When a Divorce Judgment is Final How Long Do I Have to Appeal?

The right to appeal your divorce judgment is governed entirely by statute in California. The filing of an appeal turns jurisdiction over to the appellate court, except on matters such as custody and child support, where the trial court has continuing jurisdiction.

Once a judgment becomes final, a notice of appeal must be filed on or before the earliest of the following dates:

  • 60 days after you receive "Notice of Entry" of judgment from the court or a file stamped copy of the judgment showing the date was mailed. A Notice of Entry of judgment is a form that must be completed and submitted along with the judgment. Once the judgment is approved by the court, the court clerk then mails the "Notice of Entry" form to the attorney for each party or to the party representing himself/herself.
  • 60 days after the appellant serves or is served with a Notice of Entry or a file stamped copy of the judgment accompanied by a proof of service.
  • 180 days after the date of entry of the judgment.

Failure to file a notice of appeal within the required time frame may result in a waiver of your right to appeal. However, there are ways to extend the deadline, such as filing a motion for a new trial or motion to vacate the judgment.

The filing of an appeal turns jurisdiction over to the appellate court, except on matters such as custody and child support, where the trial court has continuing jurisdiction.

Motion for a New Trial

A motion for a new trial extends the appeal time until:

1. 30 days after the clerk mails or a party serves an order denying the motion or a Notice of Entry

2. 30 days after denial of the motion by operation of law

3. 180 days after the entry of judgment

The motion must be timely filed, and the new trial grounds must be sufficiently stated and served in a timely manner to the other party.

Motion to Vacate a Judgment

A motion to vacate judgment or enter a new judgment, if timely served and filed, will also extend the time to file an appeal until earlier than:

1. 30 days after the clerk mails or a party serves an order denying the motion or Notice of Entry

2. 90 days after the first notice of intention to move or motion to vacate is filed

3. 180 days after the entry of judgment

However, once a notice of appeal has been filed, the court does NOT have jurisdiction to hear a motion to vacate judgment. If you file a motion to vacate, it must be adjudicated and determined before filing a notice of appeal.

The normal filing deadline for a notice of appeal applies to amended or void judgments as well. If the court amends a judgment before the appeal period expires, then the time to file an appeal runs from the amended judgment's notice of entry. If the original judgment is reinstated, then a new appeal period begins on the date the court declares the amended judgment void.

Filing a notice of appeal is expensive and a very specialized area of law. It's recommended you consult with an appellate attorney who can assist you with your appeal. Depending on the issues at hand, most family attorneys, including those at Dishon & Block, can either file a notice of appeal on your behalf or refer you to an appellate attorney if needed.

 

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California Divorce Guide


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