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What Can I Do if I Lose My Family Law Case?

When you and your California family law attorney go to court for your family law case, you have hopes for the best possible outcome. However, in some cases, you do not end up with the court order you expected. If you are dissatisfied with your family law case’s outcome, you have some options.

You may be able to challenge on an emergency basis a court order that is not final by filing a writ, or a request for an expedited review by an appellate court. If you have received a final order, you may be able to file an appeal of that order. In either situation, the help of an experienced family law appellate lawyer from Evans Kingsbury LLP is critical. Call our office today at (707) 596-6090 and learn more about how we can assist you in challenging your family law court order.

Filing a Writ: Challenging Prejudgment, Ex Parte, or Temporary Orders

In family law cases, such as those concerning child custody, judges often issue orders that are not final. These prejudgment orders are temporary in that they remain in effect while the parties fully litigate the case and the judge makes a final decision. The court order also may be “ex parte” in an emergency situation, which means that the court issues the order without holding a hearing.

Since these orders are not final and typically require immediate action, filing an appeal of the court’s order is not an option. You can only appeal a final court order or judgment, and appeals can take a year or more. However, you can challenge a prejudgment, ex parte, or temporary order by filing a writ, as long as there is no other adequate remedy available under the law and leaving the order in place would cause “irreparable harm.”

Whether the appellate court chooses to grant a writ is completely discretionary. Most often, writs are denied without explanation.

Nevertheless, filing a writ to correct a prejudgment, ex parte, or temporary order in a child custody order can be crucial. The more time a child spends in the custody of only one parent, for example, the stronger the bond may become with that parent. The longer a custody order remains in place, the more likely it is a judge may not want to change the status quo. Filing a writ may thus be necessary to improve your chances of an overall positive outcome in your custody case.

Appealing a Final Order in Your Family Law Case

Once a judge in a family law case issues a final order, you have a right to appeal if you believe that the judge made one or more errors in issuing the order. In an appeal, you ask the appellate court to review the trial court’s decision for errors. You typically argue that the judge used the wrong legal standard or misapplied the law to the facts of your case. The appellate court has the option of reversing the lower court’s order and/or remanding the case to that court for further proceedings, or affirming the trial judge’s order.

Family law appeals can involve issues related to children, such as child custody, visitation, and child support, and issues concerning property division and debts. Other appealable issues may involve attorney fee awards and spousal support orders.

There are strict deadlines for filing an appeal. After you file a notice of appeal, both parties can submit written briefs to the appellate court that argue their respective positions. The appellate court can hear oral arguments on the appeal if one or both parties request it. Typically, the parties will not receive a decision on the appeal for several months, and often up to a year after filing the appeal.

Contact the Offices of Evans Kingsbury LLP for the Help You Need

At Evans Kingsbury LLP, we have experienced family law appellate attorneys review your options for challenging the orders made in your family law case. We can discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each option and give you the advice you need to make informed decisions about your case. Once you have decided upon a course of action, we will provide you with quality legal representation throughout your court proceedings, from start to finish. Contact the offices of Evans Kingsbury LLP today by calling (707) 596-6090 or visiting us online to learn more about the assistance that we can offer you.

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