Once a final order is entered in their family law matter, many people often wonder whether it is possible to appeal the court’s decision in their case. The answer to this question depends on many factors, including the type of family law case that the party is seeking to appeal and why the party is seeking the appeal. In Georgia, a party’s ability to file an appeal, and the procedure that party must follow in order to file an appeal in a family law matter, depends on the type of case the party wishes to appeal. Certain family law cases are subject to a direct appeal procedure. This means that under Georgia law the party seeking the appeal will automatically be granted an appeal in his or her matter if one is sought. Other cases, however, are subject to a discretionary appeal procedure. With the discretionary appeal procedure, the following requirements must be met before an appeal will be granted:
- The party seeking to appeal must file an application for leave to appeal;
- The application must be filed within the time allotted by law (generally 30 days from the entry of the final order); and
- The application must be determined to be meritorious by a majority of the justices presiding over the appellate court.
See Sup. Ct. R. (34)(4), O.C.G.A. §§ 5-6-34(a)(1) and 5-6-34(d).
Generally, divorce, alimony and child support matters are appealable under the discretionary procedure outlined above. However, child custody matters are directly appealable. See O.C.G.A. 5-6-35(a)(2). It is important for any party seeking to appeal his or her matter, especially if the discretionary appellate procedure applies, to note that if the appellate court finds the application for leave to appeal to be frivolous, a monetary sanction may be imposed for seeking the appeal.
If you are seeking an appeal in your matter, it is essential for you to have a candid discussion with a one of our Georgia family law attorneys. Appeals are very complicated legal matters, even for attorneys, and it is strongly recommended that you discuss your situation and concerns with one of our attorneys as soon as possible because the right to appeal is very time sensitive and even a meritorious appeal can be denied if it is untimely.