About Us

Bartholomew County Judicial Officers


Article 7 of the Indiana Constitution establishes the judicial powers and states that all judges shall be duly admitted to practice law by the Supreme Court of Indiana.  Indiana had a system based on Justices of the Peace until 1975 when Circuit Courts were established by the legislature. Bartholomew County constitutes the ninth judicial court of the State of Indiana under IC 33-33-3. In addition to the Circuit Court, IC 33-33-2 establishes two (2) Superior Courts and IC 33-33-3-6 establishes the Magistrate position under Superior Court 2.





Child Support

Child Support Court

Bartholomew County Child Support (IV-D) Court has jurisdiction over all Title IV-D cases filed by the State of Indiana. Title IV-D cases include mandatory referrals for individuals receiving TANF benefits and/or Medicaid. Anyone can apply for services, however, by completing an application and paying a $25.00 fee through the Prosecutor’s Office. This fee is waived if the custodial parent or child is receiving Medicaid benefits.

Once the State intervenes in a case, it can be assigned to Child Support Court by the appropriate judge (Circuit Court, Superior Court 1 or Superior Court 2). Child Support Court is a court of limited jurisdiction. It only hears cases involving: a) support and its attendant aspects including, back support, arrearage payments, ongoing support, support modifications, medical insurance, uninsured medical expenses, college expenses, tax exemptions; b) parenting time (when agreed upon by the parties); c) emancipation; and d) change of residence relating only to the issue of support.

The Bartholomew County Child Support Courtroom

Child Support Court Commissioner

Kim Van Valer

Kim Pic

B.A. Indiana University Bloomington 1984

J.D. Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis 1991


Kim Van Valer has been a judicial officer since 1994.  She was first appointed Magistrate of Johnson Circuit & Superior Courts then elected as the first judge of Johnson Superior Court No. 3, a position she held until 2008.  She then took Senior Judge status and began serving in Bartholomew County as needed in 2009.  The Bartholomew County Judges appointed Kim to serve as IV-D Child Support Commissioner beginning in January 2017.  Shortly thereafter, she was asked by Circuit Judge Kelly Benjamin to assist with Family Law cases in addition to her duties as IV-D Commissioner.  Kim continues to serve occasionally as a Senior Judge in Bartholomew County and throughout the State of Indiana.


Since 1994, Judge Van Valer has served on several Judicial Conference Committees by appointment of the Supreme Court including Courthouse Security, Protective Orders and Alternative Dispute Resolution.  She has instructed lawyers and judges on topics as diverse as handling OWI cases, drafting Injunctions & Historic Preservation Law.  She completed the Indiana Graduate Program for Judges in 2004 and served on the Supreme Court Task forces for revision of Indiana's Rules for Alternative Dispute Resolution and the refinement of Records & Privacy rules.  


When not working as a judicial officer, Kim assists litigants to resolve their own disputes through mediation and conducts bi-annual trainings for Domestic Relations Mediators.  She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Indiana Association of Mediators having served as its President in 2012 & 2013. 

Kim is also a member of the Bartholomew County and Johnson County Bar Associations as well as the Indiana Judges Association and the Association of Family & Conciliation Courts.  



IMPORTANT NOTICE:  CIRCUIT COURT AND JUVENILE COURT HAVE MOVED LOCATIONS DUE TO REMODELING.  Effective March 22, 2024 and until further notice, Circuit and Juvenile Court participants shall report to either Circuit Court or Juvenile Court located at the Court Services Building, 555 1st Street, Columbus, Indiana (behind and across the street from the jail), unless you have been directed otherwise.  If you have questions about the location of your hearing, feel free to call (812) 379-1605.

Circuit Court

Currently, the Circuit Court holds jurisdiction for adult felony cases, criminal cases, adoptions, estates, guardianship, civil collection (civil collections in regards to tax collection), mortgage foreclosure, civil torts, civil plenary, paternity action/dissolusion, protective orders, and reciprocal cases.



