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Family Law Appeals

California Family Law Appellate Attorneys

What is a Family Law Appeal?

An appeal occurs when a party loses a case at the trial court level and asks a higher court (called the “reviewing court”) to review the trial court’s decision.

For actions under the Family Code, a judgment or order can be appealed if it is either the final judgment in a proceeding or a final judgment on a collateral matter in a proceeding. Examples of these are:

  • A judgment of dissolution of marriage
  • A portion of a judgment that will terminate the marital status of the parties
  • A portion of a judgment or an order that determines with definiteness any severable collateral matter like property rights, child custody, or spousal support
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Limitations to Appeals

An appeal can also occur for a portion of the final judgment. The “appellant”, the person bringing the appeal, may choose to limit the scope of review by the appellate court to only one or two issues that they believe were incorrectly decided at the trial court level, while leaving the remainder of the judgment in place.

One rule to be aware of is “the final judgment rule.” This means that the appellate court will only hear issues from a final judgment or order. This means that if the case is still ongoing without a final judgment or order (for example, if the judge makes a “temporary order” only) you cannot bring an appeal. Instead, an appeal may be filed once the final judgment or order has been entered.

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