Child support rulings have far-reaching consequences for you and your children, so it is vital that the decision is as fair and equitable as possible. The needs of the child, as well as the capacities of the parents, must be taken into account. For this reason, if you feel that your ruling is unfair or made in error, you are able to appeal a child maintenance decision. That being said, you cannot appeal simply because you are not happy with having to pay or receive a certain amount for your children. There is a very specific set of circumstances that must be in place before you can make your appeal.
On what grounds can you appeal child maintenance?
There are three basic conditions that must be met for a child maintenance appeal to be filed:
- There must be clear evidence that your or your children’s rights have been violated by the court’s original maintenance award.
- The ruling must be the final judgment in the case.
- The Notice of Appeal must be filed within 180 days of the ruling.
You must be able to prove that the judge misapplied the law in making the decision. Before you file an appeal, you should already have pursued other options, such as a motion for the family court judge to reconsider the decision. If it has been a long time since the decision was made – a few months to a year or more, for example – and there has been a change in your financial circumstances, then an appeal is neither possible nor appropriate. The best course of action, in that case, would be an application to modify the child support order.
On what grounds can you not appeal child maintenance?
You cannot appeal a child maintenance decision or any court judgment simply because you disagree with it. You also cannot file an appeal if you have not yet exhausted all other options, i.e., if the decision is not the final judgment. You must first work through the family court system before taking the matter to a superior court.
Westover Law Group is a company of family law attorneys serving Southern California. Our appellate lawyers can help you appeal child maintenance, provided you have a strong case. Contact us to see how we can help you appeal a child maintenance decision.