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July 29
Public Hearing on Budget
July 29
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August 5
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September 3
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Welcome to the Official Madison County Georgia Government Web Site
Probate Court

Telephone: 706-795-6365
Fax: 706-795-5933
Map & Directions
Email: ccross@madisonco.us

About Us:

 Image result for scales of justice

                           Madison County Probate Court

Judge Cody Cross

     Jill Rutledge-Wright, Associate Judge, Chief Clerk 

Keilah Dalton, Chief Deputy Clerk

Summer Araujo, Deputy Probate Court Clerk

Halyn Arnold, Deputy Probate Court Clerk

Please do not hesitate to call or appear in person if we may be of assistance.

Telephone - 706-795-6365

OFFICE HOURS ARE 8 A.M. - 5 P.M., MONDAY-FRIDAY, EXCLUDING STATE/COUNTY HOLIDAYS.  WE DO NOT CLOSE FOR LUNCH.

 

The Probate Court has jurisdiction over estate and guardianship/conservatorship matters and issues various licenses and vital records.  Madison County Probate Court has jurisdiction over misdemeanor traffic offenses and game and fish violations.

Certain public Madison County Probate Court records (2017 and later)can be viewed at https://www.georgiaprobaterecords.com/default.aspx  All public records prior to 2017 are available for viewing at the office.  Records posted online include probate records, marriage records, Death Index, Probate Court traffic court docket and dispositions, and the docket of wills filed for safekeeping with the Madison County Probate Court.  Certain records such as adult and minor guardianship cases are, by law, confidential and not available for public viewing.  

WEAPONS CARRY LICENSE

To apply for a Weapons Carry License you must present a photo ID with a current/valid address.  The application fee for a new license is $76.00.  The cost for a renewal is $30.00 if no more than 30 days have passed since the expiration date.   Applicants must be at least 21 years old and a resident of Madison County, or 18-20 years old if active military and basic training has been completed.  Your photograph will be taken at the time of the application and will appear on your Weapons Carry License.  After application is made and if approved, the license will be mailed to you, usually within two weeks.  ****Please note that refunds cannot be given once the application has been submitted, even if the application is denied.

***** On-Line Weapons Carry License application - For your convenience, the application for a Weapons Carry License may be submitted to the court by using the link below.  Once submitted, you must come to the Probate Court to complete the process within 5 days.

https://www.georgiaprobaterecords.com/landing.aspx?CountyNo=095&page=WCL

 

MARRIAGE LICENSE

To apply for a Marriage License both parties must present a photo ID. Both parties must be at least 18 years of age.  Per GA law, persons that are 17 years old may marry with the consent of both parents (both parents must appear in person before the court).  If either party has been previously married, the party must present a certified document proving the dissolution of the previous marriage (Death certificate or certified copy of final divorce decree). The cost for a marriage license is $67.00.  The cost of the marriage license is $27.00 if, at the time of filing for the marriage license, you provide proof of 6 hours of certified marriage counseling.   Any Georgia resident may obtain a license in Madison County.  Non-residents of GA must obtain the marriage license in the county in which the marriage will occur. The Madison County Probate Court does not perform marriage ceremonies.

**** Online application for Marriage License :  For your convenience, you may submit your marriage license application electronically by using the link below.  Once submitted, both parties must come to the probate court within 5 days to complete the application.

https://www.georgiaprobaterecords.com/landing.aspx?CountyNo=095&page=ML

**** CERTIFIED COPIES OF YOUR MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE :  If you originally purchased your marriage license in Madison County and need a certified copy you may click the link below to complete the request and it will be mailed directly to you.

https://www.feepayonline.com/certificates/default.aspx?CourtID=MzE=

BIRTH AND DEATH CERTIFICATES

Birth Certificates can be issued to an immediate family member with a valid photo ID. The cost of a birth certificate is $25 for the first copy and $5.00 for each additional copy received at the same time.

 Death Certificates can be issued to immediate family members or a person expressing a valid business need.  Death Certificates cost $25.00 for the first copy with an additional $5.00 fee for each additional copy received at the same time of purchase.

WILLS FOR SAFEKEEPING

We will gladly file your will for safekeeping in our vault at no cost.

