Superior Court - Chief Judge David T. Emerson
Scheduling Hearing Dates
- 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 this website.
- 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.
- 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.
- Should anyone need assistance regarding a court date, please email Tina Schartle (Judge Emerson's Case Management Clerk).
Cases That Involve Custody & 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.
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.
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 the Clerk of Superior Court's page.