HISTORY OF THE PROBATE COURT
From the date Walton County was organized in 1818 and through 1975, the Probate Court was referred to as the Court of Ordinary. The county officer in charge of such court was designated as the Ordinary.
However, the Georgia General Assembly thought that an office of such importance in the life of our respective communities should not have a name as commonplace as “Ordinary.” Therefore, in 1976 the Georgia Constitution was amended to refer to the court as the Probate Court. The county officer in charge of this court is designated as the Judge of the Probate Court.
The Justice of the Peace Courts and Small Claims Courts of each county in the State of Georgia were ruled unconstitutional by the State Supreme Court in 1983. Then, the Georgia General Assembly created the Magistrate Court to assume the duties of the respective unconstitutional courts. In Walton County, the Probate Judge, in addition to all other responsibilities of the Probate Court, assumed jurisdiction over the newly formed Magistrate Court.
In 1993, because of the growth in cases and extended jurisdiction of the Magistrate Courts, local legislation was passed by the General Assembly in which the Magistrate Court was established as a separate court in Walton County. An independent Chief Magistrate was appointed and then elected.
The Probate Court continued to grow in scope. For the Court to be able to maintain proper services in the era, election responsibilities were turned over to a County Board of Elections in 2003.
Today, the Probate Court of Walton County is available to provide needed jurisdictional services for the public