 

MENTAL HEALTH EVALUATIONS

For any Mental Health emergency please call 911 and/or contact the Mental Health Crisis Center Hotline at 800-715-4225. Please note that Orders to Apprehend for mental health or drug and/or alcohol evaluations must strictly meet certain criteria.  A Petition for an Order to Apprehend for an evaluation must be completed in person at the Probate Court office and sworn to by two or more individuals having personally witnessed a crisis.  The Petition must be filed within 48 hours after witnessing a crisis.  A formal hearing is held on all mental health petitions.

TRAFFIC / MISDEMEANOR VIOLATIONS

Traffic citations may be paid in person at the Probate Court office using cash/ money order/ or Visa/MasterCard. An additional fee is assessed by the vendor to processes credit/debit cards. Payments cannot be accepted by telephone and checks cannot be accepted for traffic citations. Certain minor traffic citations may be paid online at  https://www.ezcourtpay.com/Tix/Default.aspx .

Traffic arraignments are held once per month. Please call the court for arraignment and/or bench trial dates.

The Judge and Probate Court staff may not participate in the negotiation of a traffic case.  Furthermore, they cannot discuss the specific details surrounding an arrest or the issuance of a citation.  Any defendant under the age of 21 will not be allowed to pay their fine prior to the court date and must appear in court on the given court date.

At the initial arraignment each defendant will be informed of his/her rights and each defendant must enter a plea of either guilty, not guilty, or NOLO to the charge(s).  The court exercises discretion in accepting NOLO pleas.  The court will not accept a NOLO plea to the charge of D.U.I.  

If a defendant enters a plea of not guilty the defendant must choose between a bench trial or a jury trial.  All defendants will have the opportunity to speak with the public defender and/or prosecutor prior to entering a plea on the day of court. 

Failure to appear on the court date at the time specified on the bond contract or citation will result in the issuance of a bench warrant and/or a license suspension.  No requests for a continuance will be granted by phone.  A request for a continuance may only be made in person at the initial court appearance.  Generally, only one continuance will be granted, and will only be granted with good cause shown.

 

PROBATE COURT STANDARD FORMS

Below is a link to the Probate Court Standard Forms.  Please note that a standard form is not available for all proceedings.  An attorney is recommended, but not required, for any probate court filing.  The link to the website below also provides valuable information regarding Adult and Minor Guardianships and Conservatorships.  http://gaprobate.gov/content/2016-2017-fillable-pdf-standard-forms

 

 It is recommended that you seek legal advice from an attorney before proceeding with any Probate or Traffic matter.  If you choose to proceed without an attorney, you will be required to complete all necessary petitions,  discovery, motions and/or subsequent filings.  The Judge and staff cannot, by law, offer legal advice or decide which filing may be appropriate.  Please read the section below titled "Proceeding Without An Attorney In Probate Court" for more information.

PROCEEDING WITHOUT AN ATTORNEY IN THE PROBATE COURT

Many of the filings in the Probate court require the use of standard forms, established by law, which may be obtained online or in person from the court. There are no standard forms for the filing of many actions such as caveats, objections and answers or responses to motions and pleadings for discovery. Each filing, or form filed with the court, has a required filing fee that must be paid in full at the time of filing, unless a Paupers Affidavit is filed at the same time. These fees are not set by the court, but by the state of Georgia.

You are not required to have an attorney to file any action in the Probate Court, but you are encouraged to seek legal advice for any action filed in court. If you proceed without an attorney you will be required to select and file the action best suited for your needs. There are many types of petitions and filings that may be filed on any estate or guardianship matter. The Probate Court staff may NOT, by law, select or advise which petition or filing is best suited for your needs. 

 All forms and filings must be typed or neatly printed in a legible format with blue ink and must be complete and accurate. Petitions or filings that contain illegible writing will not be accepted. The staff of this court will gladly schedule hearings and try to answer any questions about filing or procedural issues with this court. They cannot offer any assistance with filling out the forms.
 
The Probate Court gladly provides copies of the Georgia Probate Court Standard Forms as required by law. These forms are printed or reproduced at taxpayers’ expense; therefore, unless a true need is demonstrated, only one set of a requested form will be provided.  The standard forms are primarily for use in the initial filing of new proceedings. There is not a standard form for every possible proceeding or pleading which may be filed in probate courts. In particular, there are no standard forms for the filing of most objections, caveats, answers or responses or for the many motions and discovery pleadings which may be filed.
 
