What is a divorce appeal in Florida?
A typical divorce in Collier or Lee County, Florida does not involve an appeal. In some cases however, a spousal will find him/herself in a divorce trial and will think “this is not going well...” An appeal is your next step, and really, your only chance if this happens to you. No one wants to be in this position.
So, what is the best way to avoid an appeal?
Hire an experienced attorney (with a strong team behind him/her) who is a specialist only handling matrimonial/family law issues in your local area. Appeals are complex and costly, and the vast majority of them make no change to the trial court’s ruling. This is why the old adage of “the best way to win an argument is to avoid having one,” still holds true. The best way to avoid an appeal is to have the best representation money can buy at the trial court level.
I need to appeal my divorce trial – now what?
We find clients usually in one of two situations when they come to us for an appeal. First, they hired an inexperienced attorney and got a bad outcome. In this scenario, you should be very cautious staying with that attorney. You will likely need specialized, trained appellate experts to help you. You will know if this is your situation if your lawyer was unprepared at trial, did not get important documents into evidence, and looked totally out of place.
The second situation is one where the spouse had good representation, but the Judge just didn’t see it their way. This is the better of two bad scenarios. This is better because your lawyer likely made a much cleaner ‘record.’ A record is the set of documents, transcripts, evidence, etc… which the appellate court looks at on an appeal. With very limited exception, the Court of appeals cannot receive new documents or evidence, or hear you testify after the trial is over. This is why it is critical that your trial lawyer take every effort and precaution to ensure your case is presented perfectly at trial.
Even if this is your situation it never hurts to get a second set of eyes on the case. Additionally, you may have a trial lawyer who doesn’t handle appeals, in which case you need a specialist who can work well with your trial lawyer to get the best outcome on appeal.