How Do I File An Appeal?

Assert your rights in the most effective way possible

How Do I File an Appeal in Southern California?

Understanding the Appellate Process

Appealing a case can be very complicated. At Holstrom, Block, and Parke, a Professional Law Corporation, our team of qualified, experienced appellate attorneys can help prepare your case for an appeal and file all of the required information on your behalf.

Although it is possible to file an appeal without an attorney, we do not recommend that path to anyone. An experienced attorney can help you assert your rights in the most effective way possible, which will increase your chances of obtaining a favorable result. Regardless of whether you choose to obtain counsel or try it on your own, it is helpful to have an overview of the appeals process.

The first step in the appeals process is to file a Notice of Appeal. This notice lets the court and the other party know that you intend to appeal the court’s decision. There are specific timing deadlines for this appeal to be valid. If you do not meet these requirements, then your appeal will be dismissed automatically.

Appeal Fees

The party who appeals is known as the “Appellant.” The party that you are appealing against is called the “Respondent.” The Appellant must pay a filing fee to actually file their appeal to the Court of Appeal Clerk. There is an application to avoid these fees, but waiving these fees is only granted in extremely egregious circumstances. In family law cases, the fee is $775, with a $100 deposit (as of June 2015). The Appeals Court may adjust this fee from time to time.

Designation of Record

Part of the role of the Appeals Court is to review the entire case as it was presented in the lower court. That means that all of information that was presented to the lower court, including evidence and testimony, must be sent to the Appeals Court. The transcript of the actual trial will also be sent.

All of this information is called a “record.” The Appeals Court is not permitted to consider additional evidence (except in extremely rare circumstances), so they base their decisions on the record provided. The Appellant can designate certain information to include, but often the entire record is sent to the appeals court.


The parties will receive a confirmation from the Court of Appeals when all of this information has been received and processed. The parties can then file briefs in support of their arguments. The brief will contain an overview of the facts, the law that applies in this particular situation, and the party’s arguments.

The parties must adhere to strict timing guidelines, formatting guidelines, and other rules when creating and filing their briefs. Parties are also generally permitted at least one reply brief to respond to the opposing party’s arguments.