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2024 What Are the Grounds for Appeal in California Family Court?

By Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP | Feb 17, 2024

If you have recently been involved in a California family court case and you believe that you got an unfair or unjust judgment, you may be curious about the grounds for appeal in California family court. A California family law attorney can provide you with the answers that you seek. No one deserves to tolerate an unfair ruling, and a lawyer can help you explore your options under California state law.

What Are the Grounds for Appeal in California Family Court?

A court order can only be appealed if something was mishandled in the initial trial. An appellate court will not review any new evidence that came to light after the original ruling; instead, it will review the events of the original trial and the actions of the court. Some of the most common grounds for appeal in California family court include:

  • Constitutional violations. Constitutional violations can include improper gathering or admission of evidence, false arrest, wrongful search and seizure, failure to give Miranda notice, or a failure to provide a speedy trial to an impartial jury. These are all possible violations of Amendment rights granted under the US Constitution.
  • Jury misconduct. It is possible that jurors could fail to remain impartial during the case or that they participate in some illegal behavior that directly impacts the result of the case. Other misconduct, such as discussing the case, going home if ordered not to, leaking information to news reporters, or being under the influence while performing jury service, could also lead to grounds for appeal.
  • Plain legal errors. Plain legal errors can be considered general legal rights that were infringed upon during the court case. Common examples of this can include errors in calculating sentences or miscommunicated jury instructions.
  • Misinterpretation or misapplication of applicable laws. It’s possible for a family court to wrongly interpret or apply certain laws, whether they pertain to property division, child custody, spousal support, child support, or any other facet of family law.

Timeline for Appeal

It is important to understand that you generally have 60 days to file a notice of appeal. This 60-day window starts from the date that you receive the notice of entry. The notice of entry is the court’s finalized judgment. If you do not file a notice of appeal within the appropriate timeline, you may lose your right to appeal.

Note that there are some cases in which you could have up to 180 days to appeal a court decision. The timeline for an appeal can become complex, and there are details specific to each case that should be reviewed by a qualified family law attorney.

Why Do I Need a Family Law Attorney?

Engaging a family law attorney can help to ensure that your case has grounds for an appeal and that you meet the appropriate deadlines under California state law. Utilizing a family law attorney can be a cost-effective way of ensuring that you get the fair and equitable outcome that you deserve.


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

A: To appeal a judge’s decision in a California family court, you must first file a notice to the court. This notifies the ruling court and the superior court that you wish to appeal the ruling court’s original decision. The appeal process includes multiple steps that often require strict deadlines to be met. During the appeal process, you will have the chance to draft your written argument and present it before the court. After your argument has been presented, the court may make a final decision.

Q: What Are the Best Grounds for Appeal in California Family Court?

A: The ideal grounds for appeal in California family court are a lack of evidence, misapplication or misinterpretation of California family law, or an abuse of discretion. These are the most common grounds for family court appeals. If you believe that your case involved any of these possible violations, you may have strong grounds for an appeal. It is advisable that you consult with an experienced legal team to review your case and understand all of your rights and options under California state law.

Q: How Do I Appeal the Termination of Parental Rights in California?

A: To appeal the termination of parental rights in California, you must file a notice of appeal. Under California state law, you generally have 60 days to file the notice of appeal with the appropriate appellate court from the date of the order terminating the parental rights. The notice of appeal has to be in writing, and it must include specific information, such as the date of the order, the name of the court, and the grounds for which you wish to appeal.

Q: Are Temporary Custody Orders Appealable in California?

A: Temporary custody orders are not appealable in California. Under California state law, you can only appeal orders that are final. This means that once the judge has passed a final ruling on your case, you may file for an appeal. To do so, you would file a notice of appeal with the appropriate court and go through the necessary steps in the appeal process. It is important to note that temporary custody orders should not impact the judge’s final ruling in your case.

A Legal Team That Fights for You

At Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP, we understand that family law cases can be intimidating and also emotional. Handling family court litigation and the appeals process is where our firm can provide value and relief to those impacted by family court cases. Our legal team seeks to provide our clients with a favorable outcome to their case while minimizing the role they have to play, leaving them with the ability to focus on their road to recovery.

Our legal team strives to provide our clients with the satisfactory results they deserve. Our attorneys have the experience, dedication, and passion needed to review your case, meet appropriate deadlines, and provide the legal advice you need to have your case resolved in a timely manner. Contact our legal team today to see how we can benefit you and your case.

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