What Are Appealable Errors in a Family Law Case?

The decisions rendered in family law matters can have substantial impacts that are deeply personal. They can impact you and they can impact your children. They can also have significant impacts on your financial well-being. Sometimes, the family court may render an unfavorable decision. While you may not like it, it may still be legally sound and will be binding on the parties involved. Other times, however, there may have been an appealable error that can help you remedy an unfair or unjust decision handed down by the family court.

Appealable Errors Overview

Appellate courts provide checks and balances on trial courts. Should a trial court fail to follow the letter of the law or abuse its discretion, the error may be remedied on appeal. To check to see if there is an appealable error, the appellate court reviews facts presented, as well as the judgment rendered by the trial court and determines whether an error occurred and if it has a remedy that the court of appeals can issue.

Usually, an appellate court panel will be made up of three judges tasked with reviewing the record on appeal as well as the briefs submitted by both parties. No evidentiary hearings are held. Oral arguments may be held and that is the time when the judges ask questions of the parties involved, but no testimony or evidence is otherwise presented.

Should you wish to appeal, know that time is of the essence. Per the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure, you have just 30 days from the issuance of the final order to file a notice of an appeal. Critical to a family law appeal is ensuring that prior to seeking an appeal that you file what is referred to as a Motion for Rehearing. Under the Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure, you only have 15 days from the entry of the final judgment or order to file a Motion for Rehearing. If the Court then denies your Motion for Rehearing, you can then proceed forward in filing your notice of appeal. Once you have filed a notice of appeal, you have only 70 days to submit a brief which details your case and why the family court order should be overturned.

Family courts handle complex issues and are not infallible. Errors are made and you may want to file an appeal of an unjust decision. Do not, however, simply ignore such a decision. Once issued, an order is legally enforceable and failure to comply can result in serious penalties. Whether the issue involves how marital property was divided in a divorce case or the fact that spousal support was ordered, or if the order related to a parenting plan, paternity action, or child support, you may be able to appeal the family court’s decision.

Should you be able to point to an error or other mistake that the family court made in your case, you may have grounds to file an appeal. Such grounds for an appeal may include:

  • Failure of the trial court to review important evidence
  • Failure on the party of one party to submit important evidence
  • Failure of the trial court to comply with proper court procedures
  • Evidence that a party lied to or withheld critical information from the court
  • Failure on the part of a party’s attorney to provide adequate representation
  • Failure of the trial court judge to properly apply the law or the right law 

Florida Family Law Attorneys

Do you need assistance reviewing an unfavorable decision rendered by a family court? The dedicated family law attorneys at Orlando Family Team can help evaluate your options, including the possibility of filing an appeal. Contact us today.