The respondent has a window of time to submit their response to a family law application. The applicant may ask the judge to schedule an uncontested trial, which prevents the respondent from participating in the proceedings; if they fail to provide the required documents within the time limit. This indicates that the case will be argued in the absence of the respondent and will proceed without his or her input. There is a possibility that the court might not have all of the information it needs to make a decision for a respondent, which could lead to outcomes that are detrimental to the respondent. Can a respondent try to have the order overturned in this situation?
A trial that is uncontested is one in which only the party making the claim presents evidence and makes arguments. A respondent can’t take
part in the proceedings because of this, which could have a big effect on the outcome. However, the Court cautioned in Obhan v. Chana that even if a respondent has not provided an Answer, the applicant still needs to make sure that the appropriate evidence is filed so that judges can make the right order.
In the case of Kowalski v. Asselin-Kowalski, the appellant sought to appeal a final order granting equalization, spousal support, and child support over ten years earlier because of a number of unusual circumstances. The appellant’s mental health issues were the cause of the significant delay. The issues were first dealt with in a trial that took place in her absence in 2007 despite the fact that her brother informed the court that she was ill and could not attend. She also did not take part in the subsequent motion to overturn the final order, which was denied.
The appellant argued that the final orders should be overturned because she was mentally and physically unable to attend the proceedings. The appellant wanted to present new evidence that included her financial statements, psychological evaluation, and medical history. The Court accepted the new evidence because it was crucial to the appeal and could not have been presented prior to the initial trial. In order to avoid an unfair outcome, the original order might need to be overturned if new evidence provided an explanation for her absence from the trial.
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