Court Information

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
  • Jamie Kitchens, Traffic Clerk
  • Danyell Thomas, Deputy Clerk
  • Liberty Skinner Kapp, Deputy Clerk
  • Laura Niko, Deputy Clerk
  • Betty Leach, Deputy Clerk

Firearms Permits

We are accepting new and renewal gun permit applications at the Probate Court office BY APPOINTMENT ONLY.  Please read below on how to apply for a new or renewal license and how to schedule your appointment. 

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: 

DRIVER’S LICENSE that reflects your current physical address.
Your OLD WEAPONS CARRY LICENSE if you are renewing.    


  • First time applicant: $78.00 cash, money order, Visa/MasterCard (additional convenience fee for cards);  you will be fingerprinted and a criminal background check will be completed.
  • Renewals:  $30.00 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.


You must first fill out the secure preliminary gun permit application online.  Even if you are applying to renew your license, you must select NEW APPLICATION. When you arrive at the office, if you are eligible for a renewal permit, it will be converted to a renewal application and the renewal fee will be applied.  Click here to fill out your weapons carry license application.  Be sure you write down your confirmation number because you will need it to schedule your appointment. 


After submitting the application online, you must schedule an appointment to meet with a clerk and finalize the application, pay the required fees and be fingerprinted and photographed.  When you come for your appointment please be on time, wear a mask, and do not bring anyone with you so that we can observe proper social distancing.  


If you need to reschedule your appointment, please use the link in your confirmation email or call the Probate Court at (770) 784-2045. 


If your weapons carry license has been lost or stolen, you can request a replacement by filling out the application below.  Mail the application, a copy of your photo ID, and a money order for $7.00 to Newton County Probate Court, 1132 Usher Street, Room 148, Covington, GA 30014. 

Petition for Replacement of Weapons Carry License 

If you have had a legal name change or a change of address, and your weapons carry license was issued by Newton County, you can request an updated license by filling out the application below.  Mail the application, a copy of your photo ID with the new name or address, and a money order for $7.00 to Newton County Probate Court, 1132 Usher Street, Room 148, Covington, GA 30014. 

Petition to Change Name and/or Address on Weapons Carry License