Can I Appeal My Family Law Court Decision in Califorina?

If you have received an unfair ruling in a California family law matter relating to custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, or some other family law related issue, you do have the right to appeal that decision to a state appellate court.


Although you have a right to appeal, appellate courts are limited by what it can and cannot do on appeal in your family law matter. Typically, it must fall under one of three situations to be appealable.

  • Was there a lack of evidence to support the ruling?

  • Did the Judge or Courts Abuse their Discretion?

  • Was the Law Wrongly Applied?

1. Was There a Lack of Evidence to Support the Judge's Ruling?


California appeals courts will not act as a second opinion in determining whether you received a fair outcome in your family law trial, but they will only address specific situations of injustice.

One of these situations is where the trial court did not have what is referred to as “substantial evidence” to support its decision. If there was no factual evidence provided to the trial court by either you or the other party to support a specific decision, the appellate court may step in and reverse the lower courts decision.


2. Did the Court Abuse it’s Discretion in Making Their Ruling?


California family law courts have significant discretion to make decisions, which creates an extremely high bar in terms of showing abuse of discretion.


In many family law matters judges are often instructed by law to take into account a multiple factors, while being given the discretion to make an order on balancing those factors. Despite this discretion, Judges are not permitted to abuse their discretion in family law orders. If the lower court has abused their discretion, an appeals court can change the trial court determination. In testing whether an abuse of discretion occurred, an appeals court will use the abuse of discretion standard and ask “whether or not the trial court exceeded the bounds of reason, all of the circumstances before it being considered.”


3. Was the Judge Wrong on Applying California Law?


Lastly, if a court was simply incorrect in how it read and applied California’s family law code, then this too can be grounds for appeal. In fact, appeals courts will apply the most stringent standard of review in appeals based on an incorrect application of the law.


If you have been on receiving end of an unfair or unjust family law court ruling in Southern California, Call "The Fathers Rights Attorney" at 951-223-1058 and put the team at Reel Fathers Rights on your side.