Do you have grounds to appeal?

If you believe the judge has made a serious error in their decision, you may appeal that decision to a higher court.

A serious error would be an error of law or a substantial error on the facts.

Example of error of law:  You applied for a child support for your child who is 20 years old and in University.  The judge decided that you could not ask for child support because your child was over 18 years of age. However, the Family Law Act says you can apply for child support for a child over 18 if they are in full time attendance at school.

Example of error of fact:  You applied for a parenting order.  You want the children to live primarily with you.  The judge decided that the children should live primarily with the other parent.  The main reason given by the judge was that you are moving to Los Angeles .  However, although your evidence in court was that you were moving to L.A, but you meant Leduc, Alberta, not Los Angeles.

Remember that the judge’s job is to make a decision on the facts that are presented in court, and based on the law.  In most cases, one of the parties will not agree with the decision made.  Just because you do not agree with the decision does not give you grounds to appeal. 

Example of a decision that would not give you grounds to appeal:  You applied for a parenting order, as you and the other parent could not agree on where the children should go after school on Wednesdays.  You want them to be with you.  The other parent wants them to go to dance classes on Wednesdays.  The judge decided that it was in the children’s best interests to go to dance classes.

You should talk to a lawyer before making the decision to appeal.

Are you on time to appeal?

There is a very short time period in which to file your appeal.  Read the instructions with the particular appeals below to find out the time period.
If you have missed your time to appeal, talk to a lawyer to find out if, in your case, the time can be extended. 

Be prepared to pay the cost involved with an appeal
Sometimes there is a fee to be paid to file the appeal.  In some cases you will need to order and pay for the transcripts of the court hearing that you are wanting to appeal.  In other cases, you will have to have appeal books prepared in the proper format for the court.

If you are not successful on the appeal, the court is likely to order that you pay costs to the other party – that is, that you reimburse them for the lawyers fees and other expenses associated with the appeal.

Know which statute you are appealing under

There are different forms and steps to follow, depending upon the statute that your original application was made under, and the court that made the decision.