Family law cases are an emotional and stressful time in a person’s life. Your world is now measured by what comes “before” and what comes “after.” Many times, child custody determinations are at the center of these complicated and contested cases. Child custody cases can be a part of a divorce, be coupled with a child support issue, or they may be a stand-alone case.
Before your case goes before a judge, you and your attorney will work hard to prepare, organize evidence, and arrange your case to convince the judge that your proposal for the child is in their best interest. But what happens if the order or judgment is not in your favor? Besides being frustrated and disappointed, you may be wondering if there are any legal actions you can take. For an overview, be sure to read the information about child custody on our website.
File An Appeal
If you disagree with the child custody decision, you can file an appeal. An appeal differs from receiving a new trial in that you don’t present your case to a new judge, nor do you have the opportunity to present new evidence. To file an appeal, your attorney writes a brief to the appellate court outlining any inconsistencies and why the judge was incorrect in their judgment. If your appeal is successful, the court could order a new trial or render a new decision.
Before you file an appeal, you and your attorney should make sure that you have substantial grounds to file. The following family court matters can be appealed.
- Spousal support
- Child custody
- Child support
During the appeals process, the appellate courts examine what happened during your trial and decide if the judge made any errors. When reviewing an appeal, the courts are concerned with legal mistakes and whether those mistakes affected the final judgment or order. For example, they may discover that the judge misapplied a law. It is not the appellate court’s job to agree or disagree with the original decision; it is to uncover any error in judgment. Your original decision will only be reversed if they discover a legal mistake that affected the outcome of your case.
Before you file an appeal, keep in mind that the appeals process is lengthy and expensive as well as challenging. Additionally, filing an appeal does not guarantee a judgment in your favor. Failure to follow the correct procedures can result in losing your case.
Request a Modification
With a request to modify a custody order, you and your attorney file a petition stating there has been a material change since the last order and the new proposal is in the children’s best interest. Keep in mind if you file a modification, you will need to collect evidence to prove there have been material changes and explain why the current order is detrimental to the children. For example, if you feel the standing order will negatively impact the children’s grades, start keeping track of their grades. Speaking with their teachers can help convince the court that the order should be modified as it is detrimental for the children.
Similar to an appeal, a modification is not a “do-over.” You and your attorney are limited in presenting evidence and documentation about events that occurred after the original order.
The family law attorneys at Di Maria & Cone have been serving clients in the Palo Alto and San Francisco Bay Area since 1946. Whatever unique family law needs you may have, we will advocate for you during all stages of your case. To schedule a free consultation, please visit our website or call us at (650) 321-4460.