The Bartholomew County Circuit Courtroom

Circuit Court Judge

Kelly BenjaminBenjaminEducation: B.A. - University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point (1989); J.D. - Drake University Law 

School, Des Moines, IA (1991).

Legal Background: Appointed by the Bartholomew County Judges to serve as the IV-D Child Support Commissioner in 2013. Also currently serves as the BCSC attorney. Previously served as a Deputy Prosecutor for 15 years (specialty in Domestic Violence cases), served as the Columbus City 

Attorney, and was in private practice. Certified as an instructor through the Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance and the Wisconsin Department of Justice, she has been a national trainer for law enforcement, prosecutors, victim advocates and first responders on issues related to the investigation and prosecution of domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, and victim issues.

Community Organizations: Currently on Heritage Fund Board of Directors; Commissioner on the Columbus Human Rights Commission (Secretary and Executive Committee); Healthy Communities Domestic Violence Action Team (DVAT-Chairperson); Asbury United Methodist Church (Trustee). Past: Co-Chair of UnCommon Cause; Lincoln Center Figure Skating Club Board; Columbus Youth Hockey Board.

Law Related Acknowledgements: One of the four “Women in Leadership“ Honoree’s chosen by Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce (2015); Outstanding Prosecutor (from Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence) – 2011; Healthy Communities Volunteer of the Year (DVAT) – 2011; Turning Point Community Safety Award – 2009 and 2010; Family Crisis Center Angel Award (for community activity and involvement in domestic violence issues) – 2003; Wisconsin Supreme Court Faculty Service Acknowledgement – 2001; CAPartners Award (for community work in domestic violence issues) – 2001; Nominated Wisconsin Prosecutor of the Year – 1999 (for prosecution of a shaken baby case occurring 20 years earlier).




IMPORTANT NOTICE:  CIRCUIT COURT AND JUVENILE COURT HAVE MOVED LOCATIONS DUE TO REMODELING.  Effective March 22, 2024 and until further notice, Circuit and Juvenile Court participants shall report to either Circuit Court or Juvenile Court located at the Court Services Building, 555 1st Street, Columbus, Indiana (behind and across the street from the jail), unless you have been directed otherwise.  If you have questions about the location of your hearing, feel free to call (812) 379-1605.

Juvenile Court

The intent of this court is to hear cases regarding the welfare of juveniles. Legally, juveniles are considered anyone under a predetermined age that, by virtue of their age, is not held responsible for broken laws by standard punishment measure enacted on adults. In Indiana this would mean cases pertaining to anyone under the age of 18.

Currently Bartholomew County Juvenile Court handles cases regarding juvenile paternity, juvenile delinquency, juvenile termination of parental rights, and all cases that fall under the jurisdiction of CHINS(Children In Need of Services), which is an Indiana-based program funded by a federal initiative that is designed the Judaical process and safety for children and families involved in child abuse and neglect proceedings.




             The Bartholomew County Juvenile Courtroom


Small Claims

Small Claims

Small Claims Court deals exclusively with civil suits and occasionally with civil collections from verdicts rendered in such cases at the judge's discretion. Cases brought before Small Claims Court cannot exceed a total value of six thousand dollars in either monetary or other asset based claims. When dealing with civil collection matters, there is no ceiling as to the value of the claim.



The Bartholomew County Small Claims Courtroom

Small Claims Magistrate

David NowakNowak

Magistrate Nowak was born and raised in La Porte, Indiana, where he graduated from high school in 1972.  He then attended and graduated from Ball State University in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science followed by a Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree obtained in 1981 from The Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan.  He was appointed as Magistrate in January of 2021 by the presiding Judge of Bartholomew Superior Court Two, Jonathan L. Rohde.

                Prior to his appointment, Magistrate Nowak served as a Deputy Attorney General in the Office of the Indiana Attorney General from 1981 through 1992.  In that position, he specialized as a trial attorney and practiced before the trial courts in the State of Indiana as well as the federal courts in the Northern and Southern District of Indiana.  He also had the opportunity to present numerous cases to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago and two cases to the United States Supreme Court. 

