Utah Court Records
What are Utah Family Court Records?
Utah family court records are legal documents created in connection to cases involving families, children, paternity, and parentage. These records provide details of summons, dockets, sworn affidavit, orders, notices, citations, waivers, motions, pleadings, and other information ancillary to domestic relation proceedings. Pursuant to Utah Court Record Rule, family court records are presumed to be public unless otherwise denied by statute or court rule. As such, these records may be accessed by interested parties upon request. The eligibility criteria for obtaining these records may vary depending on the local court rules.
What Cases are Heard by Utah Family Courts?
Family courts in the state of Utah are trial courts of special jurisdiction over cases pertaining to family matters such as partition, domestic violence, restraining orders, paternity, adoption, visitation, support, disavowal, partitions, as well as other marital and juvenile cases. The principal trial courts in the state are the district courts, as well as the justice and juvenile courts. The family divisions of the district courts serve as the state’s family courts.
The appellate-level courts in the state are the Supreme Court and the court of appeals. The Supreme Court is the highest-ranking court which hears appeals from the family courts and other lower courts in the state. On the other hand, the court of appeals serves as the intermediate appellate courts, each having both original and appellate jurisdiction over family cases from lower courts.
All records and proceedings from these cases are filed, managed, and disseminated by the court custodian of each court. Records of cases appealed to the Supreme Court but were originally heard by the family courts are kept by the clerk of the district court.
What is Included in Utah Family Court Records?
Utah family court case records encompass a variety of information generated during family-related case hearings. Essentially, most family case records share similar outlines including:
- Name and personal details of the petitioner(s) and respondent(s)
- Attorney and judge information
- Case information including case number, status, and type
- Complaints and cross complaints
- Hearings and events of the case
- orders of notices and appearance
- Financial summaries
- Memorandum of decision
Are Family Court Records Public in Utah?
In accordance with the Utah Court Rule, non-confidential family court records are public records made available for viewing, inspection, and retrieval by interested members of the public. They provide general case information such as the case number, case status, civil case type, civil judgment, attorney name, the amount in controversy, daily calendars, and filing date. In contrast, sealed, private, or protected records may be exempted in part or fully from public view to ensure the security and protect the primary purpose for which the records were sealed. Requests for access to these records are only granted to authorized individuals allowed by the special provisions of law or court order. Some confidential records include;
- Adoption and paternity proceedings
- Consent on abortion performed on minors
- Termination of parental rights cases
- Proceedings for disease testing
- Juvenile delinquency cases
- Records revealing the identity of a confidential informant
- Mental health evaluations cases
- Tax returns from income
- Financial statements filed in a case about child/spousal support
- Some marriage license information
- Reports filed by a physician concerning the medical condition of an alleged disabled adult
- Reports filed by a guardian regarding the property of an alleged disabled adult
How to Find Family Court Records in Utah
In compliance with the Utah Court Record Rule, interested persons may view, and obtain copies of public family court records upon request. The available channels for accessing these records include:
- By submitting a record request in person
- By searching the state’s online court website
- By requesting for records via mail
How to Obtain Utah Family Court Records Online
The appellate courts maintain an online Case Search portal which enables members of the public to remotely access records from the comfort of their homes. However, access is only provided via a paid subscription. Also, the courts provide Opinions and Arguments search tool on their website. Users are required to input/choose the case year, the case number, as well as the court name.
The district courts also maintain a unified case search tool where criminal records may be examined, and copied. Subscription is also required and case-specific information is critical to search. In addition, the district, juvenile, and appellate court reporters digitally record court hearings. Copies of each recorded hearing are available at the court location.
Older records filed in the past 50 years or less in the appellate, district, juvenile, probate, and justice courts are archived in the state’s repository. Interested members of the public may utilize the case search tool provided by the Archived Court Records website.
Publicly available records are also accessible from some third-party websites. These websites offer the benefit of not being limited by geographical record availability and can often serve as a starting point when researching a specific or multiple records. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, interested parties must provide:
- The name of someone involved providing it is a not a juvenile
- The assumed location of the record in question such as a city, county, or state name
Third-party sites are not government-sponsored websites, and record availability may differ from official channels.
Family Court Records can include marriage records and Utah divorce records. These records contain personal information of those involved and their maintenance is critical should anyone involved wish to make changes. Because of this both marriage and divorce records can be considered more difficult to locate and obtain than other public records, and may not be available through government sources or third party public record websites.
How Do I Access Utah Family Court Records in Person?
Step 1. Identify the Court and Gather Relevant Case Information
Various family courts in the state of Utah maintain records of cases heard within their respective jurisdiction. Thus, before efforts are made towards the retrieval of these records, the requesting parties will need to determine the specific court where the case was filed. Records of cases reviewed by the appellate-level courts may also be inspected at that level. Furthermore, after the establishment of the particular court’s location, requesting parties are required to gather relevant information pertaining to the case of interest. Such information includes the case number, year case was filed, and the complete names of the parties involved.
