Family Court Appeal Process
There are instances in family law disputes where the party who lost may disagree with the court decision and believes that it should be reviewed so that the decision may be changed or reversed. In this scenario, an unsuccessful party may choose to file a Notice of Appeal. If an appeal is successful, the appeal court will not merely overturn a decision of a lower court, they will also shed light on what errors were made in the application and understanding of the facts or the law by the judge.
The laws and procedures which apply to family law appeals are procedurally and substantively complex. At Thomas and Associates, we have vast experience in dealing with family law appeals. In the past, we have successfully appealed decisions related to child custody, maintenance orders, pensions and division of property.
What is an Appeal?
At the end of a court case (also known as a “proceeding”), a Judge or Justice will make a final decision. If a Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia makes the final decision, it may be possible to file an appeal to the Court of Appeal with the goal of having that decision reversed or changed. In certain circumstances, the Court of Appeal may also order a new trial or hearing.
An appeal itself is not a new trial. There are no witnesses or juries and an appellant may not introduce new evidence unless the appeal court allows it. While the appeal process is ongoing – this includes filing the relevant paperwork for an appeal, preparing for the hearing, and waiting for the appeal decision -, the decision that was made by the lower court remains in effect, unless and until it is overturned or changed by the Court of Appeal. That being said, if certain conditions are met it is possible to apply for a “stay of proceedings” (that is to have the court case stopped) until the appeal is heard.
Appealing Decisions from the Provincial Court of BC to the Supreme Court of BC
Sometimes, the Provincial Court of BC judge makes a final decision that a party in the court case feels is wrong. In this scenario, the proper avenue of appeal is to the Supreme Court of BC. A Notice of Appeal must be filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia within 40 days of the date the Provincial Court made the final decision. As with appeals to the Court of Appeal, no new evidence can be introduced without permission of the court.
An appeal is not an opportunity to simply have another judge hear your case with the hope that he or she will come to a different conclusion. You must show a proper legal reason why the judge who made the original decision was wrong.
Why Choose Thomas and Associate for Your Family Law Appeals?
From time to time at the conclusion of a proceeding, either of the parties may want to have the decision reviewed by a higher court. The decision can be changed or reversed by way of appeal.
Trials, and specifically family law trials, are exhausting both materially and psychologically. It is important to note that family law appeals are not only costly but are also extremely complicated. There are important things to consider when it comes to filing family law appeals such as if the Order is appealable or not, the time limits for appeals, payment of the filing fees and many more.
With over 38 years of combined experience in family law, the team at Thomas and Associates can help you decide whether to proceed with an appeal by taking into consideration all the pros and cons. We will take time and effort to review the facts of your case and the applicable law to determine whether a judge has made an error.