How can decisions of the family court be appealed?

The family court deals with an array of important matters, such as divorce, child custody and child support issues. Typically, the judge will examine the case as thoroughly as possible and come to a ruling they deem to be equitable.

Perhaps you have been on the wrong side of a ruling that you consider to be harsh or mistaken. Must you follow the ruling without question, or do you have a right of appeal?

In short, the answer is yes, you can appeal. However, appeals are only possible under certain circumstances. Outlined below are some more specific examples of when an appeal may be allowed.

Appeals based on legal errors

While judges do have some discretion in family court proceedings, they must apply legal principles to their rulings. For instance, decisions regarding child custody should be based on “the best interests of the child” standards. If the court came to a decision without acknowledging this standard but instead cited an irrelevant case, this could be a valid ground for appeal.

Appeals based on abuse of power

Judges do have power — but with that power comes a responsibility to exercise this power within the confines of the law. Judges are expected to act with integrity at all times. In rare circumstances, a judge may abuse their position and act in an inappropriate manner. For instance, there may be a conflict of interest because they know one of the parties to the case, subsequently ruling in their favor. If something like this has happened to you, then you may be able to lodge an appeal.

Civil appeals can be very complex, and they are not something you should take on your own. Thus, it’s important to reach out for some legal guidance before making your next move.


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