Sections 2 and 3 of HB 369 deal with the area of appeals. I have previously posted on these features of the bill here.
Prior to the passage of this bill, for many years in Georgia, family law cases have been, for the most part, subject to discretionary appeals procedures. That is, if a litigant wanted to appeal a decision in a divorce or child custody case, he or she typically had to file an application for appeal, requesting permission for the appellate court to appeal. Parties in other types of civil cases were allowed to appeal automatically (these cases were called “direct appeal” cases).
There has been an effort so several years to restore the rights of direct appeal in family law cases. Section 2 of the bill makes an inroad on that effort by providing that “All judgments or orders in child custody cases including, but not limited to, awarding or refusing to change child custody or holding or declining to hold persons in contempt of such child custody judgment or orders" are now directly appealable. Section 3 provides a corresponding deletion of child custody cases from those which must be appealed, if at all, only by application, as well as adding to that list of discretionary appeals, “Appeals from orders terminating parental rights.”