There are two kinds of appeals: direct appeals and appeals by writ. A direct appeal is where the appellant follows the procedure for bringing their case before the appeals court. This process must be initiated within 60-180 days of the final judgment, and is the path followed under normal circumstances when there is no urgency. 

In contrast, an appeal by writ is one that requests that the case be reviewed at once, as long as certain conditions are met, and as long as you can prove to the appellate court that you have no other legal remedy at your disposal.

What is a writ?

Before explaining appeals by writ in more detail, let’s take a look at what a writ is in the first place. A writ is an emergency appeal for a higher court to intercede in an ongoing case. If the request is successful, the appeals court will issue an order, sometimes in a matter of hours, instructing the lower court to stop its current course or change to a new one.

What is an appeal by writ?

Appeals by writ are requests for emergency relief and an expedited appeals process. They are granted at the discretion of the appellate court and can be rejected summarily if you do not have extremely compelling reasons for your application. There are three general types of writs: 

  • Writs of Prohibition which stop the family court from exercising its perceived jurisdiction 
  • Writs of Mandate which compel the court to exercise some specified duty
  • Writs of Certiorari which review a decision taken by the lower court.

Aside from those cases in which writs can be used as an option to seek relief against a misapplication of the law, there are some common family law orders that have to proceed by writ. These include:

  • A prejudgment order on child custody or visitation.
  • An order for exclusive use and possession made before judgment.
  • Hearings on discovery motions.
  • A hearing denying a continuance.
  • An order denying a motion to quash a case for lack of personal jurisdiction.

Westover Law Group is a company of family law attorneys serving Southern California. Our appellate lawyers are capable of taking your standard appeal or appeal by writ through the appellate system, provided you have a strong case. Contact us to see how we can help you with your family law appeals and related questions.