Court decisions made in family law can significantly affect your family relationships and even your future finances. Unfortunately, sometimes, not all parties feel that a just ruling was given. 

Most courts allow for some kind of appeal process, but family law works differently than some other civil courts do. It can get complicated which is why it may be best to get an experienced family law attorney in Orlando.

Let’s take a look at family law, and whether it’s possible to appeal a ruling.

Can You Appeal a Family Law Ruling?

Firstly, yes, you can appeal a family law ruling. However, whether your case gets to the appellate review stage and goes on to be considered, depends on many things. 

How does a family law appeal work?

One of the most basic things you need to know is how the appeal process for family law works. In any case, a party that feels an unjust ruling is given can request an appeal. However, you must first go to the court for your hearing to receive your final judgement. Once you receive your final judgement, you can then begin the appeals process. 

One crucial thing to note is that you only have a limited amount of time to file for an appeal. You must file a request for appeal within 30 days of receiving your final judgement. Should you miss this timeframe, the court will waive your right to appeal.

Next, you file a notice of appeal with the county clerk, along with a filing fee. While this isn’t the document stating your appeal, it does allow all parties involved to recognize that you’re starting the process. 

Once you file your notice of appeal, you have up to 70 days to file your initial brief. Essentially, this states why you believe the initial ruling should be overturned, and contains documents and supporting items to show why your appeal should be considered. 

What if the other party disputes the appeal?

When you file your initial request for appeal, any other party involved is notified. After submitting your initial brief for appeal, the other party also has their chance to dispute anything within it. 

The other party has up to 20 days to either seek a cross appeal or respond by filing their answer to the brief. However, requesting a cross appeal is fairly uncommon. 

Should the other party dispute your appeal, you then have another 20 days to respond to any issues addressed in their dispute. In short, you have a chance to respond to any allegations or retorts on their part. 

When can you file a family law appeal?

In our justice system, you can file an appeal if you feel the case wasn’t properly handled. With that said, the appeal process is anything but quick and cheap. 

Even drafting the initial brief can take an experienced lawyer up to six hours because of the documents, research, and extensive formatting required. As you might assume from this figure alone, the process can become expensive very quickly. In fact, even filing the initial notice to appeal costs between $250 to $300. 

However, if you feel your case was truly misjudged, there are circumstances in which your case is more readily considered for appeal. 

Reasons for appealing a family law ruling

There are many reasons to apply for an appeal and most come down to the same principles. If there’s an issue in the case that didn’t allow full exposure of the case, or an issue with court proceedings, there’s opportunity for appeal. 

In terms of court officials, the judge or your own attorney can be cause for appeal. Should you believe your attorney improperly represented you, legal court procedures weren’t adhered to, or the judge improperly delivered justice according to law, you can appeal. 

Other reasons for appeal often include omission. If the other party misrepresented information, or failed to provide it, or if important documents were overlooked, you also have a valid reason to appeal your case.


While rules regarding family law do vary from state to state, timing is one of the most crucial parts of an appeal here in Florida. For instance, if you don’t file to appeal within 30 days, you waive your right forever. However, there are also very specific regulations for other parts of the process, which is why an experienced family lawyer gives you the best chance to appeal 

Emily A. Konicek

Emily A. Konicek

Emily A. Konicek brings 14 years of experience to your family law concerns. Emily excels at mediation, negotiation and litigation, and can help you pursue a course of action that helps you meet your goals for the future and for your family.