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What are Indiana Civil Court Records?

Indiana Civil Court Records are official documentation containing information on all civil cases filed in the state’s courts. These records include transcripts, statements of evidence or proceedings, tapes of depositions, docket sheets, motions, petitions, briefs, court decrees, and other similar documents written or recorded electronically as part of the civil court’s deliberative process. The Indiana public records law ensures that civil court records not sealed by statute or court order are made available for public inspection. Interested members of the public may find Indiana civil court records in the jurisdiction where the case was heard.

Who can access Civil Court Records in the State of Indiana?

The Indiana Administrative Rule provides citizens the right to access, view and copy most civil case records. These records are primarily kept and managed in the specific courthouse where the case was filed and may be retrieved by interested parties upon request. However, confidential records exempt from public disclosure may only be obtained by individuals with the legal authority to do so. The clerk of the court is the records custodian whose primary responsibility is filing and processing court records requests within the premises of the court.

What information is contained in an Indiana Civil Court File?

Regardless of the type of civil suit, most civil case files in the state have the following order of information:

  • County Number
  • Location Code
  • Court Name
  • Docket Number
  • Date of filing
  • Names of plaintiffs and defendants
  • Representing attorney(s) information
  • Type of suit (general civil, domestic relations, or others)
  • Complaint/Petition
  • Date and type of disposition
  • Judge’s Code
  • Yes/No damages
  • Amount of Damages
  • Additur or Remittitur
  • Additur amount
  • Remittitur amount
  • Source Code
  • General Sessions Appeal
  • Summons
  • Affidavits/Declaration
  • Executions issued and return
  • Order of notice and appearances
  • Memorandum of decision

Understanding the Indiana Court Structure

Indiana’s court system is typically divided into two broad categories: appellate courts and trial courts. The appellate-level courts consist of the Supreme Court, the five courts of appeals, and the tax courts while trial courts are made up of superior courts, circuit courts, and local city or town courts.

Appellate Courts

Supreme Court

Made up of five justices, the Indiana Supreme Court serves as the court of last resort for civil and criminal cases in the state. It exercises original jurisdiction over appeals from lower court decisions, appeals from death penalty verdicts, and offers advisory opinions over questions of state law, etc.

Courts of Appeal

As the name suggests, the Indiana Courts of Appeal have no original jurisdiction and functions to review the final decisions of various administrative agencies in the state. They are divided into five judicial districts with 15 judges and serves as the court of last resort over appeals not taken to the Supreme Court.

Tax Court

With only one court located in Indianapolis, the Tax Court has exclusive jurisdiction over cases that questions the state’s tax laws.

Trial Courts

Superior Courts

They serve as the trial courts of general jurisdiction in counties with distinct superior courts. Having about 201 court judges presiding over the various counties in the state, their organization varies from county to county each serving as the court of exclusive and concurrent jurisdiction over all criminal and civil cases. They also review appeals from local court judgments.

Circuit Courts

There are 92 counties in the state of Indiana. With the exception of the Ohio-Dearborn conjoined circuit, each county has one judicial circuit hence making up the state’s 91 circuit courts. They have concurrent and overlapping functions with the superior courts.

Local Courts

The various city and town courts are courts of limited jurisdiction handling all misdemeanors and infractions within its geographical jurisdiction. They also have exclusive jurisdiction over all town ordinances violations.

Are Civil Court Records Open to the Public?

In Indiana, civil court records not held by statute are public records and can be inspected and copied by the general public. Typically, general case information such as the case style, case number, the presiding judge’s name, attending parties and attorneys, the major events in the case, the case history events, and record information may be viewed by searching the public docket or online terminal of the court. Some records may be rendered confidential or sealed by law and hence limited to only authorized individuals. Some of these limitations include:

  • Juvenile case matters
  • Adoption and paternity proceedings
  • Home and cell phone numbers
  • Records relating to drug dealer eviction programs
  • Social Security numbers and bank account numbers
  • Files involving domestic violence protection order
  • Consultative, advisory, or deliberative discussions records

How to Find Civil Court Records

Depending on the convenience of the requester, Indiana Civil Court records can be obtained by various methods. Interested members of the public can opt to obtain records:

  • By submitting a record request in person
  • By searching the state’s online court website
  • By requesting for records via mail
  • Through third party websites

How to Obtain Civil Court Records in Person

Step 1. Gather Information

Remote access to court records provides the quickest and most effective way of obtaining a civil court record. Interested parties will be required to submit a written request for the records, providing specific information that can expedite the clerk’s search. To successfully submit a valid request, interested parties must first confirm that they have all the information required to identify the record. Some of the information required includes:

  • The case ID/docket number of the case
  • Names of one or both parties in the case
  • Approximate date the case ended
  • Location of the courthouse
  • Name of the presiding judge
  • Type of lawsuit

Step 2. Visit the Courthouse

Most courts permit members of the public to view, inspect or make copies of public civil court records. This is done at terminals located on the courthouse during specific hours. Residents can also obtain copies by submitting a request to the court clerk. Depending on when the case was filed, some older records may be stored in off-site locations in which case, requesters may be asked to return.

