In most situations, when a ruling is issued by the courts, litigation over the matter is resolved. Of course, the appeal process allows parties to challenge the outcome of a trial. It may seem like the right to appeal or re-try a matter is something that is available at all times. However, that’s not the case. This is demonstrated in a recent decision from the Court of Appeal for Ontario where one of the parties to a spousal support hearing tried to have the matter heard again with fresh evidence.
Judge orders $905 per month in spousal support
Following a trial that covered a number of issues for the parties who had been married for 15 years, the appellant was ordered to pay $905 per month in spousal support indefinitely to the respondent. In addition, the judge ordered the appellant to pay a $17,419.60 equalization payment.
Once the ruling had been issued, the appellant attempted to reopen the trial and introduce new evidence. The new evidence pertained to the respondent’s potential income and had alleged the respondent-husband had improperly registered a mortgage on their home.
The trial judge did not allow the motion, leading the appellant-wife to appeal on the grounds that the judge erred on a number of grounds, including failing to admit fresh evidence.
Did the trial judge err in not allowing fresh evidence to be admitted?
There were two areas of fresh evidence that the appellant sought to introduce. The first was around an apparent impropriety by the husband’s lawyers who were alleged to have registered a private mortgage against the matrimonial home. The second was that the trial judge had mistakenly thought the appellant had tried to establish the respondent was a master electrician.
It was the appellant’s position that the trial judge should have admitted this fresh evidence and declared a mistrial. She also stated the court should not have awarded costs to the respondent.
Court says evidence would not have changed decision
The court found that the trial judge did not make an error in refusing to admit the new evidence, agreeing with her ruing that even if she had known about the alleged improper mortgage transaction entered into by the husband’s lawyer, the evidence would not have had an impact on her assessment of the evidence. This was because the trial judge had already stated that she thought the respondent’s evidence to be “highly suspect, incongruent, and unreliable.”
In regards to the questions about the trial judge’s mistaken belief about the respondent’s income as a master electrician, the court agreed with the judge in that there would not be any change to the income she imputed to the respondent.
The decision raises the importance of making sure that all evidence one intends to introduce during a trial is done so at the right time. In addition, it’s critical that people involved in family law disputes work with their lawyers to ensure that only the avenues likely to result in a positive outcome for their client are followed.
To learn more about our approach and to discuss your legal needs with one of our Windsor family law lawyers, call 519.973.1500, get started now or contact us online. We serve clients in Windsor, Essex County and throughout the region.