                Magistrate Nowak moved to and has lived in Bartholomew County since 1981 and worked in Bartholomew County since 1992 when he opened his law office on Fourth Street in downtown Columbus.  He remained at that location through 2020 when he closed his private practice and accepted Judge Rohde’s appointment as Magistrate of Bartholomew Superior Court Two.  As a private attorney, he engaged in the general practice of law offering his services to the public attempting to serve the citizens of Bartholomew County with their private and personal legal matters.  The majority of his work involved criminal defense and family law matters as well as numerous cases representing both Plaintiffs and Defendants in small claims matters.  He was also a public defender handling felony cases in Bartholomew Circuit or Superior Court from 1994 through 2020.  



Small Claims Court

Counter Claim Packet (2310 downloads) Popular #
Eviction for Buisness Packet (1003 downloads) Popular #
Eviction Packet (1090 downloads) Popular #
FAQs (1993 downloads) Popular #
Letter Notice Request to Court (1179 downloads) Popular #
Motion for Proceedings Supplemental Packet (2451 downloads) Popular #
Motion to Dismiss Form (920 downloads) Popular #
Rule to Show Cause Packet (920 downloads) Popular #
Small Claim for Buisness Packet (1141 downloads) Popular #
Small Claim Packet (1338 downloads) Popular #
Title Packet (1437 downloads) Popular #

Superior I

Superior Court I

Superior Court I is a court of general jurisdiction. Superior Court I hears felony cases for Levels 1 through 6 violations, and some misdemeanor charges in Bartholomew County; additionally, the court hears civil torts aligning with medical malpractice, automobile accidents, and property damage.

Many cases regarding owner or guardianship are also presented in Superior Court I, such as child support, parenting time, divorce, child custody, wills, disputes, and trusts. Well-being cases are also heard, such as cases involving adult protective services and protective orders. Superior Court I also exclusively hears all mental health cases and all civil case collections exceeding the six-thousand-dollar limit of small claims.

Superior Court I also exclusively oversees the Bartholomew County Veteran’s Treatment Court, which is a certified problem-solving court specializing in issues surrounding veterans involved with the criminal justice system who suffer from substance abuse and/or mental health issues related to their service. Learn more at: Justice for Vets Website



The Bartholomew County Superior I Courtroom

Superior Court I Judge


James Worton (R)

Educational Background: Graduate, Columbus North High School, Graduate, Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, Bachelor’s Degree, Indiana University, Doctor of Jurisprudence, Indiana University McKinney School of Law, Graduate of the Indiana Graduate Program for Judges, 2016, Graduate of the Indiana Judicial College, 2018.

Background: James “Jim” Worton is a life-long Bartholomew County resident and was elected as Judge of Superior Court I in the 2012 election, taking office January 1, 2013. Prior to being elected, Judge Worton was a managing partner at the Columbus law firm of Worton & Rohde.

In addition to his legal background, Judge Worton served on the Columbus Police Department, retiring after 20 years of service. He served four years as Chief of Police. Judge Worton is also an Adjunct Professor of Criminal Justice at IUPUC, and Ivy Tech Community College, where he teaches various courses in the Criminal Justice programs.

Community Activities: Member, American Judges Association, Member, Indiana Judges Association,  Member and Past Vice-President, Bartholomew County Bar Association, Member, Indiana Bar Association , Bartholomew County Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee, Member, Sixth Congressional District Veteran’s Advisory Board, Fraternal Order of Police, Past Member of Columbus Rotary Club,  Vice-Chair, Bartholomew County Courthouse Security Committee, Member, State Judicial Administration Committee, Past Member, State Judicial Courthouse Security Committee, Past Member, State Judicial Conference Board of Directors, Member, Bartholomew County Evidence Based Decision Making Team, Past Member, Bartholomew County Domestic Violence Action Team, Past member, Bartholomew County Substance Abuse Council,  Past Member, Indianapolis Bar Association,  Past Member, American Bar Association, Past Member, Indiana Trial Lawyers Association, attends Columbus Free Methodist Church. Judge Worton also previously served as the Chief Staff Judge Advocate for the Indiana Guard Reserve.



