Can I Appeal My Custody Decision?

The decision in a family court case can be very emotional, especially when it doesn’t go the way you’d hope. While a family court decision can be appealed, it’s a very difficult process with hard deadlines and hurdles to overcome. It’s strongly advised that parents hoping to appeal a family court ruling hire an attorney to help them navigate this complicated process. The rules for family court appeals are very specific and strict, so you will need to have valid grounds for your appeal.

In California, you can file for an appeal in family court for the following cases:

  • Divorce
  • Spousal support
  • Child custody
  • Child support

Filing an Appeal in California

If you decide to appeal your family court decision, you will not be granted a new trial, redevelop strategy, or present new evidence. You will be working with your attorney to determine if mistakes were made in your case. The appellate courts will review the details of your trial and look for places where the judge could have misapplied the law. They will also decide if those mistakes affected the decision in our case. Family courts realize they have an enormous responsibility with children and family outcomes on the line. While mistakes have been known to happen, appealing your decision could be challenging.

What Happens During the Appeals Process?

Appealing your case doesn’t mean the decision goes away. The decision has been ordered, and the appeal moves in a different lane. Even if you disagree or think mistakes were made in your case, you could still be governed by the original court order until your appeal is resolved. If your court order warrants a special request for the order to be stayed, your attorney can file the appropriate paperwork. Even with this special request, it’s not immediate, so your attorney would help you understand what parts you may still be required to follow. You must understand how you are expected to proceed before you act or fail to act. Ignoring a court order is not advised, even if you think they are wrong or incorrect. Never assume you understand; ensure you do.

Alternatives to Appealing Your Case

The appeals process isn’t immediate, and it’s not an inexpensive solution. You could spend a considerable amount of money and time only to have the appeal request denied. You can work with your attorney to find viable alternatives that fit your specific situation. Instead of filing for the appeal, you could try other options, like:

  • Request for the decision to be set aside or the judgment to be vacated
  • Ask for a reconsideration of the order
  • File for a new trial

Because an appeal doesn’t allow for new evidence, witnesses, or a change of strategy, opting for an alternative to appeal could be the best course of action for your case.

The Importance of Thoughtful and Compassionate Legal Representation

You can file the paperwork for an appeal without an attorney, but the courts advise against this because of the difficulty of getting the paperwork managed and filed. Additionally, the rules and regulations are complicated for those outside the legal community. With such difficult and strict rules and procedures to navigate, you could end up spending a considerable amount of money without the confidence of knowing if the paperwork has been handled properly. Working without legal guidance leaves you open to mistakes that could impact the outcome of your appeal. At Cianci Law, PC, our attorneys handle family law appeals, and we can work with you to determine if your case meets the requirements. Call us today at (916) 797-1575 to schedule a consultation.

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