Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Family Law Procedure

As parties who hire lawyers in their Florida family law cases soon realize, in addition to attorneys’ fees, there are costs associated with a case that must be paid as well. From process servers to filing fees and beyond, Florida family law litigation can be expensive. Most lawyers will tell you a court reporter is worth his or her weight in gold, and the appellate case Padgett v. Padgett, 1D17-2217 (Fla. 1st DCA May 2, 2019) tells us why.

The opinion in this case was brief and to the point: “[the former husband] appeals the trial court's denial of his petition to modify his alimony obligation to [the former wife] arguing that the evidence does not support the trial court's finding that he was capable of earning additional income. We cannot determine whether the trial court's finding was supported by the evidence due to the lack of transcript in the record on appeal, and must affirm.”

The former husband apparently did not hire a court reporter for the hearing on his petition to modify alimony. A court reporter appears at the hearing and types or otherwise records the proceeding. From this appearance, a transcript can be created which shows what the judge, witnesses and lawyers said, as well as what evidence was submitted. This is important because the transcript is what the appellate court reads to determine if an error was made.

Without a transcript and without a clear error on the face of the final judgment, the Florida appellate courts have ruled time and time again that they will not second-guess a trial court’s decision. Therefore, when alimony, time-sharing, equitable distribution and any other life-altering issue is at stake in your Florida family law case, it is best to bring a court reporter so that you give yourself the best opportunity to appeal if necessary. Consult with a Miami family law attorney to determine your best course of action in your Florida family law case.