Georgia law currently provides that appeals in family law cases are, for the most part, discretionary and must be filed by application seeking permission from the appellate court to appeal the order of the trial court. The Supreme Court of Georgia has attempted to address criticism of this rule (and to blunt eforts to restore the right of direct appeal in such cases) by its Domestic Relations Pilot Project (which has been extended to June 30, 2007), under which the Court will automaticaly accept all discretionary appeals in domestic relations cases which are not frivolous.
The efforts in the legislature to restore direct appeals in these very important cases has continued, though.
In SB 382 as introduced in 2006, the right of direct appeal would have been restored, but the appeals provisiosn were removed on the last day of the session in order to obtain passage of the Child Support Guidelines legislation.
All judgments or orders in divorce, alimony, child custody, and other domestic relations cases including, but not limited to, granting or refusing a divorce or temporary or permanent alimony, awarding or refusing to change child custody, or holding or declining to hold persons in contempt of such alimony or child custody judgment or orders."
In the bill which was passed, as a Rules Committee substitute, on March 27, 2007, this language survived, at least as to cases involving child custody. Other domestic relations typoes of cases remain subject to discretionary appeal procedures. Interestingly enough, the right to appeal orders terminating parental rights was also newly included in the list of cases requiring an application for appeal.