Court of Appeals of Georgia.

Attorney(s) appearing for the Case

JAMES P. SLETTELAND, for Appellant.

Kathleen Burt Connell , for Appellee.


On December 2, 2016, the trial court issued a final order directing James P. Sletteland to pay $1050.00 per month in child support. Sletteland, proceeding pro se, filed a notice of appeal on January 5, 2017. Sletteland also filed an application for discretionary appeal, which we denied. Case No. A17D0230 (denied Jan. 30, 2017). We lack jurisdiction for a number of reasons.

First, Sletteland does not have a right to direct appeal. Because the order Sletteland seeks to appeal involves child support, it is a domestic relations matter within the meaning of OCGA § 5-6-35 (a) (2). See Booker v. Ga. Dept. of Human Resources, 317 Ga.App. 426 (731 S.E.2d 110) (2012). Appeals in such matters must be taken by application for discretionary appeal. See Smoak v. Dept. of Human Resources, 221 Ga.App. 257 (471 S.E.2d 60) (1996). Sletteland's failure to follow the appropriate appellate procedure deprives us of jurisdiction to consider an appeal from that order. Id.

Second, Sletteland previously filed a discretionary application challenging the child support order. That application was denied. Because the denial of Sletteland's application constitutes an adjudication on the merits, the doctrine of res judicata bars this direct appeal. See Northwest Social & Civic Club, Inc. v. Franklin, 276 Ga. 859, 860 (583 S.E.2d 858) (2003); Hook v. Bergen, 286 Ga.App. 258, 260-261 (1) (649 S.E.2d 313) (2007).

Finally, even if Sletteland did have a right to directly appeal the child support order, his appeal is untimely. OCGA § 5-6-38 (a) requires that a notice of appeal be filed within 30 days of entry of the order on appeal. The proper and timely filing of a notice of appeal is an absolute requirement to confer jurisdiction upon this Court. Couch v. United Paperworkers Intl. Union, 224 Ga.App. 721 (482 S.E.2d 704) (1997). Because Sletteland's notice of appeal was filed 34 days after entry of the final order, this appeal is untimely.

For these reasons, Sletteland's direct appeal is hereby DISMISSED.


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