Utah Court Records
Where To Find Family Court Records In Utah?
Family court records can be found in the District Courts and Juvenile Courts of Utah. The district courts serve as the trial courts of the state, hearing all civil matters, including domestic relations cases. The Juvenile Courts are specialized courts that handle all juvenile matters including delinquency, conservatorship/guardianship of minors, as well as abuse, neglect, and dependency cases. The juvenile courts also have the authority to decide some child custody, visitation, and support cases. Interested parties may request to inspect or copy family court records using request channels provided by the courts. However, juvenile court case records are inaccessible to the public. As a rule, the courts maintain these records in paper or electronic forms at the courthouses but it is still possible to obtain access records remotely in the state.
The records contained in documents related to family court include both marriage and divorce records. Both types of records contain information that is considered very personal to the parties involved, and it is recommended that those parties maintain these records with care in order to make changes in the future. The personal nature of these records results in both being considerably more difficult to find and obtain when compared to other types of public records. In many cases, these records are not available through either government sources or third party public record websites.
What Is Family Law In Utah?
Utah family law refers to statutes that indicate the different types of family cases handled by district courts in the state, and guide the resolution of these matters. The law is established under Title 30, divided into chapters and sections, and is as follows:
Chapter 1: Marriage
Chapter 2: Property rights
Chapter 3: Divorce
Chapter 4: Separate Maintenance
Chapter 5: Visitation rights of grandparents
Chapter 5a: Custody and Visitation for Individuals Other than Parents Act
Additionally, some rules and procedures govern domestic relations and juvenile cases, such as the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure, Rules of Juvenile Procedure, and Judicial Council Code of Judicial Administration
What Are Family Court Cases And Records In Utah?
Family court cases are domestic disputes or issues heard and resolved by the Utah family courts. These cases include:
- Juvenile delinquency and other juvenile justice matters including emancipation, termination of parental rights, child protection, and child welfare
- Abuse of vulnerable and older adults
- Domestic abuse or stalking
- Child support
- Child custody and visitation
Records created from the proceedings of these cases are called family court records. The District Courts are tasked with maintaining and disseminating non-confidential court records to members of the public. Available records include transcripts, case files, decrees, orders, docket information, notices, decisions, and affidavits.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides or was accused in.
Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
Are Family Court Cases Public Records In Utah?
Under provisions set in the Utah Government Records Access and Management Act, family court records are presumed public. This means that anyone can access a family court record in Utah provided the record is not confidential or sealed. Cited reasons why records may be sealed in the state include privacy and security concerns, and protection of an individual’s identity. Rule of Judicial Administration 4–202.02(2) defines types of family case records that are sealed, private, or protected by court order or Utah statutes. These records include:
- Adoption records
- Juvenile records
- Medical and psychological records
- Domestic abuse records
- Divorce petitions
- Private divorce records
- Protective order petitions
- Temporary order motions in custody cases
- Expunged records
- Children’s justice center investigative interviews
- Confidential stalking injunctions, protective orders, and actions under the Utah Child Support Act and Utah Uniform Parentage Act, among others
Information that may be redacted by court order includes identifying numbers such as driver’s license, financial, bank account, and contact numbers; proprietary information; employment histories; and personal identifiers of minors, crime victims, or informants (names, home addresses, race, dates of birth, etc). Under 63G–2–202, people who may have access to non-public records include the party named on the record, parents/legal guardians, representing attorneys, agencies providing family/juvenile services, authorized government bodies, and parties with court orders.
How Do I Find Family Court Records In Utah?
Interested parties may obtain unrestricted Utah family court records in person from the particular District Court where the cases were filed. The case number and subject of record’s name are necessary details required from the requester to identify a record. Contact and location details are available on the Court Directory. Alternatively, the Xchange public access terminals located in most district courthouses may be used to obtain family case information. This service is provided at no cost; however, it is imperative to contact the court prior to the in-person request to inquire if this service is available. The terminals are also accessible at the Utah State Law Library during business hours, Monday-Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding 11.00 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. Family court records older than 50 years, including the register of actions, case files, orders, and judgments, may be accessed through the Utah State Archives.
Divorce and marriage records may be available through government sources and organizations, though their availability cannot be guaranteed. This is also true of their availability through third-party websites and companies, as these organizations are not government-sponsored and record availability may vary further. Finally, marriage and divorce records are considered extremely private due to the information they contain and are often sealed. Bearing these factors in mind, record availability for these types of records cannot be guaranteed.
How Do I Find Family Court Records Online?
Information obtained from the Xchange public terminals can be obtained online in Utah. While this service is free at the courthouses, it is available on a subscription basis remotely. It should be noted that a requester must have a username and password to access XChange. To create a user account, an individual is required to email a completed Xchange Subscription Agreement Form (Word version).. It costs $25 to verify a new user account. Each user is allotted a specific number of searches for a fee. Parties who exhaust this quota are charged an additional amount until the next billing cycle (first day of the following month).
Search and copy fees may not be assessed for governmental users, within Utah, who are permitted by law to obtain family court records. These parties may email the courts with the subject line “Xchange” and include the following details:
- A government agency identification
- The reason for using the system and a statement that the system will be used only for this reason
- A completed Xchange Subscription Agreement Form
It is not possible to access private, protected, sealed or expunged records. Also excluded are juvenile court cases. The information that can be accessed with Xchange includes the names of involved parties and their address (if available), case information (case type, number, and filing date), judgments, the presiding judge(s), hearings, attorney information, outcomes of cases, and the documents filed in a case. Instructions on how to search may be accessed on the Instructions and Search Tips for the Xchange web page. Parties who are experiencing difficulties in using this system or who want to unsubscribe may email the help center with the subject line “Xchange.”
What Is Utah Custody Law?
The Utah custody law is covered by Chapter 3 of the Utah Code and guides how custody matters are decided in the state. Custody issues may come up from family cases such as marriage dissolution (divorce, legal separation, and annulment), neglect and dependency, adoption, and termination of parental rights. In line with the law, parents can be given legal or physical custody over their child or children. A party with legal custody has the right to make major decisions concerning the welfare or activities of a child; whereas, physical custody only refers to decisions relating to the child’s residence. These custody types are further split into sole and joint legal/physical categories. In sole physical custody or joint physical custody, one parent, or both, has the responsibility to decide living arrangements. While in sole or joint legal custody, the parents have singular or equal rights in making important child decisions such as health, medical, and social activity. In cases where there are two or more children, the court may rule in favor of split custody. Simply put, this means that each parent may have sole or legal custody over one child, at least.
How To Find Family Court Lawyers In Utah?
The referral service offered by the Utah State Bar may be used to find family court lawyers in Utah. Citizens using the Licensed Lawyer tool may search for lawyers by name and legal category. Parties looking for limited legal services may still use the same tool by selecting “search by legal category,” and selecting “payment options,” then, “unbundled services.” Lawyers offering limited legal help services give advice based on specific requests for a fee. These requests could include helping to draft a document, coaching for hearings, appearing in court on behalf of a client, legal advice on the strength of a case, etc. The Bar also provides the Modest Means Lawyer Referral Program for individuals with moderate incomes who do not qualify for free legal services yet cannot afford a lawyer’s standard fee. More resources on finding legal help or free legal clinics in Utah may be viewed on the Utah State judiciary’s website, or the Public Services and Support web page of the Utah State Bar.