Understanding Appeals In Florida Family Law Cases
Trial courts aren’t always the end of the road for family law cases. Appeals provide additional opportunities for parties to challenge the court’s decision.
Appellate review refers to the role of the Florida District Court of Appeal in determining whether the trial court made an error or misinterpreted the law. Appeals are very different from trials. They involve different procedures and specific legal standards. If you’re considering an appeal or are already involved in a family law appeal, it’s important to have a lawyer on your side who is well-versed in Florida appellate law.
Work With An Experienced Appeals Lawyer
I’m Troy W. Klein, an appellate attorney and Florida board-certified specialist in marital and family law. I focus a significant portion of my practice on family law appeals.
At my firm in West Palm Beach, the Law Office of Troy W. Klein, P.A., you will find comprehensive representation on all aspects of family law, including appeals. I have more than two decades of experience helping individuals navigate difficult family situations and work toward positive outcomes.
How Appeals Work
Unlike trial court proceedings – where the focus is on presenting thorough evidence to make a strong case from the ground up – appeals are more limited. You can’t re-try the case. You must narrow down the grounds for appeal and present compelling legal arguments as to why the trial court was wrong. There are many nuances to the limited circumstances under which appellate courts can reverse a lower court’s decision.
Additionally, unlike trials, appeals are conducted largely through writing. Your lawyer must be able to prepare persuasive, well-researched briefs. I excel at this core aspect of appeals, and it’s something I’m passionate about, which gives my clients an advantage.
Answers To Common Family Law Appeals Questions
Appellate law is a complicated area – as is family law – and family law appeals are a niche area that not many lawyers handle. I am well-versed in the nuances of family law appeals. When you talk to me, you will benefit from the insight I have gained in nearly 25 years of experience handling these cases.
Below you’ll find answers to common appeals questions in family law cases. These answers are general in nature and are not meant to substitute for individualized legal advice.
Can you appeal a child support decision in Florida?
Yes. However, you must have grounds for appeal – that is, a strong claim that the judge mistakenly interpreted the law or abused their discretion in making an unwarranted decision. Additionally, you must file an appeal within a strict timeline, or you will lose your right to do so.
How do you appeal a family court judgment?
The first step is filing a notice of appeal with the appropriate District Court of Appeal. The next step is preparing and filing written arguments in a legal brief. The other side will file their brief, and you will then have an opportunity to reply through an additional brief. There are many additional procedural nuances.
Because most appeals are decided on the basis of these written briefs, it’s critical to enlist an appellate attorney with the research and writing skills necessary to make a strong case. This is an area in which I excel.
What grounds do you need for a family court appeal?
A successful appeal must be based on strong grounds for overturning the trial court’s decision. Examples of these grounds include:
- The family court misinterpreted or misapplied the law or procedural rules.
- The family court didn’t take into account certain evidence.
- The family court made a decision that wasn’t based on the facts and evidence.
- Your attorney at the trial level didn’t adequately represent you.
If you’re not sure whether you have grounds for an appeal, contact me about your case. I can review the court records and provide a solid recommendation on whether it’s worth pursuing an appeal.
Do you need a lawyer to appeal a family law case?
You aren’t required to have a lawyer in order to pursue an appeal. However, handling an appeal “pro se” (that is, without legal representation) comes with many risks. Appeals are much different from family law cases at the trial level. They have different rules and procedures, and they require a different strategy. Even many seasoned family law attorneys don’t handle appeals for that reason.
It’s well worth enlisting an appellate lawyer to identify the strongest grounds for appeal, prepare effective briefs and advocate your position in oral arguments, if necessary.
Is there a time limit to appeal a family law case?
Yes. Florida law sets a strict deadline for appealing a trial court decision. Typically, you will have 30 days from the date of the decision to file an appeal. There are also deadlines for each step in the appeal process, including filing briefs. Missing any of these statutes of limitations can sink your case, so it’s very important to act quickly if you’re considering an appeal.
Let’s Talk About Your Family Law Appeal
If you’re wondering whether you have grounds for an appeal, or have other questions about family law appeals, turn to me for guidance. I can address your situation even if you were represented by a different lawyer in the trial court.