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Florida Family Law

What is the Difference between a Final and Non-Final Order?

What is the Difference between a Final and Non-Final Order?


Posted on March 28, 2018

While there are specific types of non-final orders that can be reviewed under Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.130, that category of orders is restricted, and in most cases, an order must be final before a person can seek appellate review.

Therefore, before undertaking an appeal, a family appellate attorney must file and determine, for appellate purposes, whether the subject order is final or non-final. This evaluation helps an attorney manage case progression, streamline litigation, maintain the trial court’s role as the primary arbiter of conflicts, and prevent piecemeal appeals.

To determine when a review of a specific order is authorized, it is therefore important to understand the differences between final and non-final orders.

Final Orders

  • Can ordinarily be appealed immediately.
  • Must be appealed within thirty days of a rendered final judgment or order denying a timely filed motion for rehearing.
  • An appeal from a final order may bring some or all of the decisions made by the trial court during the course of the case to the appellate court for review.

Non-Final Orders

  • Only specific types of non-final orders can be appealed immediately; a list of such orders is set forth in Rule 9.130, F.R.A.P.
  • A non-final appeal is not mandatory and can be taken within thirty days of the order needing to be reviewed.
  • Under Rule 9.130, only the issue giving rise to the right to appeal can be reviewed.

Appeals from Non-Final Orders vs. Appeals from Final Orders

There are two significant differences between appeals from non-final orders and final orders:

  • The briefing schedule is accelerated in non-final appeals, and the appellant’s initial brief will be due in fifteen days rather than seventy days from the filing of the notice of appeal.
  • Unlike a final appeal, in a non-final appeal, the clerk of the lower tribunal does not prepare a record; instead, it is the responsibility of the appellant to provide the appellate court with an appendix of all pleadings necessary for the court’s review.

Although some non-final orders fall precisely within Rule 9.130, such orders are only reviewable under limited circumstances and are far more difficult to recognize than final orders. In family law matters, Rule 9.130 limits appeals of non-final orders to those that determine: a) the right to immediate monetary relief; b) the rights or obligations of a party regarding child custody or time-sharing under a parenting plan; or c) that a marital agreement is invalid in its entirety.

The practice of Florida appellate law is highly specialized and complex; such matters may furthermore be extremely time sensitive. At The Roberts Family Law Firm, P.A., we have a dedicated appellate department of highly experienced trained attorneys familiar with Florida appellate practice and procedure. If an order or judgment has been entered in your case and you have questions regarding your right to an appeal, please contact The Roberts Family Law Firm, P.A., today by calling 407-426-6999. or by filling out the online form provided at the top of this page.

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