Must I always file a Motion for Rehearing?

A motion for rehearing is a document that is filed after a trial or final hearing. It requests that the court reopen the testimony or make specific findings. Filing a motion for rehearing is not always required before filing an appeal of the court’s ruling. But, in certain circumstances, it is required, otherwise the appeal is dismissed. In Sordo v. Camblin, the Third District Court addressed this issue.

The parties in this case attended a four day trial on a request to modify the time sharing schedule. After hearing substantial testimony, the trial court entered an order modifying the time sharing schedule of the parties. It gave the parties nearly equal time sharing and provided more stability for the children. The trial court’s order did not make specific factual findings on the two required factors that are necessary to modify a time sharing schedule under Wade v. Hirschman, 903 So. 2d 928 (Fla. 2005). The mother did file a motion for rehearing and alleged several points of error, which the trial court denied. Unfortunately, the Mother failed to allege that the trial court did not make the specific factual findings under the Wade case.

The Mother appealed. The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s order modifying the time sharing schedule. The appellate court found that “although we agree the trial court should have made specific factual findings on the two required prongs under Wade, the mother has waived this argument by failing to bring it to the trial court's attention in her motion for rehearing.” This is an unfortunate ruling for the Mother and could have been avoided if the proper document was filed before the appeal, alleging the proper grounds for a rehearing. It must be noted that a motion for rehearing must be filed within 10 days of the court signing the final judgment. If you think that a motion for rehearing is warranted in your case, it is in your best interest to contact your expert family law attorney as soon as possible, because the deadline for a motion for rehearing is absolute.