I Am Unhappy with a Family Court Decision; Can I Do Anything?
Family court decisions are legally binding, and you must adhere to whatever order was handed down to you. However, this does not mean that the courts get everything right all the time. There are some circumstances in which, despite their best efforts, the family court hands down an order that you are dissatisfied with or that is unfair or unjust. When this happens, you have the option to file an appeal with the California appellate courts.
Which Appellate Court Handles Family Law Appeals for Los Angeles Residents?
In California, there are six Courts of Appeal. Each court serves a specific geographic district. Suppose you are appealing a family court decision, and your family law matter was handled in Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, or Ventura County. In that case, the California Second District Court of Appeal is the court that will handle your case. In the Second District Court, there are 32 justices, and each case is heard and decided by a random selection of three of those justices.
Common Family Law Appeals
Many family court appeals are associated with divorce-related decisions. When it comes to divorce, California is what is called a no-fault state. This means that whoever asks for the divorce does not have to prove wrongdoing on the part of the other spouse or domestic partner. A no-fault divorce is filed under irreconcilable differences. Additionally, California is a community property state. This means that property acquired during the marriage becomes community property, and upon divorce, is divided equally. The same is true of shared debt.
When resolving family court cases, the courts look at all available information and rely on the law to hand down just orders. However, many people are dissatisfied with the family court’s decision. Therefore, family court appeals are not uncommon.
You can petition for an appeal of the following family law matters:
- Divorce decisions
- Child support
- Child custody
- Spousal/Partner support
- Property division decisions
Family law matters, such as divorce and child custody, are particularly difficult to resolve. Every family is different, and family dynamics can greatly impact how a family law matter is resolved. Additionally, if children are involved, the best interest of the children is always made a priority.
Is an Appeal the Right Decision for Me?
The decision to appeal a family court decision should not be made lightly. The appeals process can be long and expensive. If you are considering appealing a family court decision, you should seek representation from an experienced lawyer familiar with family court appeals in Los Angeles. Having a skilled lawyer by your side can help ensure that the process is handled efficiently and appropriately. Additionally, an attorney can help you determine if an appeal is the right course of action for you.
When considering a family court appeal, you should discuss the following with your lawyer:
- Was the court’s original decision unfair or unjust in some way?
- Was the law misapplied in your case?
- Were any legal errors committed?
- Did insufficient counsel represent you?
- Has new, pertinent information come to light since the decision was made?
You should also discuss your ultimate goals for the appeal and its effect on you and your family. For example, if your former spouse hid significant marital assets, which then came to light after your case was settled, appealing might be in your best interest. However, other situations may be resolved more quickly and effectively by seeking a modification of the original order. Child support, custody, and spousal support issues are often more easily settled with a modification.
If you are considering appealing a family court order, you should speak with a lawyer before doing anything. TRABOLSI | LEVY | GABBARD LLP is a highly experienced family law firm with three Board-Certified Family Law Specialists on staff. We are standing by to help you with your family law appeal. Contact us online for reliable representation.