After a divorce, if you or your spouse are not happy with the result, you both have the right to appeal the decision. Legally, appeals determine whether or not the trial court correctly applied to law to the specific facts of the case. If a reviewing court determines the lower court made an error, they can reverse the previous decision and order the court to correct the error.
There are numerous reasons to want to appeal your divorce ruling, but feeling wronged by the judge’s decision isn’t enough. You must have legal grounds for why your divorce ruling should be overturned. These reasons include concealment of assets, a fraud committed by your spouse, newly discovered evidence, and legal mistake by the spouse.
What Types of Appeals Are Available?
What type of documents and what procedures need to be filed depends entirely on where your case currently is in the process. Currently, there are four remedies available under the broad umbrella of divorce appeals.
If your case was heard by a general magistrate judge, your attorney can file a Notice of Exception to the Report and Recommendation of a General Magistrate. Essentially, this document is an official objection to the general magistrate’s finding on your case. Time is of the essence at this stage because the objection must be filed within ten days of the report. Outside of recognized legal grounds to appeal the decision, a copy of the transcript of the last hearing before the general magistrate must be filed along with the objection. If the Notice is timely filed, then your case will automatically be scheduled for a hearing before a circuit judge.
If your case was heard by a divorce court, your attorney can file a Motion for Rehearing. Unlike the ten days allowed in magistrate court, this objection must be made immediately after an order is issued in circuit court and have a valid legal basis. Motions for Rehearing are difficult because there is no automatic right to an appeal. This path is further complicated by the fact that the request for a new hearing is ruled upon by the judge that made the initial decision in your case.
A general divorce appeal to the District Court of Appeals can be filed within thirty days of the original court order. No new evidence or facts will be heard at this point in the process; everything is based on the records at previous hearings. A divorce appeal requires a full appellate brief, which details how the trial court judgment did not comply with Florida law.
If more than thirty days have passed since the date of the original court order, your attorney can file a Motion for Relief from Judgment or Motion to Set Aside a Judgment. These motions ask that a party be freed from the requirements of the court’s order. These motions are usually based on evidence that your spouse hid assets or committed fraud on the court.
What Are My Options?
When navigating the complicated world of appeals it is important to have an experienced family law attorney on your side. If you are considering appealing your divorce decision, or you have questions on how to begin the process, contact the Tampa family and divorce lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. in Tampa Bay at 813-816-2232 for a consultation at no charge or email us.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+