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Can You Appeal a Divorce Decision?


In any Florida contested divorce case, the spouses disagree on one or more terms of their divorce settlement. When this occurs, a judge will hear the arguments, review the evidence, and take witness testimony before rendering a decision on the matter. Most often this pertains to issues of alimony, property distribution, child custody, and child support. However, if you believe that the judge in the case made an erroneous decision in your divorce, you have the opportunity to appeal. Don’t hesitate to contact a skilled Tampa divorce lawyer to learn more about your options for appealing a divorce decree.

Appeal Versus Modification

It is important to note the difference between an appeal and a modification of a divorce order. A modification is requested after a period of time has passed and the changing circumstances warrant a change in the original divorce decree. Common examples include cohabitation of the lesser earning spouse and alimony payments, substance abuse by a parent, or a child requiring additional financial support after they turn eighteen years old. An appeal occurs immediately after a decision is rendered in your divorce case because you believe there was an error in judgment on the part of the judge.

Types of Appeals

There are a few different ways you can appeal a divorce decree depending on the specific issue. You should always speak with an experienced attorney if you wish to appeal a divorce decision because the issues are often complex. Some of the most common appeals include the following:

Traditional Appeal

This is the most common appeal for a Florida divorce and must be requested within thirty days of the trial court decision. This type of appeal is heard by the Florida District Court of Appeals and must be based in an error of law or procedure. No new evidence is allowed in a traditional appeal and the arguments must be based on the record of the trial level case. Your attorney will prepare a written brief as well as an oral argument to present to a panel of appellate judges on why the trial court erred in their original decision.

Motion for Rehearing

This type of appeal is allowed if your original divorce was heard in front of a circuit court judge. A Motion for Rehearing asks the court, which is usually the judge that just rendered a negative outcome on your case, for the issue to be reheard in front of another judge.

Motion for Relief from Judgment

This type of appeal is available when thirty or more days have passed since the initial judgment. Also known as a Motion To Set Aside Judgment, this asks the court to set aside their initial decision and only is effective in specific situations. The most common reason this appeal is used is if one spouse discovers that the other spouse was hiding assets during the divorce process.

Call or Contact Our Office

To learn more about appealing your Florida divorce case, call or contact the law office of Blair H. Chan, III in Tampa today for an initial consultation of your case.

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