If you proceed without an attorney, it will be your responsibility to determine or select the proceeding appropriate to your situation. The staff of the Probate Court may not make the determination or selection for you, since to do so may constitute the unauthorized practice of law, a misdemeanor crime under Georgia law. Neither the Court nor the County can accept responsibility for incorrect decisions made by the staff, and they have been directed to refrain from giving that kind of advice.
 It will be your responsibility to properly complete all forms – including court forms and orders, which must either be typed or legibly printed in blue ink, and to assure the sufficiency and accuracy of all required information. Illegible forms will not be accepted. The staff  are not permitted to perform clerical tasks for the public and cannot accept responsibility for determining the legal sufficiency of the information required for any proceeding or form. The staff will be able to answer any basic questions about the standard forms and about any deadlines for the filing of proceedings. They will also be able to schedule uncontested hearings and tell you how other matters are scheduled by the Court.
 The Probate Judge is required to remain impartial to all parties. The Judge must treat every case as though it may become contested. Therefore, the Judge also may not advise you on which proceeding is the most appropriate to your case. The Judge is prohibited from discussing the facts or evidence in any case with one party unless all parties are present or represented. You should not ask to discuss your case privately with the Judge, and you should understand if the Judge stops any discussion which appears to require the presence of others.
 Furthermore, if you proceed without an attorney, it will be your responsibility to make arrangements for personal service on all persons upon whom personal service is required, to assure the filing of a proper return of service on all such persons, to assure the publication of any notices not performed by the court or its staff, and to secure the presence of or interrogatories from any witnesses whose testimony is necessary under law or desired by you for the presentation of your case. If the matter is contested, it will be your further responsibility to prepare yourself and your case for trial, including the pursuit of and response to discovery. On Year’s Support filings the court cannot assume responsibility for the completion of any information in the petition, including the required PT-61. You will be responsible for completing all requirements, including service.
 PENALTIES FOR FILING FRIVOLOUS PLEADINGS, ETC.
 Caution is particularly given to persons representing themselves in court that there are provisions under Georgia law for the assessment of penalties against anyone who files false, frivolous, vexatious or groundless pleadings. These penalties may include the dismissal of such pleadings, the assessment of costs of court and attorney’s fees against the offending party, and other remedies appropriate to the particular case. Additionally, there are similar penalties for the failure or refusal, without just cause, to respond to proper discovery requests.
 Generally, one must have “legal grounds” for objecting to or for filing a caveat to a probate proceeding. Because of the penalty provisions briefly discussed above, it is especially recommended that legal advice be sought before the filing of an objection or caveat to a pending probate proceeding.
 COURT COSTS
 There is a cost set by law for the filing of every new probate proceeding, as well as for most pleadings filed after the initial filing, including objections, caveats and claims. There is a minimum deposit toward costs required for every new proceeding which must be paid in advance. Unless otherwise ordered or directed by the court, costs are the responsibility of the person filing the original proceeding, and full payment of any balance due may be required prior to issuance of a final order. A party filing an objection or caveat to a pending proceeding or a creditor filing a claim must pay the fee for the filing of same before the court is required to accept it for filing.
 Court costs are considered an expense of administration under law, having a priority over other debts and claims, and must be paid by the personal representative of the estate prior to the payment of other debts and prior to distribution to heirs or beneficiaries. The failure or refusal to pay court costs may result in the dismissal of proceedings, the removal of the personal representative or other actions by the court to assure and receive payment.
 While we want to be of service to the public, there are restrictions on and limits to what the staff and judge of the Probate Court may do. This brochure is intended to help the public understand these restrictions. It is never our intent to seem unhelpful or uncooperative. Within these restrictions and limitations, it is our desire to be of assistance to all who come into this office. We do hope that you will understand these limitations. With that in mind, please let us know if we may be of further service to you. Thank you.
 Credit is given to Judge William Self for the information contained in this section.
 
TEMPORARY GUARDIANSHIP OF A MINOR:
REQUIREMENTS FOR FILING TEMPORARY GUARDIANSHIP PETITIONS IN MADISON COUNTY
 
·       Petitioner should be the person who will be serving as the temporary guardian.
 
·       Minor MUST be in the physical custody of the petitioner, residing in Madison County and said minor being under the age of 18 (Petitions for temporary guardianship must be filed in the county where the petitioner and minor are living).
 
·       A copy of the minor’s birth certificate must be included with the petition.
 
