Appealing A Property Distribution Order
Florida is an equitable distribution state for divorce, which means that property must be split equitably, but not necessarily equally between spouses. This provides substantial leeway for a judge to determine who should get what if the couple cannot agree to property division terms on their own, but sometimes the court errs in their judgment on this issue. If you believe that the judge made a mistake when distributing the property of your divorce, the law office of Blair H. Chan, III in Tampa Bay can help. Call the office or contact us today to learn more about appealing your case.
What is an Appeal?
An appeal is a request that a higher court look at the ruling of a lower court to determine if an error was made in their ruling. For matters of property distribution in a divorce, this means asking the appeals court to review the ruling of the trial court. Appeals happen immediately after a judgement is rendered and must be based on an issue of procedural or substantive law. This means that a spouse cannot appeal simply because they disagree with the outcome, but they must be able to point to a legal error that substantially altered the outcome of the case. Examples of issues that merit an appeal of a property distribution ruling include the following:
- Allowing/disallowing witness testimony or evidence
- Misapplication of state law
- Ruling for or against certain pretrial motions
- Ineffective assistance of counsel, and more.
How Does an Appeal of Property Distribution Work?
An appeal starts with filing a Notice to Appeal with the courts, which must happen within thirty days of the final judgement on the property distribution in a divorce. The appellate attorney then drafts a written brief that outlines the issues and arguments for their case and submits it to the appellate court. The other spouse’s attorney also has an opportunity to respond to the arguments with their own written brief. The lawyers then present their case in oral arguments before the appeals court. This is typically composed of a panel of appellate judges, who give each side just a few minutes to make their case.
After hearing the oral arguments and reviewing the written briefs, the appeals court will issue their own ruling. They can affirm the ruling of the lower court, reverse the ruling in favor of the other party, or remand the case back to the trial court to reevaluate the issue with instructions. It is critical that you utilize a Florida attorney with experience handling property distribution appeals, as the process is substantially different than the trial court.
Call or Contact Our Office Today
At the law office of Blair H. Chan, III, our Tampa divorce attorneys understand how important a fair distribution of property is in a Florida divorce. If you believe that the trial court erred in their ruling on this or any other issue in your divorce, our knowledgeable appellate lawyers are here to help. Call the office or contact us today to schedule a consultation now.