Step 3. Pay the Fee for Copies

Although the court charges no fee for viewing and inspecting court records, it stipulates a fee for making copies of court records. Also, additional charges may apply for certified copy requests and the exact fee payable is determined by the court and the number of pages intended to be copied. The payment may be made in cash, by check, or online depending on the request method and the clerk’s available payment options.

How to Obtain Indiana Civil Court Records by Mail

To obtain civil court records by mail, requesters must first establish that the clerk of court offers this service. Details on how to request records via mail can be found by visiting the official court’s website or contacting the clerk of court. The website also provides details on the cost of securing certified copies and photocopies of civil court records using this method. Requesters must also determine if the court accepts written requests or there is a request form that can be printed out from the clerk’s online page. Submitted request forms must include specific information to facilitate the search, such as a case number (if known) or names of the parties involved.

How to Obtain Civil Court Records Online

The online option has the limitation of being maximally explored by individuals with at least an average knowledge in the use of a computer. Interested citizens who wish to use this option but cannot handle it may accept help from third-party websites like CourtRecords.org website for expert help and expedited services.

Records of civil cases reviewed at the appellate courts may be obtained using the odyssey management. However, how far back the record goes differs among counties. The Chronological Case System may be searched with the following information: case number and/or case style of the case, the first or last name of parties involved, and an organization as a party to the appeal.

Case records of civil cases filed at the trial and local courts may be obtained by using the case history search link on the specific court’s website. The archives provide access to records of cases filed across 92 counties in the state, including; Adams, Allen, Bartholomew, Benton, Blackford, Boone, Brown, Carroll, Cass, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Crawford, Davies, Dearborn, Decatur, DeKalb, Delaware, Dubois, Elkhart, Fayette, Floyd, Fountain, Franklin, Fulton, Gibson, Grant, Greene, Hamilton, Hancock, Harrison, Hendricks, Henry, Howard, Huntington, Jackson, Jasper, Jay, Jefferson, Jennings, Johnson, Knox, Kosciusko, La Grange, Lake, La Porte, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Martin, Miami, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Newton, Noble, Ohio, Orange, Owen, Parke, Perry, Pike, Porter, Posey, Pulaski, Putnam, Randolph, Ripley, Rush, Scott, Shelby, Spencer, St. Joseph, Starke, Steuben, Sullivan, Switzerland, Tippecanoe, Tipton, Union, Vanderburgh, Vermillion, Vigo, Wabash, Warren, Warrick, Washington, Wayne, Wells, White, and Whitley counties.

Some counties provide direct access to civil court records using independently managed online dockets and search platforms maintained on their websites. Some of the county court websites include:

  • Adams County
  • Allen County
  • Bartholomew County
  • Benton County
  • Blackford County
  • Boone County
  • Brown County
  • Carroll County
  • Cass County
  • Clark County
  • Clay County
  • Clinton County
  • Crawford County
  • Daviess County
  • Dearborn County
  • Decatur County
  • DeKalb County
  • Delaware County
  • Dubois County
  • Elkhart County
  • Fayette County
  • Floyd County
  • Fountain County
  • Franklin County
  • Fulton County
  • Gibson County
  • Grant County
  • Greene County
  • Hamilton County
  • Hancock County
  • Harrison County
  • Hendricks County
  • Henry County
  • Howard County
  • Huntington County
  • Jackson County
  • Crawford County
  • Daviess County
  • Dearborn County
  • Decatur County
  • DeKalb County
  • Delaware County
  • Dubois County
  • Elkhart County
  • Fayette County
  • Floyd County
  • Fountain County
  • Franklin County
  • Fulton County
  • Gibson County
  • Grant County
  • Greene County
  • Hamilton County
  • Hancock County
  • Harrison County
  • Hendricks County
  • Henry County
  • Howard County
  • Huntington County
  • Jackson County
  • Jasper County
  • Knox County
  • Lagrange County
  • Lake County
  • Marion County
  • Monroe County
  • Porter County
  • St. Joseph County
  • Tippecanoe County
  • Warren County
  • Warrick County
  • Vanderburgh County
  • Vigo County

Publicly available records are 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 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.

Are all Indiana Civil Court Records Online?

Most civil courts in Indiana maintain online access via the unitary Odyssey case management system. In most cases, older records of filed cases may be unavailable in digitized format. This means that such records can only be viewed in traditional print form by walk-in visits and cannot be viewed online until they are imaged and uploaded. On the other hand, some counties restrict their online platform to subscribers, therefore in such cases, requesters may contact the county clerk to ascertain the subscription plan durations and prices. Generally, online access to confidential civil court cases, such as records of family part proceedings among many others is protected from in-person and online public view.

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