FamilyFirst Law conveniently serves the following communities:
Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park, Camarillo, Oxnard, Ventura, Simi Valley, Santa Barbara, Westlake Village, Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Woodland Hills, West Hills, Tarzana, Encino, Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Northridge, Reseda, North Hills, Granada Hills, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Studio City, Glendale, Burbank, Pasadena, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Culver City, Valencia, Santa Clarita, Canyon Country, Lancaster, Palmdale
Honesty-- There are many ways to get results from a Court of Law if you believe you have been treated unfairly. Formal appeals can be complex and time consuming, and often you may have alternate ways to resolve your issue which can be faster, and less costly. FamilyFirst Law will educate you about all the options you have available in your case so that you can make the right decision.
Free Consultation-- Often times a Party cannot determine whether an appeal or challenge is right for them unless they first have a skilled appellate attorney review the basics of their case. We offer free consultations and we are willing to review your case with you to see if an appeal or challenge is right for you.
Specialized-- Most law firms do not appeal their own cases. They usually farm the matter out to another firm who is better equipped to handle that type of unique legal process. The reason for this is because any challenge to a prior order often requires extensive research into the law, and it requires careful planning along with well-researched sound legal rationale to convince either the trial Court or the appellate Court that an error was made requiring a reversal of a prior order. FamilyFirst Law specializes in the entire appeals process, and we know how to advise you appropriately. Also, our focus on Collaborative law processes also uniquely positions us in way that enhances our chances of achieving an out of court solution even after we file your challenge.
Successful Results-- FamilyFirst Law currently has a better than 85% success rate at challenging prior orders. One reason is because we don't march you back into Court if you have a losing argument. Through consultation, we will advise you as to the strengths and weaknesses of your case as well as what the rationale is for asserting your challenge. FamilyFirst Law is staffed with an extensive legal research team that is designed to insure you get the best advise and the best argument in Court.
Settlement---Often times a winning argument can be resolved through settlement and negotiation with the opposing party and not actually ending up in Court at all. And because FamilyFirst Law specialized in the Collaborative process, we may often find you a solution you will be happy with without you having to spend the time or money waiting for the Court to decide. We are skilled at negotiation and always seek to resolve issues out of Court whenever possible.
Depending on the circumstances in your case, and before a formal appeal needs to be considered, you may be able to file a motion asking the court to change, fix, or cancel the judgment against you. Some of the more common motions are: a motion to vacate or set aside (cancel) the judgment and enter a different judgment, a motion for reconsideration of an order, an application for renewal, or a motion for a new trial.
Motion to vacate or set aside the judgment
This is when a party that is affected by a trial court's judgment or order asks the same court to cancel the judgment or order that was made. There are different laws that apply in different cases, and usually you have to meet very specific requirements to be able to file a motion to set aside or to vacate.
Motion for reconsideration
This is when a party that is affected by a trial court's order asks the same court to reconsider the order, based on new facts, circumstances, or law. You must file a motion for reconsideration within 10 days of being served with the written notice of entry of the order you want the court to reconsider. The motion must also include an affidavit with information about the original order and the new facts, circumstances, or law. The requirements are very specific. For more information, see California Code of Civil Procedure section 1008(a).
Application for renewal
This is when the same party who made a motion (a request for an order) that was refused (the entire motion or just part) asks a judge (same or different) to grant the order. This request must be based on new facts, circumstances, or law. There is no time limit. The application must also include an affidavit with information on the original order and the new facts, circumstances, or law. For more information, see California Code of Civil Procedure section 1008(b).
Motion for a new trial
A motion for new trial asks the trial court to reexamine 1 or more issues of fact or law after a trial and decision by the judge or jury. There are a number of reasons why someone can ask for a new trial, such as jury misconduct; an irregularity with the jury, a party, or a lawyer in the case; insufficient evidence for the verdict; excessive or inadequate damages; an irregularity in the case that prevented one of the parties from having a fair trial; and others. The law allowing a judge to grant a new trial is based on California Code of Civil Procedure section 657.
