At Mercedes R. Wechsler, PA, one of our jobs as family law attorneys is to balance client expectations of what is fair with the cold hard reality of the law. The thing is, Florida’s laws were created to be “fair,” so if you don’t think the judge made an appropriate ruling, there’s a chance you might be correct.
Fortunately, not every family court ruling is set in stone. Because judges are human and prone to making errors in judgment, everyone has the right to appeal a judge’s ruling to a Florida Appeals Court. The question is: Should you file an appeal or will it be a waste of your money and time?
Keep in mind, if you do file an appeal, it could take a while before you have a decision on the matter and you will incur additional legal expenses. First, you’ll need to file an appellate brief. This document contains an explanation why the judge ruled incorrectly, supported by applicable statutes and case law. Then, the opposite party will have a chance to respond with a brief of his or her own. Next, it’s possible that oral arguments will follow, but the Appeals Court might also decide the matter simply based on the pleadings received.
When you’re evaluating whether or not to file an appeal, an experienced family law attorney is invaluable. A family law attorney has an excellent understanding of the law and how cases are usually ruled. He or she will be able to determine if your ruling fell outside of the norm, or if the ruling was sufficiently questionable to warrant an appeal. Your attorney will also be able to draft an appropriate appellate brief in the event you choose to move forward with an appeal.