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John Sylvester

Certified Family Law Specialist | Certified Appellate Law Specialist
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In The Community

In his free time, John enjoys spending time with his family, friends, and lab/pit rescue mix, Roger. His hobbies and interests include road running, trail running, cycling, music, and movies. He has recently completed several ultramarathons, marathons, and half-marathons, and hopes to one day qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Experience & Education

John Sylvester is a San Diego family law appeals attorney practicing primarily in appeals and writs, trial litigation, and neutral mediation. He is a Certified Appellate & Family Law Specialist by the State Bar of California.

John received his B.A. in English Literature from San Francisco State University. He received his juris doctor from Thomas Jefferson School of Law, where he graduated magna cum laude. John was an editor for the Thomas Jefferson Law Review. He was instrumental in co-founding the school's first Family Law Self-Help Clinic. He served as President of the School's Family Law Society. John volunteers his time with the Family Violence Appellate Project and the Access to Appellate Justice Program, bringing appeals on behalf of survivors of domestic violence and indigent appellants. 

Areas of Specialization

In the practice of family law, John wears many hats. In his appellate practice, he has acted as lead appellate attorney on several family law and civil appeals, including several successful full or partial reversals of erroneous trial court decisions and several published cases. In his trial practice, he handles complex litigation including hundreds of family law cases in the areas of dissolution, legal separation, nullity, domestic violence restraining orders, child custody and visitation, child support, spousal support, community and separate property, and attorney fees and costs. In his neutral mediation practice he offers family law litigants an amicable and affordable alternative to litigation.

John is a member of the State Bar of California and is licensed to practice law before the Superior Court of California, the California Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court of California. He is also licensed to practice in the Ninth Circuit's Central and Southern Federal District Courts of California. He is a member of the San Diego County Bar Association, the San Diego Family Law Bar Association, and the San Diego Appellate Inns of Court, and Association of Certified Family Law Specialists.


Licenses and Certification

Certified Legal Specialist (Appellate Law), State Bar of California, 2024–Present 

Certified Legal Specialist (Family Law), State Bar of California, 2020–Present 

Attorney Licensee, State Bar of California 2014–Present 

Admitted to Practice, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, 2014–Present

Admitted to Practice, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, 2014–Present 


Professional Memberships and Affiliations

Vice-Chair, SDCBA Appellate Practice Section Executive Committee, 2024–Present

Member, ACFLS Amicus Committee, 2023–Present

Member, Association of Certified Family Law Specialists (ACFLS), 2020–Present 

Associate, San Diego Appellate Inns of Court, 2020–Present 

Member, San Diego Family Law Bar Association (SDFLBA), 2014–Present 

Member, San Diego County Bar Association (SDCBA), 2014–Present  


Published Appellate Cases

In re Marriage of Tara and Robert D. (2024) ___ Cal.App.5th ___ [child custody, civil procedure]

North Coast Village Condo. Assoc. v. Phillips (2023) 94 Cal.App.5th 866 [restraining orders, civil procedure]

Abdelqader v. Abraham (2022) 76 Cal.App.5th 186 [domestic violence, child custody]

J.H. v. G.H. (2021) 63 Cal.App.5th 633 [domestic violence, child custody]

Balla v. Hall (2021) 59 Cal.App.5th 652  [anti-SLAPP, defamation]

County of San Diego v. P.B. (2020) 55 Cal.App.5th 1058 [child support]


Speaking Engagements

Airtight Rulings: Best Practices to Survive Appellate Scrutiny, SDFLBA, February 2024

Family Law Experts Series 2023 Family Law Recap, Cage & Miles, LLP, January 2024

Nuts & Bolts of Civil State Court Appeals, SDCBA, October 2023

Domestic Violence Updates & Appellate Tips, NCBA, June 2023

“Do This, Not That”: Review of 2022 Family Law Cases & Statutes, SDFLBA, Dec. 2022

“Help Me Help You”: Tips for Preparing a Family Law Appeal, NCCFLS, October 2022

General Discovery—Issues and Pointers, SDVLP Paralegal Program, October 2021

Demystifying Family Law Appeals, SDCBA Appellate Practice Section, June 2021



Volunteer Attorney, Civil Appellate Self-Help Workshop, 2023–Present 

Volunteer Attorney, Access to Appellate Justice Program, 2021–Present 

Volunteer Attorney, Family Violence Appellate Project, 2017–Present 

Co-Founder, Thomas Jefferson School of Law Family Law Self-Help Clinic, 2013–2016


Honors & Awards

Michael C. Shea Teacher-Mentor Award, SDFLBA, 2023

Rising Stars Award, Appellate Law, Super Lawyers, 2018–2024


Consult with Cage & Miles:

At Cage & Miles, we champion your interests. It’s our mission to help you find clarity and peace of mind so you can focus forward.

Our family law attorneys are prepared to speak with you so that you can gain insight into the options for your matter. This consultation will also help you:

  • 1Find answers to questions specific to your unique family matter.
  • 2Develop an action plan for achieving your goals.
  • 3Learn more about our experience and credentials.
  • 4Decide if our expertise would be appropriate for your case and future goals.
  • 5Choose a course of action, whether that involves moving forward with your family law case — or not.

To get started and request your consultation, simply fill out our contact form located here. Please note that due to the bespoke nature of our consultations, fees may vary and are dependent on the complexity of your legal matter. Our intake specialists will provide further details when working with you to set your appointment.

Cage & Miles Family Law Attorneys serve all of: San Diego County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County and San Bernardino.

Our firm’s expertise, long case history and our advanced legal specialization in family law makes us uniquely positioned to provide you with reliable and trustworthy family law assistance.

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