Court Information


  • The Court will strictly enforce social distancing and a mask covering your mouth and nose is required.
  • The office will be closed from 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. to allow for cleaning of the lobby and other public spaces.
  • Only one person will be allowed in the lobby at a time. Except for court appearances, visitors to the Probate Court should not bring anyone else with them unless he or she needs physical assistance or an interpreter.  
  • The Court strongly encourages payment by money orders or credit/debit cards which carry a processing fee. The Court will continue its practice of accepting checks in limited estate matters. 
  • Self-represented litigants and attorneys are strongly encouraged to file petitions, motions, etc. by mail unless the matter is of an emergent nature, e.g. Emergency Petition for Adult Guardianship. There will be a drop box for those who wish to file in person.
  • Firearms permits and marriage licenses will be issued BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. Please call the office at (770) 784-2045 to schedule an appointment. The firearms application can be found below.
  • Requests for vital records, i.e. birth, death, and marriage certificates, should be made through the mail, the Court website or by emailing the Court at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

About the Court

Georgia Probate Courts exercise exclusive, original jurisdiction in the probate of wills, administration of estates, appointment of guardians and conservators (minor and adult), and involuntary commitment. In January 2017 the Probate Court of Newton County became an Article 6 Probate Court. Article 6 Courts have expanded probate jurisdiction. In accordance with OCGA § 15-9-127, Article 6 Probate Courts have concurrent jurisdiction with superior courts in proceedings regarding: 9 (A) Declaratory judgments; (B) Tax-motivated estate planning dispositions of wards' property; (C) Approval of settlement agreements; (D) Appointment of new trustees; (E) Acceptance of resignation of a trustee at beneficiaries' written request; (F) Acceptance of resignation of trustee upon petition of trustee; (G) Motions for DNA testing; (H) Conversion to a unitrust; and (I) Adjudication of petition for direction or construction of a will.

Melanie M. Bell, Probate Judge of Newton County, and her staff also administer oaths of office, issue marriage licenses and weapons carry licenses, and provide certified copies of birth and death certificates. Unless a jury trial is requested, Judge Bell hears certain misdemeanors, traffic cases, and violations of state game and fish laws. 



Contact Information

Contact Us

Newton County Probate Court
1132 Usher Street, Rm 148
Covington, GA 30014
Office: (770) 784-2045
Fax: (770) 784-2145

Office Hours
Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.        


Judges and Staff


About Judge Melanie M. Bell

Melanie M. Bell is the Probate Judge of Newton County.  She was elected to office in 2017, and also serves as the Chief Magistrate of Newton County.  Melanie began her legal career as a law clerk to Chief Judge John M. Ott in 2000.  She became an assistant district attorney in the Alcovy Judicial Circuit in 2003, and was promoted to Chief Assistant District Attorney in 2013.  As a prosecutor she specialized in the prosecution of crimes against women and children and major felony cases.  Melanie received her B.A. in History and Sociology from Duke University in 1997, and received her law degree from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University in 2000.


Office Staff

  • Marcia Wynne, Chief Clerk
  • Windy Koutras, Traffic Clerk
  • Mia Johnson, Deputy Clerk
  • Jamie Kitchens, Deputy Clerk
  • Liberty Skinner Kapp, Deputy Clerk
  • Danyell Thomas, Deputy Clerk

Firearms Permits

Firearms Application Form

Replacement Petition 



8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

If you have a question about whether your criminal history will disqualify you from obtaining a weapons carry license, please review O.C.G.A. § 16-11-129.  Please bring the following with you to the Probate Court:  


Probate Court: 

  • First time applicant: $77.00 cash, money order, Visa/MasterCard (additional convenience fee for cards);  you will be fingerprinted and a criminal background check will be completed.

  • Renewals:  $36.00  cash, money order, Visa/MasterCard (additional convenience fee for cards); you will not be fingerprinted but a criminal background check will be completed.  
  • If you provide proof that you are a retired law enforcement officer who served for at least 10 of the 12 years before retirement, you will only have to pay the $7.00 printing fee.

DRIVER’S LICENSE that reflects your current physical address.

  • If license reflects a P.O. Box you will need a bank statement, auto tag receipt, or any other documentation reflecting your name and current physical address. 
  • If your address is not current, by law, it must be changed.


Visit to complete the weapons carry permit application ahead of time. When you submit the application, you will receive a confirmation number. Bring the confirmation with you when you come in to apply. 


You must present your firearms license that is not expired by more than thirty (30) days to qualify for renewal process. If your permit has been expired for more than thirty (30) days, you will be required to apply as a first time applicant.