Step 2. Visit the Courthouse and Render a Record Request
Courts in the state of Utah provide local guidelines on the process of searching through their court case records. Most family courts provide self-help public terminals where requesters can search and view cases using the case number or party names. Viewing the public access terminal constitutes the easiest, most efficient method of accessing court records for free. However, in such instances where the case number is not known or the requester is unable to find the individual or the record in the terminal, a request for assistance may be made to the court custodian who may require a search fee before the request is processed. Furthermore, requesters who do not know how to use the self-help center may submit a written request to the clerk of court especially if copies are needed. Some courts provide online request forms that can be printed from the court website and filled before visiting the court to simplify the process. Other courts may provide this request form in physical paper format.
Step 3: Pay the Required Fees and Obtain Copies of Records
Usually, viewing and inspection of records using the public terminal or custodian search no longer than a set time frame is free. However, there is a nominal fee for obtaining copies of family records and additional charges may apply if certified copies are also requested. The payment method and requirement varies from court to court and may depend on the number of pages intended to be copied. Prior to visiting the courthouse, requesters may contact the specific courthouse to ascertain the payment requirements explored by the court.
How Do I Obtain Utah Criminal Court Records by Mail?
By mail, the requesting party must first determine the specific court of interest and also gather relevant information. Some courts offer additional emailing services which may prove an easier method for internet-wise requesters. The clerk of court generally provides the mailing/emailing address and defines the steps necessary for exploring this option. To properly render an acceptable request, requests are required to send a written request which must include the case number, first name, last name, date of birth of one of the parties to the case, the specific document needed, a self-addressed stamped envelope, and a phone number to the criminal division of the court where the case was filed. For easy access, some courts provide a downloadable form that can be printed, completed and mailed to the court. Note that the processing fee must be paid before the clerk attends to a request hence it is advisable for the requester to contact the clerk to ascertain both the cost of the sought copies and the payment method accepted by the court.
Specialized Family Court Records
Along with generating and maintaining records of court proceedings and trial transcripts in family-case hearings, the Family Division of Utah District courts, and the juvenile courts manage various judgment files and records. These documents provide official reports of divorces, child custody, adoptions as well as actions in respect of the execution of wills, estate management, and other property claims. These records are managed in various institutions and may be released to eligible persons upon request. However, the eligibility criteria for each record may vary and depends on the sensitivity of the record of interest.
How Do I Access Adoption Records?
Consistent with the state rule, all adoption records are confidential records, hence rendering disclosure to unauthorized individuals unlawful. However, the Utah Department of Children and Family Services may have information regarding foster children and are available to such children who are now adults. Furthermore, in accordance with the Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 107(a), authorized persons may request copies of closed adoption decrees at the particular court where the case was handled. However, such authorized individuals must provide proof of identification indicating the requestor as the parent or the adoptee. Additionally, parties to adoption proceedings may petition the court for disclosure of an adoption record. It is the duty of the judge to determine if the reasons detailed in the petition outweighs the privacy interests. If granted, the particular information approved by the judge is provided to the petitioner and then resealed thereafter.
How Do I Access Divorce Court Records in Utah?
Certified copies of divorce decrees may be accessed from the specific custodian of the court the divorce was granted. While the state of Utah does not operate a central database from which divorce records may be accessed, these records are maintained on each court’s website. To obtain divorce records, requesting parties may visit, mail, email, or fax the court of record depending on the discretion of the clerk. Also, before a request is duly processed, interested parties are required to provide case-specific information to narrow and facilitate the search. The required information may include—the full names of the involved parties, the case file number, the date the case was filed, the case number, and/or the dissolution date. Generally, these records may be viewed for free at the online terminal in the courthouse but in cases where copying and/or certification are also required, a fee is charged in accordance with the local court guidelines. The fee is not absolute and depends on the number of copies required.
Both government websites and organizations may offer divorce and marriage records. Similarly, third party public record websites can also provide these types of records. But because third party organizations are not operated or sponsored by the government, record availability may vary. Further, marriage and divorce records are considered highly private and are often sealed, meaning availability of these types of records cannot be guaranteed.
How Do I Access Child Custody Court Records in Utah?
While some child custody records are generally considered public records, specific aspects of these records are redacted. Redacted information may include details of guardian ad litem, financial and health care records as well as identifying information of minors and details of custody evaluators or domestic violence reports, where applicable. Thus, persons seeking access to these records may be required to meet some eligibility requirements of these records to access the full information on a child custody record. To access child custody records in Utah, the requester is required to contact the family court. The requesting party will also be required to provide information regarding the case and pay any applicable fees to gain record access. For especially sensitive information, requests must be validated by a court order/petition to unseal.