Sometimes, your family law case doesn’t turn out as you expected. While you might initially think that there is nothing more you can do to change the outcome of your case, you do have legal options. One of these options is to appeal the court’s decision.
Even if you are satisfied with the outcome of your case, the other party may file an appeal. In that situation, you will need a strong defense to preserve your positive court decision and avoid having it overturned.
Whether you are the party seeking an appeal or responding to an appeal, you will need legal assistance. An experienced California family law appellate attorney from Evans Kingsbury LLC can represent your interests and guide you throughout the appellate process.
When Can I File an Appeal in a Family Law Case?
Appeals typically are reserved for final orders and other orders that a statute or law makes appealable. In a family law case, many orders are not appealable. . You will need an experienced attorney to tell you whether your order is appealable, or whether it must be challenged by a procedure called a petition for writ.
What Does an Appellate Court Do?
An appeal is not a simple “do-over” of the trial court proceedings or a chance to retry your case A trial court judge considers the different versions of the facts presented by the parties and makes a decision after hearing the witnesses and reviewing the documents and other evidence. The appellate court will not second-guess the trial court’s interpretation of the evidence.
The appellate court gives a great deal of weight or deference to the trial judge’s factual findings. For example, if the trial court judge found a witness to be credible – or not credible – the appellate court will not disturb that finding on appeal unless there is no evidence in the record that could support the trial court judge’s finding. This legal standard can make it very difficult to overturn a trial court’s order on appeal.
The appellate court will, however, review whether the trial court made an error of law, and whether the trial court correctly applied the law to the facts of the case.
Why Do I Need a Family Law Appeals Attorney?
Appellate litigation is complex and much different than trial court litigation. You need attorneys who understand family law, but you also need attorneys who understand appellate law. Winning on appeal can be extraordinarily challenging, so you need to discuss your case with a Northern California lawyer who handles appeals in family law cases.
What Can I Expect During a Family Law Appeal?
The appeal is filed with the California Court of Appeal. The function of the Court of Appeal is to review Superior Court decisions and determine if the judge followed the law and made any reversible errors.
Each party submits a written brief to the appellate court arguing why the court should or should not overturn the trial court’s decision on appeal. The attorneys may also appear before the appellate court and give oral arguments supporting their positions. However, the appellate court does not take any evidence or hear any witness testimony. The appellate court then issues a ruling based on the written briefs and any oral arguments.
Family Law Appeals and Writs
As a practical matter, family law appeals take a long time and therefore are limited to non-emergency matters. It can take a year or more to get an opinion from the appellate court.
In California, certain family law orders are directly appealable. However, if you have an emergency situation, you may want to file a writ rather than an appeal.
Family law orders that are not directly appealable can be challenged via a petition for writ. For example, if a trial court issues a prejudgment or ex parte order on custody, you generally would challenge that order by filing a writ, not an appeal. Likewise, you would file a writ instead of an appeal to challenge a temporary custody order.
Learn More About How a Family Law Appeals Attorney at Evans Kingsbury LLP Can Help
Challenging a court order through an appeal can be lengthy and complex. When you want to pursue an appeal or explore your other options for relief, you need the assistance that only an experienced California family law appeals lawyer can provide you. Call the office of Evans Kingsbury LLP today at (707) 596-6090 or visit us online.