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

It is well-established that an appeal must be filed within 30 days of the date an order is entered, or the appellate court has no jurisdiction to consider an appeal. But does this mean the accompanying filing fee must also be paid before the clerk must accept the notice of appeal for filing? This issue arose in the case Burns v. Burns, 4D19-0124 (Fla. 4th DCA June 5, 2019) in which the former husband attempted to file his notice of appeal on the 30th day, but it was not docketed until the next day, calling into question the viability of his appeal.

The former husband appealed a final judgment of dissolution of marriage by filing a notice of appeal. The former husband’s trial counsel swore by affidavit that she tried to file the notice on January 9, the 30th day after the entry of the final judgment, but due to an error in the electronic filing portal payment system, she was unable to file the notice until the next morning. She believed that because she had attempted to file on January 9, the clerk’s filing stamp would reflect that date.

An evidentiary hearing was held in which the trial court found the former husband’s testimony about her attempt to file the notice by the deadline to be credible. The court also made a finding that a notice of appeal cannot be filed electronically without the filing fee being paid or an application for determination of civil indigent status.

Therefore, the appellate court ruled, “Clerks of the circuit courts must accept notices of appeal with or without an accompanying filing fee or application for determination of indigent status, whether filed in-person, through the mail, or electronically through the portal. In other words, we conclude that filers must be able to submit notices of appeal to the portal without any other prerequisites to successfully complete the filing. Here, the circuit court found that former husband's trial counsel attempted to file the notice of appeal on January 9, 2019, the thirtieth day from rendition of the order on appeal but was unable to do so. Accordingly, we have jurisdiction because appellant's appeal is deemed timely filed.” (internal citations omitted).

If you need to appeal your Miami family law case, contact a Miami family law appeals attorney. A consultation is the best place to start to understand your appellate rights, remedies and chances of success.