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2024 How to File an Appeal in a California Family Court?

By Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP | Feb 19, 2024

Family law cases can involve heavy emotions, even under optimal circumstances. These emotions can be heightened if you receive an unfavorable court decision. If you believe that the court’s final decision was made in an unfair or unjust way, you may have a case for an appeal. To file an appeal in a California family court, you should first contact an experienced California family law appeals lawyer who can help you navigate the process.

What Is an Appeal?

An appeal is a legal process that requests for a case to be reexamined. An appeal could be used if you believe that your case was decided on in an unlawful or unjust way. However, it should not be mistaken for a new trial. A reexamination is a higher court examining the trial court’s decision based on the evidence presented and the movements of the initial trial.

If the higher court determines that the judge ruled in accordance with the correct applications of the law, then the court decision will not be overturned. If it was found that the court’s decision was made on the basis of a misapplication of the law or in another unjust way, then the case could be thrown out or sent back to the trial court.

Notice of Appeal

The first step of filing an appeal is to file a notice of appeal with the appeals court. There is generally a 60-day window from the date of the court’s final judgment. If you do not file the notice of appeal within 60 days of the court’s decision, you may lose your ability to appeal the decision. The notice of appeal should be written and should include details that are specific to the case, such as the name of the court, the date of the original order, and your reason for appeal.

Brief and Oral Argument

Once the notice of appeal has been filed, you will have the opportunity to present your brief to the court. A brief is a written argument that includes the facts of the case, the applicable laws, and the argument for why the case was unfairly decided upon. A family lawyer can help you compile all the necessary information for the brief.

The brief could also be accompanied by an oral argument. During the oral argument, you or your attorney will have the opportunity to further explain the brief in person before the appeals court. You could also answer any questions that the appeals court may have. It is important to know that you do have the option to waive the oral argument if you wish to do so.

Final Decision

After the brief has been presented, the appeals court will make its final decision. There is a 90-day window in which the court must provide you with its decision. An attorney can advise you on the necessary next steps depending on the appeals court’s final decision.


Q: How Do I Appeal a Family Court Decision in California?

A: To appeal a family court decision in California, you have to file a notice of appeal within the court-mandated timeline. A notice of appeal must be written, and it must include the date of the original order, the name of the court, and the reason for appeal. You also must have grounds for an appeal. Grounds for an appeal could include constitutional violations, jury errors, or other legal errors that you believe were made during the judgment of your case.

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

A: The four steps in the appeals process include filing the notice of appeal, paying or waiving any relevant court fees, presenting your written and oral argument before the court of appeals, and the issuance of the final decision by the appeals court. The appeals process can become lengthy and has specific deadlines that must be met. It is always a wise idea to engage the help of qualified legal counsel before making any legal decision.

Q: How Much Does It Cost to Appeal a Case in California?

A: To appeal a case in California, it generally costs about $775. This is inclusive of court and filing fees, and the $775 is typically submitted within 24-48 hours of the written notice of appeal submission. Fees are generally paid in civil appeals court or could be paid directly to the District Court of Appeal. Working with an experienced family law attorney can help ensure that all fees are paid within the appropriate deadlines so that your appeal process is not delayed.

Q: What Are the Chances of Winning an Appeal?

A: The chances of winning an appeal depend on the circumstances of the trial. If there were serious violations of constitutional rights, inappropriate behavior of the jurors, or serious misappropriations of the law, the chances of winning an appeal could be favorable.

It should be noted that, on average, most civil appeals are unsuccessful in reversing the original court’s decision. Let an experienced family law attorney review your case and help you determine if an appeal is the right decision for you.

Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP: The Legal Help You Need

Filing a California family court appeal involves specific protocols that must be followed, and understanding the process is much easier with the help of experienced legal counsel. Filing for an appeal can be a stressful process, and many people do not know how to successfully submit an appeal. No one should be left to deal with an unjust court decision. Engage the help of a family law attorney with the knowledge necessary to work toward overturning the order.

The legal team at Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP, has decades of experience in resolving legal matters related to California family law. We have a demonstrated history of success in helping individuals all across the state of California resolve their legal matters. Our firm is confident in our ability to review and understand your case and provide you with the sound legal advice that you need. Contact our office today to see how our attorneys can help you.

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