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Which Orders Are Appealable in Family Court?

You’ve worked hard with your California family law attorney to build a strong case in family court for several months. However, the court has still ruled against you. What can you do? Do you just have to accept the court’s ruling, or can you file an appeal?

Both parties to a family law case can appeal some family court orders under the appropriate circumstances. When an individual files an appeal, they ask the appellate court to review the trial court’s decision and determine whether that court made any errors in deciding the case.

Whether you are pursuing an appeal or defending against an appeal filed by the opposing party, the help of an experienced family law appellate lawyer from Evans Kingsbury LLP can be crucial to your success. Contact us today at (707) 596-6090 and learn more about how we can assist you with your family law appeal.

Can I File an Appeal of a Family Court Order?

Either party can appeal some family court orders but not others. For example, you typically only can appeal a family court order that is a “final” order or that a statute or legal specifically states is appealable. Although you cannot appeal some family court orders, there may be other ways to challenge those orders, such as by filing a petition for a writ, which is a process different than an appeal.

For instance, if a family court judge issues a temporary or interlocutory custody order that will stay in place until that court can schedule a trial or final hearing, that temporary custody order is not appealable because it is not a final order. In that case, you would have to either file a writ or wait until the court issues a final custody order after holding a trial or final hearing.

    Appeals from family court cases can involve various issues, including:
  • • Division of property and debts
  • • Child custody and visitation
  • • Child support and spousal support
  • • Attorney fee awards

An appeal also may not always involve all parts of a court decision in a particular case. For instance, in a divorce case, a party may be dissatisfied with the child custody order but not with the court’s order on property and debts. In that situation, the party might appeal only the custody issue to the appellate court, not the entire divorce.

Do I Have Grounds to Appeal a Family Court Order?

Even if you disagree with your case’s outcome, you don’t always have a valid reason to file an appeal. You must have a strong legal basis for your appeal, such as that the trial court misapplied the law to the facts of your case or made a factual error that resulted in a judgment that was not in your favor. Absent a clear legal or factual error that affected the outcome of a case, you may or may not have strong grounds for an appeal.

You must also base your arguments on evidence that you or the other party presented to the family court at trial. You cannot bring up new evidence that the trial court either didn’t consider or didn’t exist at the time. An appeal is based solely on the evidence and events that already took place in your case in the trial court.

How Do I Appeal a Family Court Order?

You start an appeal by filing a Notice of Appeal, which tells the court and the other party that you intend to challenge the family court order. You can file your Notice of Appeal as soon as the family court judge issues a final or appealable order in your case.

Each party then submits written briefs in support of or against the issues raised in the appeal. The appellate court can decide the case based on the written briefs, or the court can hear oral arguments from the parties. As a result, the appeals process can take several months before you receive a decision.

What if the Other Party Appeals my Family Court Order?

Generally, the party who loses or is unhappy with a family court order files an appeal. However, if both parties are dissatisfied, they may both file appeals. If the other party has filed an appeal in your case, you should respond to the appeal to show the appellate court why the trial court’s ruling was correct. You will need the services of an appellate attorney to defend the trial court’s decision in your favor and work to prevent the appellate court from overturning the decision.

Contact Evans Kingsbury LLP to Learn How We Can Help

A family law appeals attorney at Evans Kingsbury LLP is here to guide you through every step of the appeal in your family law case. No matter whether you are considering filing an appeal or the other party has filed an appeal against you, we are here to help. Contact the offices of Evans Kingsbury LLP today by calling (707) 596-6090 or visiting us online to learn how we can help.

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