What does the term “rendered” and “rendition date” mean?
The term “rendered” is one of the most important terms to understand when it comes to appeals of divorce and child custody orders, as the “rendition date” determines the deadline for appealing the trial court’s order.
The Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure state that an order is “rendered” when “a signed, written order is filed with the clerk of court of the lower tribunal”. This language can be tricky to understand. In a nutshell, based on the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure, three things need to happen before an order is considered “rendered”: (1) the order must be reduced to writing; (2) the order must be signed by the lower court judge; and (3) the order must be filed with the clerk of court in the lower court.
Based on this definition, a divorce court judge’s order has not been “rendered” if the judge issued an oral ruling from the bench after your trial or court hearing. Thus, even if the oral ruling is unfavorable, the ruling needs to be reduced to written form before it can be appealed.
Although the date the order is signed is usually the same day the order is rendered, in some cases the dates are different, especially if the order was signed by the judge near the end of a day and not filed with the clerk for several days for whatever reason.
The definition of “rendered” stated above can be a bit tricky, and anyone considering filing an appeal should consult with a qualified appellate lawyer to make sure they correctly determine the rendition date.
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