When you appeal a family court decision in California, the processes, handling, and application are significantly different from the original trial, and your expectations should be too. Your appeals court lawyer will explain the process to you. One misconception is an opportunity to present your case again. It is not. The only thing an appeals court can do is remand the case when it is proven that the family court acted in error. 

Is the appellate court’s decision final?

The decision that the appellate court reaches after considering your appeal will become final 30 days after the court hands down its judgment. Within those 30 days, you can still object and submit a petition against the ruling. If none of the parties involved in the case submits a petition within that 30-day window, the decision is final and can no longer be appealed.

Will the court of appeals accept the case?

Appellate courts are quite limited in terms of what appeals they can and can’t consider. An appellate court does not offer a ”second opinion” in your case but instead considers the legal process by which the trial court reached the decision. Therefore, in order for the appeals court to review your case, you must be able to show that California law was misapplied, that there was too little evidence to support the ruling, or that the trial court somehow abused its discretion. So long as you file the Notice of Appeal and the brief within the given deadline, the appeals court is likely to consider your case. Whether or not your appeal is successful then depends on the quality of the argument your lawyer presents to prove that the family court was in error in reaching its judgment. The main criterion for whether or not the court will even consider the case is that the paperwork is filed timeously.   

What can the court of appeals do?

Appeals courts each consist of a panel of three justices, who review decisions made by trial courts to determine whether they were reached in accordance with a proper application of the law. An appeals court does not conduct a new trial but instead reviews the record in the court case to see if there were any legal or factual errors that led to the outcome. The justices of the appeals court can either uphold the decision made by the trial court judge, or remand the case, thus sending it back to the trial court.

Westover Law has experienced family court and appeals court lawyers in California with the knowledge and expertise to ensure that your appeal is filed in accordance with the requirements, as well as the ability to construct a strong brief and represent you in court if called upon to present oral arguments. Book a consultation to discuss your family court case in California and possible appeal.