In the course of your divorce, a judge may issue various rulings, some of which you may want to contest. There are several avenues to pursue this type of recourse, depending on who issued the ruling, the stage of the litigation process and the facts of the case.
In any situation, it is important to understand that just disagreeing with the ruling does not give you sufficient grounds to contest it. Appeals typically involve arguing complex legal issues, so it is wise to work with an experienced attorney. Additionally, appeals timelines generally run on very strict deadlines. If you miss your chance, you will likely not get another, so be sure to act promptly.
Appealing after the case is over
If you want to dispute a final court order, you need to file an appeal with the District Court of Appeals. A final order is typically the one that winds up the case and sets forth final provisions going forward. This is as opposed to orders the court may issue before the case is over, such as an order mandating temporary alimony for the duration of the case. You must file your Notice of Appeal within 30 days of the day the court issues its order.
Arguments on appeal can only involve facts already within the trial record. You cannot introduce any evidence you have not brought up during litigation. To succeed, you need to show the trial court made a mistake in its legal analysis. For example, an appellant may argue the court's ruling conflicts with a statute or with established Florida case law. In some cases, a successful appeal will mean the Appellate Court will reverse the lower court's decision and substitute its own ruling. In many other cases, the Appellate Court will send the case back to the lower court for review on a specific issue.
Rulings during the case
During the divorce process, you may also face the need to object to an interim ruling or recommendation. In these situations, you will address your request to the same judge or general magistrate who issued the ruling in the first place. Your time to object can also be as short as seven days. In such cases, you may be able to make your request based on new facts you discovered or on a new discovery of fraud or concealment by your spouse.