Most parents choose to settle their child custody matters in out-of-court agreements. Such an outcome is preferable because, although the parents may need to reach a compromise, they remain in control of the result. When a case goes to trial, on the other hand, a family court judge will make the decision, and the outcome isn't predictable with full accuracy. Sometimes the result is not even appropriate under the law.
When a family court judge decides a child custody matter in an unfair way -- or a way that falls outside the norms established by Florida law -- a parent can appeal the decision. To pursue such legal action, the parent must file his or her appeal within a fixed period following the initial court ruling. As an alternative to a formalized request, parents may also want to file a "motion for reconsideration." A motion for reconsideration gives the judge a chance to perform another review of the decision.
If it's too late to file a motion for reconsideration or an appeal, Florida parents may want to request a modification to their child custody order due to changing circumstances. Especially, if some time has passed since the initial order, the life situation of the parties and the children may be such that it is necessary to modify the child custody arrangements.
If you're unhappy with a recent child custody order, speaking with a family law attorney will be helpful to evaluate whether you have the ability to file an appeal. You attorney can determine the strength of your legal opinion and offer advice for organizing your case.
Source: Mercedes R Wechsler PA, "Family Law Appeals," accessed April 12, 2017