  • 2009: Outstanding Adjunct Faculty: Ivy Tech community College Columbus
  • 2011: Mayor’s Community Service Award
  • 2014: IUPUC Outstanding Alumnus Award
  • 2021: Sgt. Steven P. Mennemeyer Memorial Award.

Superior II

Superior Court II

Superior Court 2 handles all of Bartholomew County’s misdemeanor criminal cases, traffic cases, small claims and ordinance violations.  Superior Court 2 also handles a variety of felony criminal cases, including most of the level 6 felonies.  In addition, Superior Court 2 handles all types of civil cases.

The Bartholomew Superior Court 2 is served by Judge Jonathan (Jon) L. Rohde, who appointed David A Nowak to serve as Magistrate.  Judge Rohde supervises the county’s Court Services Drug and Alcohol Program.  Superior Court 2 is assisted by a support staff that has many years of experience, and includes Janet, Rosie, Melissa, Sara, Pam Danielle, Julia, Jennifer. 

The Bartholomew County Superior II Courtroom

Superior Court II Judge

Jonathan (Jon) L. RohdeRohde



     When someone comes to court it is likely one of the most important days in their life, where they often enter with uncertainty and angst.  It is the job of a judge to understand the facts of each individual case, apply the law, and to make a fair and impartial decisions.  The assurance to you is that judges take an oath to carry this out faithfully, impartially and diligently.



  • Bremen High School Class of 1997

  • Indiana University - Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice 2000

  • Indiana University - Bachelor of Arts in Political Science 2000

  • Indiana Law Enforcement Academy 2000

  • Indiana University McKinney School of Law – Doctor of Jurisprudence 2007 



Jonathan “Jon” Rohde was elected as Judge of the Bartholomew County Superior Court 2 in 2020, and assumed office on January 1, 2021.  Prior to being elected, Judge Rohde practiced law for Rohde Law Offices from 2013-2020, and during that time was appointed by the Indiana Supreme Court’s office of court services and three local judges to serve as Bartholomew County’s mortgage facilitator.  Prior to 2013, Judge Rohde was a managing partner at the Columbus law firm of Worton & Rohde from 2008-2012.In addition to his legal background, Jon retired from the Columbus Police Department after 20 years of service, and served six of those years as Chief of Police.  Jon also previously taught various courses as an Adjunct Professor for both Indiana University and Ivy Tech.


Community Activities (past & present)

Leadership Bartholomew County Board member; Governor’s Work Ethic Advisory Board member; Indiana Supreme Court Judicial Branch Working Group (commercial sexual exploitation of children); Advisor to the Indiana Supreme Court Family Information Sharing Guide work group; IUPUC Criminal Justice Advisory Board member; Indiana State BAR Association member; Bartholomew County BAR Association member; Veteran’s Court Committee member; St. Peter’s Lutheran Church School Board member; Family Recovery Court Steering Committee member; Adult Drug Court Committee member; Chair of the local Evidence Based Decision Making policy team; Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative member; Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization member; Healthy Communities Council member; Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress advisor; Youth Services Center Advisory Board member; Bartholomew County Community Corrections Advisory Board member; Local Emergency Planning Committee member; Emergency Management Advisory Council member; Substance Abuse Accountability and Advisory Committee member; St. Peter’s Lutheran Church member; March of Dimes volunteer; Childhood Connections Board member; Foundation for Youth volunteer.



  • Columbus Young Professionals 20 Under 40 Award recipient 2013

  • Leadership Bartholomew County 2015 graduate

  • FFY ‘It Takes a Village’ award winner 2018

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Bartholomew County Courts Local Rules






Landlord & Tenant Settlement Conference Program

From The Indiana Supreme Court...