What You Need to Know About Appealing Family Court Judgments in California? 2024

By Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP | Feb 21, 2024

Undergoing a family court case is stressful enough, but even more so when the outcome doesn’t end as you had hoped. Although you may feel as though your case was treated unfairly, you have the option to fight for justice. Before beginning the process of filing, it is important to understand what you need to know about appealing family court judgments in California.

What Is an Appeal?

An appeal allows for individuals to have a judgment from a family court reviewed by a court of higher status. These appeals look for any legal errors made by the family court. If there are legal mistakes made, an appeal can cause a total reversal or modifications made to the court’s decision.

The appeal process centers solely on the legal aspects of the case, making sure that all laws have been followed when the court made its final decision.

The goal of filing an appeal is to hopefully achieve a better outcome by persuading the court that errors were made. Usually, an appeal is filed by one party when they feel as if the final decision was unfair. Typically, appeals filed within a family court are related to cases that involve:

When Are There Grounds for an Appeal in Family Court?

In family court, grounds for an appeal arise when legal errors have been made. Errors include a misinterpretation of statutes or ignoring evidence that pertains to the case. These errors must have been objected to during the trial if the judge mishandled their discretion or if new evidence was discovered after the trial had finished.

Once you have determined that grounds for an appeal are warranted, it is essential that you consult with a lawyer to receive legal advice and guide you through the process. Making an appeal to family court involves thorough preparation, paying attention to the finer details, and having the necessary knowledge of procedures and laws.

Before Filing an Appeal

Before filing for an appeal, there are several steps that you must follow, most importantly, making sure that your case qualifies for an appeal. If it does, you will need to ensure that you pay attention to deadlines for the filing process; otherwise, you may miss your chance. Request a copy of the court’s decision and a record of the proceedings, as they will be instrumental to your case.

Consult with a lawyer to ensure that your case will be taken into consideration. It’s also wise to factor in the costs involved, such as lawyer fees and court costs.

Making Sure Your Case Is Eligible for Appeal

The first step to determining the eligibility of your case for appeal is to review the court’s final decision. Your case needs to fall into the prerequisites stated by the higher court that will be reviewing the appeal. It’s also important to first make sure that there is no other legal solution to resolving your case.

Check for any legal errors that have been made to support your case for an appeal. Consult with statutes and legal proceedings to ensure that your case qualifies for filing for an appeal. It’s important to be thorough in this process; otherwise, your appeal may have no merit.

Filing Within the Deadline

If you wish to file an appeal in California, you must file before the deadline of 60 days after the date that the court’s final decision was made or after receiving a Notice of Entry, which is a legal form that is finished along with a final judgment. It’s important to be diligent about meeting this deadline because, if you miss it, you miss your opportunity to file. There are some exceptions to this, such as excusable neglect or if new evidence has surfaced.

Initiating an Appeal

To initiate the appeal process, a notice of appeal needs to first be sent to the proper court, including all necessary parties. Make sure that you are following any and all instructions referencing the cost bond requirement. To further prepare yourself, you should also take note of the rules regarding the appellate procedures. Following these procedures will allow you to begin the family court appeal process.


Q: How to Appeal a Judge’s Decision in Family Court in California?

A: To appeal a judge’s decision in family court in California, you must file a notice of appeal stating which parts of the judge’s decision must be sent to the appellate court. You will present a written argument to the court. Both parties make their case, and the court then makes its final decision.

Q: What Are the Four Steps in the Appeals Process?

A: The four steps in the appeals process include hiring a lawyer, filing the appeal, preparing the record on appeal, and an oral argument. Another important step is determining whether your case is eligible for an appeal, and an attorney can provide you with crucial advice on this front.

Q: How Long Does It Take to Appeal a Judgment in California?

A: The length of time it takes to appeal a judgment in California is 60 days after you have received the court’s final decision. You must meet the deadline in order to qualify for filing. Once all requirements have been met, the final decision is determined by the court and can take up to 90 days.

Q: What Does the Petitioner Need to Prove in Order to Appeal the Trial?

A: In order to appeal the trial, the petitioner needs to prove two things: first, that a legal error or errors were made, and second, that these errors affected the final judgment. The court of appeals will then determine whether or not the appeal is warranted based on the record of the trial court or case record.

Consult With a California Family Lawyer

If the final decision of the family court has left you distressed, you may have options for filing an appeal. In order to make sure that filing is done properly, consult with a skilled lawyer. At Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP, we do all we can to achieve outstanding results for our clients. Contact us today for assistance with your case.

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