Courts are asked to intervene in family law matters when disputes cannot be resolved in any other way. And while court orders must be respected and followed, sometimes people find the proceedings to be nothing short of a courtroom disaster.
If this has been your experience, you may be wondering whether or not a family law appeal is warranted. Here are some things to consider about family law appeals in California.
The appellate process is very different than the trial process.
Appealing a court's decision does not constitute a redo of the trial. In other words, the points made at the trial level will not be simply rehashed at the appellate level.
The appellate process involves briefs, which receive significantly more judicial scrutiny than trial-level briefs. Why? Because appellate briefs may be scrutinized by as many as three to seven judges -- not just one.
In short, appeals require extremely meticulous care to persuade a court to reverse a prior decision. After all, serious matters are at stake, and the court will take very seriously any decisions already made with regard to child custody, spousal support or property division.
Not every family law attorney handles appellate work.
If you believe that your case warrants an appeal, it is important that you have an attorney with extensive experience in handling appellate work. A lawyer with this breadth of knowledge and experience can analyze whether an appeal is the best approach, as well as ensure that all of the correct appellate procedures are followed.
Similarly, if you need to defend a court's ruling, it is important to choose a lawyer with appellate experience.
Joel S. Seidel & Associates
Our attorneys welcome the opportunity to handle family law appeals. For more on our philosophy, experience and team approach to safeguarding our clients' rights and interests, please see our family law overview.