California child support orders typically remain in effect at least until the child reaches the age of 18, which means that even a small error of $100 a month in either direction could add up to over $20,000 in the aggregate, and a larger error on the scope of $1,000 a month means hundreds of thousands of dollars over the long run. Thus, if you believe that the judge in your child support matter made an incorrect ruling on the law - either in awarding too little or in awarding too much - it often makes sense to take steps to appeal the child support ruling.
When a California Child Support Appeal is Appropriate
By appealing your child support ruling, you are asking a panel of judges at an appellate court - which is the court that sits above the family trial court that made the child support order - to overrule the initial decision because the judge made an error based on the applicable law. Thus, you will need to have a compelling argument that the judge did indeed make an incorrect decision on the law applicable to the case, which is different from saying that the judge failed to take into consideration certain facts or that you simply thought the ruling was unfair to you and/or your child. Appeals must also be made within 60 days of the initial ruling.
If your ruling was made within the past 10 days, and you believe that the judge failed to take into consideration facts or circumstances that were not available to him or her - or that the law applied was wrong - then a motion for reconsideration by the same judge is probably more appropriate.
If the judge applied the law correctly and/or more than several months have passed since the original order, but there has been a significant change in your circumstances or those of the other parent (a job loss, an increase in income, etc.) which necessitates a change in the child support order, then a request for modification of the child support order is likely more appropriate.
Appealing Your Child Support Ruling
If an appeal of your child support ruling is the appropriate next step, then you should work with an experienced California family law attorney who can: 1) review the original trial record to determine whether the judge did in fact make errors in the original application of the law which would justify an appellate court overturning the original order; 2) draft a detailed appellate brief to the appellate court that explains exactly how the trial judge was incorrect in applying the law; and 3) argue to the appellate court in support of your request for a change in the original order.
Experienced Representation in Your California Child Support Matter
At Kearney | Baker, our Pasadena family law attorneys have 60 years of combined experience in reaching positive outcomes on behalf of our clients in child support matters. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your circumstances.