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Florida Divorce Appeals Process

After a regular dissolution of marriage that has been decided by a judge, if you feel the judge's decision was incorrect, you may appeal that decision, provided that certain procedural steps are taken. An appellate court does not frequently reverse a trial judge's decision. Judges have broad discretion in divorce cases. Just because you do not like the judge's decision is not a reason for an appeal. If the trial judge makes an error of law, or has abused his or her discretion, the decision may be reversed. It is also a very costly process to appeal a judges' decision.

Understanding The Florida Divorce Appeals Process

Florida family law provides for four types of appeals in a divorce, custody or support decision:

1) If a General Magistrate heard your case, you can file a “Notice of Exception to the Report and Recommendation of a General Magistrate.” When you file this objection, your case will be scheduled for a hearing by a Circuit Court Judge. You must file your objection within 10 days of the magistrate’s decision.

2) If your case was determined by a divorce court, you can file a “Motion for Rehearing.” A Motion for Rehearing must be filed immediately after the original decision is handed down and the judge can decline your request for a rehearing.

3) A standard appeal to the District Court of Appeals can be filed within 30 days of the original court order. In this sort of appeal you must show that the trial court judge did not properly follow divorce law. You cannot show any new evidence.

4) If more than 30 days has passed since the court order was handed down, your only recourse is a “Motion for Relief from Judgment.” This is a very difficult form of appeal to succeed at and often requires proof that fraud was perpetrated against the court by your former spouse, i.e. they lied about assets or income.

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