Judge David Emerson
Vicky Andrews, Administrative Assistant
8700 Hospital Drive
Douglas County Courthouse
Douglasville, Georgia 30134
Effective on July 1, this new on identifying numbers statute became effective. All parties and counsel are reminded that it is their responsibility to comply with this new law. This is especially important because identify fraud has now become so common. Child support worksheets should only include the birth year of the children. Taxpayer documents such as W-2's, 1040 tax returns must have all social security numbers redacted prior to filing. The court urges counsel to make those redactions prior to their hearings. 9-11-7.1. Redacted filings; filings under seal; exemptions; waiver (a) Redacted filings. Except as provided in subsections (b) and (c) of this Code section or unless the court orders otherwise, a filing with the court that contains a social security number, taxpayer identification number, financial account number, or birth date shall include only: (1) The last four digits of a social security number; (2) The last four digits of a taxpayer identification number; (3) The last four digits of a financial account number; and (4) The year of an individual's birth.
The Georgia Adminstrative Office of the Courts has completed its 2012 workload analysis, and the Douglas Superior Court remains one of the busiest in the state. The AOC reported that the court had the second highest number of criminal defendants per judge. The AOC also found that the court ranked seventeenth in the total civil filings per judge. The court ranked fourth overall in total cases for 2012. Over the past five years, the number of criminal defendants per judge increased 85.3% while the number of civil filings per judge decreased 34.1%.
Judge Emerson's assistant has posted various calendars shown to the right of this page. There are calendars of cases that the court has set for hearings. Those have an "A" prefix. There are also monthly calendars of the court's overall schedule for jury and non-jury matters. Those have a "B" prefix.
The Clerk of Court has established a web page for access to the Sustain Case Management Docket. The address is: http://www.douglasgacourts.com.
To obtain a user ID and password, contact the Clerk of Court's office. Access is limited to attorneys at the present time due to hardware limitations of our system.
Judge Emerson controls the scheduling of the criminal and civil cases that are assigned to him.
Criminal cases in which the defendant remains incarcerated without bond are given priority and added to the criminal trial calendar, if at all possible, as soon as the accusing document is filed.
Anyone who has a criminal case pending and who is unable to afford to hire an attorney should contact the Douglas County Public Defender's Office as soon as possible. The Public Defender's contact information and application requirements are also on the CelebrateDouglasCounty web site.
All civil cases that are ready for trial are added to the “Ready List” and will be on the civil jury calendar.
All appeals involving county ad valorem taxes are added to the next civil jury trial list because of state law requirements for the processing of those cases. Those requirements take priority over the time limits for civil discovery.
Ms. Dawn Crew is Judge Emerson's Calendar Clerk. Her telephone number is 770.920.7337.
All civil cases in which answers are filed are referred to mediation through the 7th Judicial Administrative District (770.387.5480). The parties are encouraged to use this program to resolve their cases efficiently and oftentimes with less expense.
CASES THAT INVOLVE CUSTODY AND SUPPORT:
If you are representing yourself in a divorce or any case that involves children, please read this carefully.
Prior to any case going forward, the defendant must be served by the Sheriff with summons and process. If the defendant has acknowledged service of process and agreed to waive the 45-day requirement in writing, the court can review the case for judgment on the pleadings no less than 31 days from the date the acknowledgment of service is filed. For judgment on the pleadings to be granted, the parties must comply with all statutory requirements including filing all required worksheets and parenting plans.
In all domestic cases, the General Assembly has mandated that all parties are to file final disposition forms in both domestic and non-domestic civil cases. Those forms are available at the web page of the Clerk’s Cooperative Authority which is http://gsccca.org/filesandforms/sb176forms.asp.
Under OCGA § 19-9-1, both parties are required to file a PARENTING PLAN in all cases that involve child custody. We have set up a link to a generic parenting plan form on this web page.
In all cases in which support for minor children is an issue, the parties are also required to file child support worksheets. This is an Excel spreadsheet that is available at this web page: http://www.georgiacourts.gov/csc/.
The parties must file the child support worksheets prior to any temporary hearing as well as any final hearing of their case.
The completion of these forms requires the parties to gather extensive information on their finances. The Georgia Supreme Court has ruled that deviation from the child support worksheet is not allowed absent compliance with the statute. The Court said:
“When incorporating a child support deviation into a divorce decree, OCGA § 19-6-15 makes certain findings mandatory. Where a deviation is determined to apply and the fact finder deviates from the presumptive amount of child support, the order must explain the reasons for the deviation, provide the amount of child support that would have been required if no deviation had been applied, and state how application of the presumptive amount of child support would be unjust or inappropriate and how the best interest of the children for whom support is being determined will be served by the deviation. OCGA § 19-6-15(c)(2)(E) and (i)(1)(B). In addition, the order must include a finding that states how the court's or jury's application of the child support guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate considering the relative ability of each parent to provide support.” Holloway v. Holloway, decided November 1, 2010.
The computation of child support will directly impact both parties and their children. The Parenting Plan will also govern them and their relationships with their children for many years to come. They are documents that should be carefully and accurately prepared. Judge Emerson strongly encourages divorcing parties to get the assistance of an attorney in dealing with these matters because they can be difficult to understand.
DOMESTIC RELATIONS FORMS:
Many of the forms required for domestic cases are available on this web page: http://www.cscj.org/circuits/blueridge/localresources.
Should you need assistance regarding a court date, please call Ms. Dawn Crew (Calendar Clerk) at 770.920.7337.
COMMUNITY RESOURCES FOR HELP WITH SUBSTANCE ABUSE ISSUES:
Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings on Mondays and Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 6167 Presley Mill Road, Douglasville.
Narcotics Anonymous on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 8:00 p.m. at St. Theresa's Catholic Church, 4401 Prestley Mill Road, Douglasville.
Celebrate Recovery meetings on Friday nights at 7:00 p.m. at Ephesus Baptist Church, 8445 Ephesus Church Road, Winston.
Celebrate Recovery also at Central Baptist Church, 5811 Central Church Road (In the brick house to the left of the church), Douglasville on Thursday nights at 7:00 p.m.
Reformers Unanimous on Friday nights at 7:00 p.m. at The King's Way Baptist Church, 6456 The King's Way, Douglasville.
Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA) on Tuesdays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. in the building behind Dunkin Doughnuts on Fairburn Road (office between the accountants office and the church). Call Kim Kay at 404.317.6577 or Alan Carr at 404.391.3107 for more information.
Crossroads for Life Ministries, 6754 W. Church Street Douglasville, Georgia.