Appealing a family court decision

The family court has made its decision but you don’t like it. What can you do?

Usually, whatever the court decides is final. However, there are a few circumstances when you can appeal to try to change the decision.

Can I appeal?

You'll only be allowed to appeal if:

  • the judge made a serious mistake, or
  • the judge didn’t follow the correct procedure


  • you have permission from the court to appeal, and
  • you are within the time limit (usually 21 days of the decision unless otherwise said)

You can't appeal just because you disagree with the outcome.

How do I appeal?

You have to ask the judge or the court for permission to appeal.

You’re very likely to need legal help to do this, because appeals can be complicated. They can also be expensive, and you may have to pay the other side's costs if the appeal fails.

Do I have any other options?

If you’re unhappy with the terms of a court order, another option is to try to change them instead of appealing.

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