History

The Family Division began in July 1998 as a pilot project designed to:

  • provide a comprehensive approach to helping families in crisis by using both judicial adjudication and service intervention methods

  • improve case processing from initial filing to disposition by assigning cases involving the same family to one judicial team, and scheduling cases at regular intervals through 30, 60 and 120 day conferences
Today, the Family Division is a program of the Superior Court, funded by Fulton County and it has handled more than 66,202 cases.

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Jurisdiction

The Family Division has jurisdiction over divorce, separation, annulment, custody and visitation, child support, contempt, modification, paternity, adoption, appointment of legal guardians, abuse and neglect, deprivation, abandonment, termination of parental rights, domestic violence and other intra-family criminal offenses, such as child molestation, delinquency and other general juvenile law violations.

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Judges, Judicial Officers, and Staff

The Superior Court Family Division is comprised of three Superior Court Judges. Judges rotate in and out of the division. The Family Division also uses Judicial Officers. By definition, Judicial Officers are part time magistrates who are designated as Superior Court of Fulton County judges in the Family Division to supplement the hearing schedule of Family Division Judges. They are attorneys who possess specific skill, aptitude and adeptness at handling complex domestic law issues. The role of the Judicial Officer is critical to case management.

The Family Division Administrative staff is comprised of the Director, Administrative Support Staff, Social Services Coordinators, Intake Case Managers, Family Law Information Center (FLIC) Assistants, Domestic Violence Case Manager, One Stop Assistant, and Families In Transition Seminar Coordinator.

Click here to go to the Family Division Judges and Staff Directory

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Status Conferences

The Superior Court Family Division uses Status Conferences to help parties resolve legal issues and possibly reach settlements prior to trial. There are 30-day, 60-day, and 120-day status conferences within the Family Division. During status conferences, parties meet with Judicial Officers or the Court to check jurisdiction and discuss issues in dispute and methods to resolve those issues. Discovery obligations are also reviewed and questions regarding temporary financial arrangements, possession of marital home, and child custody are discussed. During status conferences parties may also attempt mediation to resolve issues.

View a video clip of a 30-Day Status Conference
30-Day Status Conference on Contested Cases

Parties meet with Judicial Officers to check jurisdiction, venue, and to discuss issues in dispute and methods to resolve those issues. The Judicial Officer assigned to the case will check to ensure discovery obligations have been met. Questions regarding temporary financial arrangements, possession of marital home, and child custody are discussed. Mediation may be offered to resolve issues being discussed. A Guardian ad litem or Social Services Coordinator may be asked to investigate questions of child custody.

It is essential to the process that parties are prepared for their 30-day Status Conference. This will enable the Judicial Officer to move forward with the case. Parties subject themselves to the risk of having the 30-Day Status Conference rescheduled if the following items are not completed prior to the 30-day Status Conference.

Parties MUST complete the following documents and BRING to the 30-day Status Conference:

  1. Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit. Click here to download a PDF copy of the Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit for completion.

    Note: If Child Support is a legal issue in your case, the Georgia Child Support Commission's Website has Excel Calculators and downloadable forms to assist in completing the calculations for Child Support.

  2. Answers to Interrogatories. Interrogatories are nothing more than questions. Each party must provide written answers to all Interrogatories (questions) and bring to the 30-Day Status Conference. Click here to download a PDF copy of the Interrogatories for each party to provide written answers.

  3. Required Documents to be Produced. It is mandatory that each party obtain certain documents and bring to the 30-Day Status Conference. Click here to download a PDF copy of list of the Required Documents to be Produced.

It is imperative that prior to the 30-Day Status Conference parties have thought about some of their issues and be able to clearly communicate these issues and wants to the assigned Judicial Officer.

For example, in a Divorce action, the Judicial Officer might cover with the parties the following: (this is not an exhaustive list)

  1. Any child custody issues?
  2. Parenting time? Should there be any restrictions on parenting time?
  3. How much for Child Support?
  4. Alimony? If so, how much?
  5. Retirement accounts to be divided? Bank accounts to be divided?
  6. Any property to be divided? What is the property?
  7. Any debt need to be divided? Any joint credit cards?
  8. Are there cars involved? Does each party own a car? Who will keep which car? Who will pay for each car? In whose name is it each car titled?
  9. Are there homes involved? Are there time shares involved? In whose name is each home or time share? Who will keep each house or time share? Who will pay each mortgage? In whose name is the mortgage, lease, or time share?
30-Day Status Conference on Uncontested Cases

At the 30-Day Status Conferences, cases in which the parties reached agreement before filing are presented to the Judicial Officer for review and entry of a Final Order. Some parties with contested cases are able to reach agreement at the status conference through the guidance of the Judicial Officer and the help of on-site mediation. The agreements are also presented to the Judicial Officer for review and entry of a Final Order.

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Family Division Objectives

  • To address and adjudicate issues affecting the same family in a single court system;

  • To screen and coordinate court petitions at the time of filing to promote earlier, more effective resolution of family issues;

  • To improve the speed and certainty with which family disputes are resolved;

  • To provide intervention services that will help improve outcomes for families including mediation, counseling, parental education, psychological evaluation and testing, services for children and referrals to community based services; and

  • To provide user friendly and accessible consultation and information to the public on family law issues.
Emphasis is placed on the best interest of the children and the family unit affected by the legal proceedings.
  • Though the proceedings are adjudicatory, there is an effort to reduce their adversarial nature. The parties are encouraged to take advantage of court annexed mediation which is available at no cost. As a unique feature of the Family Division, registered domestic mediators are available.

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Family Division Services

The Family Division provides intervention services to litigants as relevant to adjudicating issues before the court. These services have been instrumental in identifying and remedying certain types of family issues that create obstacles in court proceedings.

Services may include:

  • Social Services Coordinators

  • Guardians ad Litem

  • On Site Paternity Testing

  • On Site Drug and Alcohol Testing

  • Child Support Worksheet Assistance

  • Legal Forms / Packets

  • Free Attorney Consultations / Legal Clinics

  • Free Notary Services for Domestic Relations

  • Families in Transition Seminars

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution / Mediation Services

  • The One Stop - Temporary Protective Order Assistance

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Family Division
Superior Court of Fulton County
136 Pryor Street, S.W.
Suite C-826
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
Office Number: 404-612-0505
Fax Number: 404-335-8659