divorce matters. It is not enough for a Maitland, FL family law attorney to show that the judge probably made the wrong decision. That decision must be clearly erroneous and outside all bounds of acceptable judicial behavior.
As for the other two grounds, a preponderance of the evidence means “more likely than not.” So, once again, the judge’s decision must be more than questionable. Appeals on this basis generally only succeed if there was no evidence whatsoever to support a certain decision.
As for illegal orders, witnesses and parties often act illegally to obtain evidence. In TV and movies, it is acceptable for people to break into desk drawers and find a “smoking gun” on a child custody or property division issue. But in the real world, such behavior is usually illegal, and if that is the case, the evidence, no matter how compelling it is, is inadmissible.
What to Expect in a Florida Divorce Appeal
Generally, parties have thirty days to file a written notice of appeal. The notice must sketch out the grounds for appeal. So, time is critical. Unless a Maitland, FL divorce attorney gets to work quickly, the final product may not meet the deadline.
Next, the appellant must file a brief, which is usually between thirty and fifty pages. Most appeals judges have very detailed formatting and content rules. These rules even govern things like typeface size and footnote formatting. If there is any error, the court may not accept the brief. So, diligence and attention to detail are important at this stage.
The appeals court may or may not request oral argument. In appeals arguments, an attorney only has a few minutes to state the party’s case for overturning or not overturning the trial court’s decision. Therefore, precise advocacy is required.
Generally, if the appeals court overturns the trial court’s order, the appeals judges send the matter back to the trial court with instructions for rehearing.
Partner with a Savvy Lawyer
Final divorce orders must meet all applicable legal requirements. For a consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Maitland, contact The Troum Law Firm, P.A.