Many family law disputes require legal action and intervention from the courts to determine an appropriate solution. For instance, many people will ask judges to determine the distribution of marital property, parental rights and obligations, and spousal or child support. While judges aim to make sound decisions, they do not always rule correctly, and sometimes it may be necessary to file an appeal. It is important for anyone who received an unfavorable ruling or a notice of an appeal in a family law case to understand the appellate process and potential outcomes. The Miami appellate lawyers at Hertz • Sager are well-versed in what it takes to establish that an appeal should be granted. If you need assistance with an appeal, we can aid you in pursuing a successful outcome.Grounds for Seeking an Appeal
Parties in family law cases may file appeals for various reasons. For example, they may believe that a trial court improperly divided marital property or improperly awarded or denied alimony. People also may appeal orders dictating child custody, child support, or paternity. Appeals in family law cases often arise under one of three grounds. First, a party may argue that the trial court judge ignored critical evidence, such as the diversion of income by one spouse. Second, an individual may assert that the trial court judge did not apply the correct legal standard to the case.
Finally, a person may argue that the trial court judge committed an abuse of discretion. Essentially, this means that while the trial court judge had the right to make a decision based upon what he or she believed was appropriate, the ultimate decision was unreasonable based upon the facts of the case and the prevailing law. In most instances, an appellate court will not overturn a trial court ruling unless it is clear that the finding was improper. An appellate attorney in Miami can advise you on whether you have a strong argument on appeal.The Appellate Process
Generally, only final judgments, such as a divorce decree, can be appealed. There are a few exceptions, though, for matters involving the right to immediate financial relief or time-sharing under a parenting plan, or an argument that a marital agreement is entirely invalid. A notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days of when the order is issued. The appellee has the right to file a cross-appeal, which can be instituted by serving a notice within 15 days of receipt of the appellant’s notice of appeal or within the time permitted for filing a notice of appeal, whichever is later.
70 days after the notice of appeal is filed, the appellant must file a brief setting forth the relief requested and the basis for the request. The appellee will most likely file a brief in response. Both parties should consider hiring a Miami appellate attorney to assist them with the briefs. The appellate judges will then review the evidence and pleadings to determine whether the appeal should be granted. Notably, appellate judges do not re-try the underlying case. Instead, they evaluate whether the lower court ruling was incorrect or inappropriate. If so, the matter will likely be sent back to the lower court for a new order to be issued in accordance with the appellate court ruling. If the appellate court does not find that the trial court misapplied the law or made a mistake, the appellate court will affirm the judgment by the lower court.Contact a Skillful Family Law Attorney
Family court orders can have lasting implications, and in some instances, it is necessary to file an appeal to rectify an unjust ruling. If you wish to file an appeal or have received notice that an appeal has been filed in your family court case, you should meet with a lawyer to discuss your rights. At Hertz • Sager, we have the knowledge and experience needed to help you seek a proper ruling. Our appellate lawyers represent people in Miami and throughout Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Monroe, Broward, and Collier Counties. You can reach us to set up a consultation via our online form or by calling us at 305.444.3323.