Judy-Ann Smith Law Firm, P.A
When a person goes to court to have a matter decided, the decision of that court, often referred to as the trial court, is reviewable by a higher court known as either the appellate court or the supreme court. The appellate process, is a complex and challenging area of law, and winning an appeal is usually a difficult task. Only a low percentage of appeals are successful. Conversely, defending against an appeal is usually much easier, although still costly. The reason for this is that almost always the facts decided by the lower court are not reversible on appeal except in very limited circumstances. Therefore, usually only issues that involve questions of law are reviewed on appeal where it is alleged that the trial court misapplied the law to the facts of a case.
A family law appeal is perhaps the hardest kind of appeal to win. Most likely more than any other area of law, family law judges are given a great deal of discretion. This discretion provides a great deal of latitude and deference to the trial court by the appellate court, so much so, that only where the trial court judge has abused his or her discretion will there be a reversal. This rarely occurs.
The costs of appealing a lower court decision can be very costly. The court and other costs can easily be as high, and the attorney fees will cost thousands of dollars depending on the complexity and number of issues on appeal. Therefore, whether to proceed with an appeal may be determined under a cost benefit analysis–“is it worth spending the money for what you are trying to achieve?” This analysis is complicated by the fact that if you lose the appeal you may be required to pay the other party’s court costs, and in some cases, the other party’s attorney fees.
Judy-Ann Smith Law Firm, P.A will review your case to help you decide whether an appeal is appropriate and wise in your case. Having been written about in Florida newspapers about family law appellate success, our attorney will provide you thorough appellate representation should you decide to proceed with an appeal.
Please note that you only have approximately a 60 day period after a decision in a lower court is entered within which to file a notice of appeal or you are barred from appealing that decision.