No Help for Pro Per Appellant

In an unpublished case yesterday from San Diego, In re Marriage of Fields & Cook (D063832), the Court not only reiterated the burdens faced by all appellants but also reminded pro per appellants the Court will not do their job for them: As we have noted, an appellant has the burden of providing an adequate record and of showing that error occurred and that it was prejudicial. (Maria P. v. Riles (1987) 43 Cal.3d 1281, 1295-1296.) Being self-represented does not reduce these burdens. (Wantuch v. Davis (1995) 32 Cal.App.4th 786, 795.) In appeals challenging discretionary trial court rulings, an appellant has the burden of making a clear showing of abuse of discretion. (Hernandez v. City of Encinitas (1994) 28 Cal.App.4th 1048, 1077.) The appellate court is not obliged to search the record to find support for the appellant's contentions. (Niko v. Foreman (2006) 144 Cal.App.4th 344, 368 [noting one "cannot simply say the court erred, and leave it up to the appellate court to figure out why"].) Court rules also require that each point be stated "under a separate heading or subheading summarizing the point." (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.204(a)(1)(B).)Cook does not state his arguments in separate headings nor does he identify specific instances of prejudicial error by the family court. In addition, at the RFO hearing in the family court, Cook's counsel did not raise many of the issues Cook raises in propria persona on appeal, including Cook's claim of judicial bias. As such, Cook has forfeited his right to appeal on a number of issues. (See Telles Transport, Inc. v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd. (2001) 92 Cal.App.4th 1159, 1167.) We nonetheless will exercise our discretion and reach the merits of the issues he raises, where appropriate. The Court did discuss several of the issues Cook raised, possibly in an attempt to forestall further litigation in the trial court, but rejected them all. Pleas of "I'm not a lawyer, you Honor. I'm doing the best I can," and attempts to convince a Court of Appeal to rule in your favor because you have been wiped out financially by the opposition, requiring you to appear pro per, are high speed train to a loss. If your case is worth appealing, it is worth finding an appellate attorney to do it correctly. Failing that, spend some long hours in the law library and on-line reviewing practice guides so you can comply with the basic appellate rules and practices. The Second District in Los Angeles has helpful information: http://www.courts.ca.gov/2148.htm