Family Law Appeals

In family appeal cases, one side is often disappointed by the outcome and may wish to retain a Family Appeal Lawyer to review the decision to see if an error occurred in the proceedings and the reasons for decisions. Statistics indicate that at least one third of family law appeals are at least partially successful.

Before appealing, a careful analysis of the decision should be done. The Court of Appeal will further expect the appellant, and where the respondent is also appealing, to clearly state the nature of the decision-maker’s error.

Further, the Court of Appeal has different standards of review for different types of errors, reflecting their deference to the decision-maker, who often has the opportunity to physically see the parties in court, whereas the Court of Appeal largely reviews the transcripts and other materials filed.

For example, if the decision-maker makes a determination of pure law, the standard is correctness, or whether or not the decision-maker was correct about what the law is. If the decision is one of fact – for example, the credibility of a witness’ testimony, the standard is usually a “palpable and overriding” error, or an unmistakable error that would change the decision.

Spouses should also be aware that there are different rules for appealing, depending on the court in which the original decision was made. Further, depending on the court appealed to, there are different time limits for both filing the appeal and to complete the steps required afterwards. All of these rules must be strictly adhered to, lest the appeal fail for procedural reasons. MacLean Family Law has many experienced lawyers who can advise on whether an appeal should be pursued, and if so, how to ensure it is done properly and in a timely way.