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Can I Appeal my Divorce Final Order?

In Orlando, Tampa and throughout Florida, it could be possible to appeal the final order of dissolution of marriage. The Florida Court of Appeals has jurisdiction to hear appeals of final orders of divorce or dissolution of marriage  pursuant to article V, section 4(b)(1) of the Florida Constitution and rule 9.030(b)(1)(A) of the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure. 

Initial Procedure

To commence an appeal of a divorce case, the party appealing must begin by first filing a notice, accompanied by any filing fees prescribed by law, with the clerk of the lower tribunal within 30 days of rendition of the order to be reviewed.
Said notice, known as a “Notice of Appeal” must contain certain items. The caption of the notice of appeal shall contain the name of the lower tribunal, the name and designation of at least 1 party on each side, and the case number in the lower tribunal. The notice shall contain the name of the court to which the appeal is taken, the date of rendition, and the nature of the order to be reviewed. Except in criminal cases, a conformed copy of the order or orders designated in the notice of appeal shall be attached to the notice together with any order entered on a timely motion postponing rendition of the order or orders appealed.

Preparing the Record

Within 50 days of filing the notice, the clerk shall prepare the record of the lower court proceedings and serve copies of the index on all parties. The record typically includes, but is not limited to, all lower court filings and transcripts of all lower court proceedings. Within 110 days of filing the notice, the clerk shall electronically transmit the record to the court.


Briefs are documents that contain either the appellant’s (the person filing for appeal) argument for appeal or appellee’s (the person who responds to the fliling of appeal) response to appellant’s argument. There are three types of briefs:
  • Initial Brief – This is the first brief filed by the appellant. This brief sets forth the facts of the case and the reasons the appellant believes an appeal is warranted. This brief explains why the appellant believes the lower court decision was erroneous. 
  • Answer Brief - This is the brief submitted by the appellee in response to the initial brief. This brief responds to the initial brief by showing why appeal is not necessary and why the lower court decision was not erroneous. 
  • Reply Brief - This brief gives the appellant the last word. This brief is submitted by the appellant to rebut any arguments the appellee makes in their answer brief.
Be aware of the times constraints. Appellant's initial brief shall be served within 70 days of filing the notice. Unless otherwise required, the answer brief shall be served within 20 days after service of the initial brief, and the reply brief, if any, shall be served within 20 days after service of the answer brief.

 Practice Pointer - The Complexity of Appeals

Appeals are typically a very complex process. It certainly doesn’t help that there are a plethora of deadlines to keep track of. Parties looking to appeal their judgement must be very skilled in the art of persuasion. This is why it is very important to hire a family law lawyer with experience handling appeals. Handling an appeals case without an attorney could certainly turn into an uphill battle. 


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