Appeals and Writs
Offices conveniently located in Westlake Village, Encino, Brentwood, Pasadena, Downtown LA, Santa Clarita
2945 Townsgate Road Suite 200, Westlake Village, CA 91361
TALK TO A LAWYER. You have the right to appeal a case without a lawyer. But appeals are very complicated and take a lot of time, effort, and money. You have to do all the paperwork correctly, meet the deadlines, and follow all the court's rules and procedures. If you make mistakes, your case may be dismissed and you may have to pay the appeal costs of the other side. A lawyer with experience in appeals can help you make sure you complete every step correctly and on time. Also, a lawyer can help you decide if you can or should file an appeal at all. A lawyer may know how to get what you want faster and cheaper by using a different legal process. Many lawyers do not do appeals. Call FamilyFirst Law for a FREE consultation about your case.
What is an appeal?
An appeal is when someone who loses a case in a trial court asks a higher court (the appellate court) to review the trial court's decision. Often an appeal is taken after all steps have been exhuasted with the trial Court.
In almost all cases, the appellate court ONLY looks at two things: (1) Whether a LEGAL mistake was made in the trial court; AND (2) Whether this mistake changed the final decision (called the "judgment") in the case.
An appeal is NOT: (1) A new trial with witnesses or a jury; (2) A chance to go to court and present your case all over again in front of a different judge; or
(3) A chance to present new evidence or new witnesses.
The appellate court only reviews what happened in the trial court to decide if a legal mistake was made in the original trial; for example, to see if the trial court judge applied the wrong law to the facts of the case.
The appellate court cannot change the trial court's decision just because the appellate court judges (called "justices") disagree with it. The trial court is entitled to hear the evidence and come to its own decision. The appellate court can only reverse the trial court's decision if it finds a legal mistake in the trial court proceedings that was so important that it changed at least part of the outcome of the case. Because of this heavy burden on the appellant to prove this type of mistake, it is quite difficult to win an appeal.
Also, keep in mind that filing an appeal does NOT stop the trial court's order. Unless you ask the trial or appellate court to postpone ("stay") the trial court's order, you must do what the trial court's order requires you to do during the appeal. A request for a stay can be complicated, and you may still have to pay some of the money ordered by the trial court upfront. Ask a lawyer if one of these options would be good in your case and get help. But remember that an appeal by itself is NOT a way to put off having to comply with the trial court's order unless a stay is also requested.
The writ is simply a directive from this court to a lower tribunal to do something or stop doing something. Unlike appeals, which are heard as a matter of right, writ relief is deemed extraordinary, equitable and discretionary. Because of this, appellate courts generally grant writ relief only when the petitioner (1) has no other adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law and (2) will suffer irreparable injury if writ relief is not granted.
If the order you intend to challenge is directly appealable, you are considered to have an adequate remedy by law unless you can show special circumstances. Check Code of Civil Procedure section 904.1 to see what orders and judgments are directly appealable; for rulings not covered by that section, you may also wish to look at the cases dealing with the ruling in question to see if the issue was resolved by an appellate opinion or a writ opinion.
The court recognizes that writ petitions are frequently prepared in a hurry by counsel or parties with an emergency or immediate need for relief. As a result, the court takes a relatively informal approach to writ procedure, and most attorneys are unaware of the writ process. Many are not equipped to advise their client that this remedy even exists especially for instances where you have exhausted all trial court options and are left with no appealable order. A writ is a powerful solution of last resort; it's fast, flexible, and may be the only option left to seek justice. The writ is a powerful tool that can be used to challenge just about any action a judge may order including even removing the judge himself from your case if necessary and proper. Because of the unique process, and because it's called an "Extraordinary Writ", there is a great deal of unusual flexibility allowed by appellate courts. For example, the court will treat your petition as having the proper label -- deem it to be a petition for writ of mandate if you mistakenly prayed for writ of habeas corpus -- and may call you even if a critical part of the record is missing. And in Family Law, writs are taken very seriously by the appellate court especially if the best interest of your children are at stake. Family law is one of the few areas of law where certain issues actually require a writ petition to be filed instead of the formal appeal.
There are, however, certain requirements that are crucial to success in getting writ relief. The rules are complex, and the right legal arguments must be asserted for the court to grant review of your petition. Consulting with experienced counsel versed in appellate advocacy is strongly recommended.