Can I Appeal a Family Court Judgement With No Transcript?
By Florida Family Law Appeals Attorney Eduardo J. Mejias
Practicing Exclusively Family Law Since 2011
AAA Family Law Can Represent You In Appeals Anywhere In Florida
Court Reporter Transcripts Are Not Always Needed in Appeals
On Why Family Law Cases Should Use Court Reporters I emphasized the importance of hiring a court reporter for your family law trial. A court reporter, by transcribing the trial, creates a record for an appellate court to review.
However, a trial transcript, while very helpful, may not always be a requirement for an appeal. So I still advise my family law clients who are preparing for a trial to hire a court reporter. But you should not lose hope for successfully appealing your divorce or paternity judgment if you did not hire one.
If the Final Judgement Is Comprehensive and Thorough, an Appeal Can Proceed Without a Transcript
Recently, a prospective client inquired about appealing the final judgment of his post-divorce modification trial. Naturally, I asked him within the first five minutes of our meeting whether he had secured a court reporter.
Unfortunately, as a pro-se litigant, he was not aware of the importance of a court reporter. Thus, no transcript of his recent trial existed. Nonetheless, I asked him to e-mail me the final judgment to review. As it turned out, the final judgment was all that I needed. Its sheer length of it impressed me.
The judgment contained 34 pages of detailed factual findings as well as a comprehensive order. This judgment, while ultimately reaching the wrong conclusions (and therefore subjecting itself to an appeal), was the most thorough judicially-generated document I had ever read. It essentially acted as a transcript, which allowed me to detect a couple of reversible errors that would not have been apparent in a sparser judgment. Needless to say, this individual decided to hire my firm.
On Why Family Law Cases Should Use Court Reporters I mentioned how appellate courts will forgive the absence of a transcript if the final judgment itself contains self-evident and reversible errors. In plain English, if the judge’s own words show how he or she made an erroneous decision, we do not need a transcript.
If There is No Transcript We Will Review the Final Judgment
Of course, most judgments will not be as transparent or thorough as the one I just mentioned. However, as I did with my new client, we will review your final judgment free of charge and give you an honest assessment of whether or not it is worth appealing. Therefore you have nothing to lose by calling me to find out whether an appeal is likely to succeed.
One critical reminder: all notices of appeals must be filed within 30 days of the final judgment or your right to appeal is waived forever.
How We Can Help You Appeal a Divorce or Other Family Law Case
If you think that your family law judgment could and should be appealed, remember that you only have 30 days since the final judgment to file the appeal. Call AAA Family Law now at (407) 260-6001 and schedule an initial consultation by phone or at our Altamonte Springs office, just north of Winter Park, Florida.
At the consultation you will explain your what you want to appeal of your family court case. Later I will examine the final judgment from the family court judge at no cost and inform you whether or not it would be in your interest to proceed with an appeal. Then I will quote you a fixed family law attorney retainer fee, not an hourly rate that places no limit on the total bill. You will know the amount of this fixed retainer fee before making any payments or signing a contract.
Our retainer fees for family law appeals of final orders in Florida range between $3,600 and $6,000 depending on their level of complexity. For non-final orders they are between $2,400 and $4,800. Family Lawyer Retainer Fees.
At AAA Family Law we can appeal any type of Florida Family Law case, such as divorce, child custody or support disputes, paternity, alimony, property distribution, prenuptial agreements, domestic violence or DCF (Department of Children and Families) child dependency.
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