If your divorce case goes wrong, you made need to appeal the judge’s decision. Judges don’t always get it right. I’ve witnessed this as a Jacksonville family and divorce lawyer. Whenever, cases have reached a final conclusion, our legal system allows a person to appeal the decision. In family cases, judges listen to evidence at trials and must decide what is in the best interest of a child when considering time-sharing or child custody issues. Florida Statute 61.13(3) lists the factors that the judge should use. The trial judge has discretion to do what he or she sees fit and in accord with the facts and the law in each case.
When cases are appealed, the appeals court will look back at the decision made by the trial judge and decide whether the judge abused his or her discretion. In the recently decided case of Niekamp v. Niekamp, the Second District Court of Appeals overruled a Leon County, Florida judge regarding several issues. The judge in the Niekamp case awarded no time-sharing to the Husband in the case, but did not implement a plan for reunification of the Husband and the children. The appeals court deemed the lack of a reunification plan as an abuse of discretion. Although the trial judge found that no time-sharing was appropriate for the time, there was no evidence that it was in the children’s best interest to never be reunited with the Husband.
Also in the Niekamp case, the appeals court was not pleased that the trial court made decisions based on information that was not contained in the record, meaning that the trial judge made decisions based on information that wasn’t presented to the judge. In the Niekamp case, the Husband applied for disability and was denied. The judge made a finding that the Husband was voluntarily unemployed based on the denial of disability benefit, but there was no evidence regarding the reason for the denial of disability benefits. The appeals court sent the case back down to the trial judge with directions as to the proper standards to apply to the trial judge’s decisions.
At the Law of David M. Goldman, PLLC, we have experienced family and divorce lawyers that can advise you regarding your rights. For more information, call us today for a free 30 minute consultation.