What to do if you disagree with a family law commissioner's order in WA
First, act quickly! You have a right to request that the commissioner who issued the order reconsider the order. You can also ask a judge to revise the order. However, if you want to exercise one of these options, you must file within 10 days of the day the order was entered.
When is it appropriate to file for reconsideration?A family law commissioner is unlikely to change his or her mind about a ruling. However, if the commissioner made a mistake in the family law order or you come upon newly discovered evidence that you could not have with reasonable diligence discovered before the hearing, reconsideration may be worth a try. For specific information on filing for reconsideration, be sure to check your local rules and WA state statute.
When is it appropriate to file for a revision?A Superior Court judge generally will not overturn the decision of a family law court commissioner. However, if you believe that a court commissioner's decision is unfair based on the evidence before the court at the time the ruling was made, revision may be appropriate. Unlike reconsideration, no new evidence may be presented on revision. Also unlike reconsideration, a revision hearing is usually "de novo." "De novo" literally means the hearing is to be tried anew. An exception to the "de novo" standard of review occurs when the commissioner made findings based upon the commissioner's evaluation of the credibility of live testimony. In this case, the judge reviews the commissioner's findings of fact related to that testimony for substantial evidence. For specific information on filing for a revision, check both you local court rules and WA statute.