Articles Posted in Appeals

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A final divorce decree providing for the custody of a child can be materially modified only if there (1) are facts concerning the welfare of the child that the court did not know at the time the decree was entered, or (2) has been a substantial change in circumstances shown to have arisen since the decree.  The petitioning parent bears an extraordinary burden to prove a substantial change in circumstances.

A party, in order to modify a final judgment of dissolution of marriage, must allege and prove an unanticipated substantial, material change in circumstances since the entry of the final judgment.  See the case of Chapman v. Prevatt, 845 So.2d 976 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003) for a further discussion of this topic.

In Blevins v. Blevins, 172 So. 3rd 568 (Florida 5th DCA 2015), the former husband successfully appealed his former wife’s supplemental petition seeking to modify their final judgment of dissolution of marriage.  The modification order in this case was based primarily upon the court’s concern regarding the distance of the child’s school, which was a one-hour drive from the former wife’s residence.

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Did your divorce case turn out different than you expected? Are you considering a review and appeal of your case? If you’ve answered yes to these questions, you should be prepared to review your conduct through the course of the trial court proceedings.

The right to file an appeal is not without limitations. Appeals will be dismissed in dissolution of marriage cases where the appealing party has been held in contempt for failure to pay court-ordered support, or if the appealing party does not comply with the trial court’s orders within a set period of time.

Where an appealing party has disobeyed an order from the trial court, the appellate court may, in its discretion, either entertain or dismiss an appeal.  Where dismissal is ordered, it is mandatory however, that the disobedient appealing party be given a period of grace, prior to the effective date of the dismissal, in which to comply with the disobeyed order.