An Overview of the Dependency Appeal Process

A San Diego lawyer with more than two decades of experience, Terry Chucas has represented clients in complex and high-conflict divorce cases in the Superior Court of San Diego. Terry Chucas holds an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and currently works on appeals cases in dependency court.

Dependency court cases involve a situation where a child has been removed from a home due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment. Once the judge has made the dependency decision, an appellate court will hear any appeals. The appeals process entails a thorough review of all records from the trial court proceedings, which includes attorney-written briefs, hearings, and papers filed with the court.

The purpose of the review is to verify that no legal errors were made and that the court correctly understood the law. Because an appeal is not a new trial, an appellate court will generally not accept new evidence or allow new witnesses to testify. Once it has fully reviewed the case, the appellate court can affirm the trial court’s judgment, modify the judgment, or review the judgment either fully or in part. If the judgment is reversed, it returns to the trial court for retrial.