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Duncan Basheer Hannon

- 25 Mar 2015
  • Family Law

A break in the law: How binding are Family Court decisions?

Having a Court make a decision about your family arrangements can be a scary thing.

What if you think the judge has made a mistake? Is there anything you can do?

Well, the good news is you can appeal; the bad news is, there are some limits including that your appeal must be lodged within 28 days of the original decision.

An appeal is not just a rehearing of the original dispute. So, to be successful, you will need to prove that the judge made an error. You should seek legal advice before deciding to appeal a judgement.

What about if you can’t or don’t want to appeal the judge’s ruling or some time after the ruling you believe that it is necessary or desirable to vary the Order? What do you do then?

With a Property Order, which is an order that divides up your assets, you can apply to the have it set aside. This can only be achieved under limited circumstances such as where there has been fraud, giving false evidence, a change in circumstances or one party not complying with the existing Order.

You then need to prove that had this new information been available or had the fraud not been committed that it would have led to the judge to make a different decision.

With a Parenting Order, which is an Order that outlines children’s arrangements like where they will live and when they will visit the other parent, you will need to prove to the court that there has been a substantial change in circumstances or that information was withheld when the original decision was made.

You can also apply to have Parenting Order varied if your former partner is not complying with an existing Order or you are planning to move away.

Remember, you have the right to challenge any Order of a Family Law Judge if you believe he/she has made the wrong decision.

If you want to appeal a Family Court Order or apply to vary an existing Order, speak to a lawyer as soon as possible as any delay may affect the success of your application.