Clerk of Court

The Clerk of the Circuit Court is a locally elected, State Constitutionally defined, official whose primary responsibility is to record and retain for public reference all essential legal documents and notices filed in the County. The Clerk maintains title records on all land parcels and receives documentary evidence of all ownership transfers and interests in property. Lawsuits and criminal actions before the Courts of the County are processed through the Clerk's Office and records associated with those actions are maintained there as well. Other duties include the probation and recording of wills, issuance of marriage licenses, and the recording of all adoptions, divorces, liens, corporations and other public legal documents. Annually, the Clerk receives notice of tax assessment on every parcel and item of personal property in the County.

The Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court in Caroline County is made up of the Clerk, who is elected for an eight year term, and three full time Deputies. In recognition of the Commonwealth's interest in the work of the Clerk, the State of Virginia through the State Compensation Board sets compensation standards for the Clerk and his/her staff and provides funding to the County for the Clerk based on those standards. A small allowance is also provided for office expenses.

Circuit courts are the principal trial courts of the state and hear both civil and criminal cases. The circuit court has jurisdiction over suits for damages in excess of $15,000, as well as all equity matters, including divorce cases, disputes concerning wills and estates, and controversies involving property. In criminal cases, the circuit court tries all felony cases and will hear misdemeanor cases under some circumstances. This court will also hear appeals from the general district court and from the juvenile and domestic relations court.

There are 31 Judicial Circuits in the Commonwealth whose boundaries are set by the General Assembly and each county has its own circuit court. Caroline County is located in the 15th Judicial Circuit, headquartered in Fredericksburg. Judges for the court are chosen by the General Assembly and their compensation is set and paid by the State.

Localities are responsible for the operating expenses of their local Court, such as postage, office supplies and phone service. Caroline County also pays an allocated share of the cost of the Circuit Court judge's legal assistant.