What are the courts in Georgia?

Georgia state courts include Superior Courts, State Courts, Magistrate Courts, Juvenile Courts, Probate Courts, Recorder's Courts, Municipal Courts, and Civil Courts. Within Superior Courts, there are generally divisions for criminal, civil, and family cases. Superior courts generally hear cases that are beyond the jurisdiction of the other courts, which only hear limited types of cases. Each county in Georgia generally has a Superior Court, and may have some or all of the other types of courts. For more information on the cases hears by each of these types of courts, and for information regarding a particular county's court, see the Georgia Court Directory related link.

Added: In large counties there is a Superior Court, State Court, Magistrate Court, Juvenile Court, Probate Court and Recorder's Court. Smaller counties and circuits typically have some combination of these courts. When there is a Superior and State court, Superior Court handles divorce and family law cases, disputes over real property, civil cases over a certain dollar amount, and felony criminal cases, while State court handles misdemeanor criminal cases and is the "catch all" for other civil cases that don't fit elsewhere. In counties that fall below a certain population threshold, there is no state court and superior court handles both of these groups. State and Superior courts are also the only courts that have juries. The lower courts have specific subject matter jurisdiction, but when a jury trial is necessary, those matters are sent up to state or superior court.
  • Juvenile court handles delinquencies (juveniles accused of crimes) and deprivations (children being removed from parents' home). Juvenile court sometimes sits by designation to handle custody disputes in superior court cases.
  • Recorder's court normally handles most traffic matters and other low level misdemeanors, typically those cited with a written citation rather than an arrest. Not all circuits have recorder's court. Typically. larger counties do, but Fulton County (the largest county of all) does not.
  • Probate court handles division of wills/estates and guardianship issues. In counties where there is no recorder's court, probate court may also handle low level misdemeanor offenses.
  • Magistrate court handles smaller civil disputes, and functions as a small claims court of sorts. It also handles issuing warrants and sometimes handles traffic cases in counties where there is no recorder's court. The magistrate is also responsible for marriage license, performing courthouse weddings, issuing weapons permits, and various other administrative tasks.
  • Each city also has a municipal court, which is separate from the county system. Municipal court handles low level misdemeanors cited by city police within city limits. Municipal courts do not have juries, and in cases where a jury is requested, the trial will be "bound over" to state or superior court.