Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Accessing U.S. Court Records and Public Documents

If you're in need of public records or court documents, there are a few different routes you can take. Whether you need marriage records, birth or death certificates, court dockets, case files, records of adoptions or probate, and even judicial orders, many can be obtained through the internet, written request, telephone or in person. Knowing where to go is half the battle.

You'll need the name or names on the court documents. If you have both parties of court records, you'll have a much better chance at obtaining the correct documents. Along with any names involved, your search can be defined by knowing the document type, a court records number or case number, city, county, and state in which the records are located.

You can check for court records directly from the court, either through the court's website, or telephone, or even by mailing in a specific request, containing ALL of the court document information. Sometimes when ordering copies of documents, there may be small fees such as copy fees, or document fees. If you are mailing a request, should contact the court by telephone to find out about the specific documents you need, and the fees - if any. Online there may also be a per-page fee, and can often be purchased securely with a credit card on the website.

You can also access federal and Supreme Court documents through the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts PACER Service Center. There website requires a membership, but has a very extensive database. Justia is another highly useful website, created to search for federal district court documents.

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