·       The natural mother and father must sign (or be properly served with) the relinquishment of rights form included with the petition even if the father’s name does not appear on the minor’s birth certificate. The signatures MUST be notarized at the time of the signing. If both parents do not sign relinquishment, he and/or she must be properly served. If their address is known, service must be made by the Sheriff of the county in which they are located (if in the state of GA). The fee for Sheriff’s service is $50.00 per party served (fee set by the state of GA). If a party to be served has a known address outside the state of GA, service must be made by certified mail. If their address is unknown, service must be perfected by publication in the Madison County Journal, which is the Legal Organ of Madison County, for two weeks. Furthermore, if the address of a party to be served is unknown a DILLIGENT SEARCH AFFIDAVIT must be completed. 
 
·       Before filing the petition all pages must be completed by the petitioner or their attorney. If handwritten, the writing should be legible and in ink. After completing the petition, the petitioner should present the petition to the court with the consent form for a background check / criminal history. All adult persons residing in the home must provide the court with a release form for a background check / criminal history information release.
 
·       Filing fee’s for the temporary guardianship must be paid in full at the time the petition is filed. The filing fees are as follows:
 
Filing temporary guardianship petition (both parents signing):   approx              $125.00
 
Filing temporary guardianship petition (without both parents signing): approx. $125.00 + $50.00 per natural parent served.
 
Filing temporary guardianship petition (with Diligent Search Affidavit and publication needed) $125.00 + $60.00 publication fee. 
 
*****Note….   Filing fees are approximate. Actual cost will depend on the total number of pages filed with the case.
 
 
 
·       The Probate Court makes no determination on requirements of a minor attending school. Any questions on requirements for attending school should be addressed directly to the school or board of education.
 
·       For the protection of all minors, each adult in the home of the proposed guardian must provide written consent to, and undergo, a thorough background check.
 
 
Who files the petition? The person who wants to be appointed Temporary Guardian should be the petitioner. The petitioner must have the child in their physical custody to file the petition.
 
Where is the petition filed? The petition is filed in the county of legal residence of the petitioner having physical custody of the minor.
 
Who must sign to and agree to temporary guardianship? The mother and the father must either sign the petition for the temporary guardianship or must be given legal notice that the petition has been filed. The father of the child must be notified even if he is not listed on the birth certificate and/or the child was born outside a marriage. If the identity of the father is not known, published notice to the unknown father is required. The petitioner is required to make a diligent effort to locate both parents for the purpose of giving notice of this action and file an Affidavit of Diligent Search along with the petition.
 
How is legal notice given if a parent doesn’t sign? Any parent who does not sign the consent form included with the petition must be properly served. A parent who resides in Georgia must be served personally by the Sheriff. There is a $50.00 fee to the Sheriff for each service. A parent who lives outside the state of Georgia is served by certified mail. A parent whose address is unknown is served by publication. There is a $60.00 fee charged by Main Street News for each notice to be published if served by publication. 
 
What if the parent(s) object to the petition? The Probate Court, pursuant to state law, CANNOT grant a temporary guardianship if a natural guardian objects. 
Can the petition be filed without an attorney? Yes. However, it is the responsibility of the petitioner to properly prepare the petition and prepare any packets for personal service. Court staff cannot, by law, give legal advice.
Must the petition be typed? No. The petition may be hand written. However, it must be legible and in ink.
What documents do I need? You must provide the court with a copy of each child’s birth certificate. Every person whose signature is witnessed by court staff must provide a valid photo identification.   
How long does the Temporary Guardianship last? The Temporary Guardianship will last until the natural parent terminates the guardianship or until the minor child reaches the age of 18.
How can the Temporary Guardianship be terminated? A natural parent can petition the court to terminate the Temporary Guardianship. The filing fee for this petition is $30.00. If the Temporary Guardian consents to the termination the Temporary Guardianship can be terminated immediately. If the Temporary Guardian does not consent to the termination, the Temporary Guardian must be properly served by Sheriff’s Service ($50.00 Sheriff service fee). Upon service, the Temporary Guardian may object within 10 days of being served. If no objection is filed, the Temporary Guardianship will be terminated. If an objection is filed, the matter will be forwarded to the Juvenile Court of Madison County where a hearing on the matter will be scheduled.
 

 

Judge Cody Cross

Clerks:  Jill Rutledge, Keilah Dalton, Summer Araujo, Halyn Arnold

P.O. Box 207/ 91 Albany Avenue, Danielsville, GA 30633

Phone:706-795-6365     Fax:706-795-5933

 

 

                   

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





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