What do I need to know about appealing a family court decision?
In most cases, a person has the right to appeal a final order made by a judge in Ontario with respect to their family court decision. An appeal involves 3 judges from either the Divisional Court of the Court of Appeal for Ontario deciding whether the original judge made an error. Not all errors will result in an appeal being allowed. Where the judge is just deciding who he or she believes, an appeal court will usually give deference to that decision. That means they will not overturn that decision unless a major error has been found – in legal parlance a “palpable and overriding error.” However, on an issue of law, the original judge has to be correct and no deference is owed. Judges are not perfect; they do sometimes make mistakes. However, simply because a person does not like a decision or does not feel it is “fair” does not mean that decision can be successfully appealed.
Appeals are an extremely complicated area of law. Unlike lower court cases, appeals are usually done under a different set of procedural rules and with different forms. These rules are not familiar to all lawyers who regularly practice family law. Preparing for and arguing an appeal is very challenging for any person to do without a lawyer.
Michael H. Tweyman has been successful on appeals at all levels of courts in Ontario and can help with all aspects of an appeal. He is able to provide guidance about the risks and benefits of pursuing any appeal. Contact him at [email protected] to set up a consultation by calling 647-DIVORCE.
Michael also offers an appeal starter package. For $1,499 + HST, Michael will speak with you for up to 30 minutes, review the original court decision including the judge’s reasons, provide an opinion about the proposed appeal, and complete the notice of appeal for you to start the appeal. Contact him to find out more.