Chatham County Divorce and Family Law Resources

  • The Honorable Michael L. Karpf, Chief Judge
  • The Honorable Louisa Abbot
  • The Honorable Perry Brannen Jr., Senior Judge
  • The Honorable James F. Bass, Jr.
  • The Honorable John E. Morse, Jr.
  • The Honorable Timothy R. Walmsley
  • Dan W. Massey, Clerk of Court

The Honorable Michael L. Karpf, Chief Judge
Room 422, Chatham County Courthouse Judge Karpf
Administrative Assistant: Priscilla Russell
Staff Attorney: Leslie Keene
Phone: (912) 652-7460  Fax: (912) 652-7242

  • Armstrong Atlantic State University, 1968
  • University of Georgia School of Law

Judge Karpf was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 1971.  He practiced General Law at Lawton & Karpf until 1979, when he was appointed judge of the Recorder's Court.  Before joining the Superior Court in 1993 he also served as a State Court judge in Chatham County.

Judge Karpf serves on the Board of Directors of B'nai B'rith Jacob Synagogue and is a proud father and grandfather.


The Honorable Louisa Abbot Judge Abbot
Room 203, Chatham County Courthouse
Administrative Assistant: Angela Hollinger
Staff Attorney: Letta F. Sneed
Phone (912) 652-7162  Fax

  • Augusta State University
  • University of Georgia School of Law, 1982

After being graduated summa cum laude from the UGA School of Law, Judge Abbot clerked for the Honorable Avant Edenfield before going into private practice. She later clerked in the Superior Court of Chatham County for then Chief Judge Perry Brannen Jr. prior to her judicial appointment and subsequent election.

Judge Abbot has served on the Georgia Child Support Commission since its inception. She is Past President of the Georgia Bar Foundation which provides financial support to civil litigants in need, and served 6 years on the Georgia Commission on Dispute Resolution. Previously first woman president of the Savannah Rotary club, Judge Abbot is currently an Elder at First Presbyterian Church. She is married with two children. She has presided on the bench of the Superior Court since 2000.


The Honorable Perry Brannen Jr., Senior Judge Judge Brannen
Room 426, Chatham County Courthouse

  • Washington & Lee University
  • University of Georgia School of Law

Prior to his appointment to the Superior Court in 1978, Judge Brannen was in private practice with the firm of Brannen, Wessels and Searcy.  A Savannah native, he served as Captain in the U.S. Army and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal.

Judge Brannen became Chief Judge of the Court in 1993 and was named Senior Judge in 2012.


The Honorable Pennny Haas Freesemann
Room 204, Chatham County Courthouse Judge Freeseman
Administrative Assistant: Mary Ann Boyd
Staff Attorney: Lindretta Grindle
Phone (912) 652-7252   Fax: (912) 652-7254

  • Emory University
  • University of Georgia School of Law

Judge Freesemann was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 1978 and has served as a Chatham County Superior Court judge since 1995. In addition to her duties on the bench, she oversees the Chatham County Veterans' Court programs. Begun in 2010, the Veterans' Court helps military veterans who have been charged with a crime and who suffer from mental illness/PTSD get the recovery help they need.


The Honorable John E. Morse, Jr. 
Judge Morse Room 213, Chatham County Courthouse
Administrative Assistant: Yvette Taylor
Staff Attorney: Tammie N. Moseley
Phone:  (912) 652-7236  Fax: (912) 652-7361

  • Georgia State University, B.A.
  • Mercer University, J.D.

Judge Morse was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 1983.


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The Honorable Timothy R. Walmsley Judge Walmsley
Room 212, Chatham County Courthouse
Administrative Assistant: Debby Carney
Staff Attorney: Samantha Glaudel Smith
Phone (912) 652-7158  Fax: (912) 652-7222 

  • Allegheny College, B.S. 1991
  • Tulane University School of Law, J.D., 1996

Previously a partner with the Savannah firm of Hunter, Maclean, Exley & Dunn, P.C, where he specialized in commercial and real estate litigation, Judge Walmsley also worked as Chatham County Magistrate until his appointment to the bench in 2012.

Before embarking on his legal career, Judge Walmsley worked for an environmental consulting firm in Washington, D.C.  He has been named one of Savannah Business Report and Journal's "40 Under 40" and a "Rising Star" of the Georgia Bar b y both Law & Politics and Atlanta Magazine .


The Honorable James F. Bass Jr.

Room 421, Chatham County Courthouse Judge Bass
Administrative Assistant: Nancie Chiang 
Staff Attorney: Ann Searcy
Phone: (912) 652-7154  Fax: (912) 652-7512

  • Rider University, B.A., 1972
  • College of Law, Cornell University, J.D. 1977

Prior to his appointment to the bench in 1995, Judge Bass was the Supervising Attorney for the Savannah Regional office of the Georgia Legal Services Program. He is Past Chairman of the Georgia State Commission on Family Violence and has served on the Board of Directors of the Coastal Children's' Advocacy Center.

Judge Bass was named Man of the Year 1995 by the Beta Phi Lambda chapter of Alpha Psi Alpha fraternity of which he is a life member. He is a member of the Temple of Glory Community Church.


Dan W. Massey Clerk Massey
Chatham County Clerk of Superior Court 
Chatham County Courthouse
133 Montgomery Street
Savannah, GA  31401

  • Armstrong State College, B.B.A.
  • Central Michigan University, M.A.
Mr. Massey has previously served Chatham County as the Court Administrator for the Recorder's Court and as the Director of Alternate Dispute Resolution for all of the courts.  He was also Court Administrator in the State Court of Chatham County.  Mr. Massey is active in St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church and is a veteran of the United States Air Force.  

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