“The only constant is change,” a popular phrase that aptly applies to many aspects of our personal and professional lives; it also applies to the law. Laws are created to protect citizens and ensure our safety. The law continually evolves to reflect the changing needs of our communities and provide clarity concerning definitions, timelines, outcomes, and appeals for people who are engaged at every level of the legal process. 

Florida Statue for Divorce Decision Appeal

Over the years, I have seen several Florida laws and statutes refined, including pre-nuptial agreements, child custody jurisdiction and enforcement, and alimony reform. A recent change to Florida law, introduced in August 2022, is the amendment of Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.530 and Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.530 by the Florida Supreme Court with the addition of the sentence “to preserve for appeal a challenge to the sufficiency of a trial court’s findings in the final judgment, a party must raise the issue in a motion for rehearing under this rule” to Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.530(a) and Fla. Fam. L. R. Proc 12.530(a). 

How to Appeal a Divorce Decision

In layman’s terms, this amendment requires legal counsel to submit a request for a rehearing of the case within 15 days after the judge’s ruling for an appeal of the decision to be considered. A rehearing petition can be made after an unfavorable outcome where one party believes critical facts in the case were overlooked or not considered, or there is evidence that the Florida laws pertaining to this specific case were not followed. As in all legal cases, the appeal request must provide concise and convincing evidence of the instances where facts were not considered, or laws were not followed.

There are many reasons, particularly in contested dissolution of marriage cases, where working with an experienced and reputable Family Law attorney is critical. To help reach your desired outcome, look for a trusted advisor who is knowledgeable about the current laws, statutes, and legal filing deadlines. In every conversation, make sure your legal representative takes a holistic view of your case from start to discovery through expected and unexpected outcomes. With the new 15-day window for appeal filings, it has become even more important to have an advisor who can help you tactically think and act quickly if a rehearing filing is necessary. 

The New 15-Day Window

Even with a trusted attorney and following the new rehearing filing timeline, the newly instated 15-day window for an appeal submission does not mean the overall divorce process or the time it takes to receive a decision from the judge has changed. Whether you are experiencing a contested or uncontested divorce, the process is a difficult one. As we tell all our clients, do all you can to understand all your legal options, timelines, and fees associated with the divorce process. 

 Rebecca L. Palmer, Esq. is a Family & Marital Law attorney practicing in Orlando, FL. She is the Managing Partner of the Rebecca L. Palmer Law Group, and she can be reached at rebecca@rlplawgroup.com