How to Get Information About Your Family Law Case
What do you do when you need information about what’s going on in your case? Do you have a hearing coming up? Did the court file that document? Do you need a copy of your latest order?
Checking the docket
One way to find out what is going on in your case is by checking the docket. The docket is a list kept by the court that sets out all documents filed in your case and what hearings are scheduled and have been held. Some courts also provide information on who the parties and attorneys are in each case and what fees have been held.
Many counties allow you to access at least some docket information online. To access your docket online, you’ll need to know what county your case is in and will probably need to have your case number. You can find your case number on any filed document, on the right-hand side, under the spot where the clerk stamped it. Certain types of cases, like parentage actions, do not have information available online. To get more information about those types of cases, you will need to go to the courthouse.
Next do an online search for “[your case’s county] Superior Court.” This should take you to the county court website. Once you’re there, the website should have a section called “Online Services” or something similar. Click on that. From there, there should be a link that says something like “Case Information” or “Case Query.” Click there. The website will give you instructions on how to look up your case. You may need to enter your case number, or a part of it, or some counties allow you to search by name.
What will come up is a list, with dates that documents were filed, what the document was and who filed it. It may show what fee, if any, was paid with the filing. It will show hearings that already happened and may show hearings that are scheduled. If the scheduled hearings are not part of that list, there may be a “calendar” link on the page that shows upcoming events. Some counties have started scanning filed documents and you may be able to view them online.
Checking the docket can give you information about dates of filing, what has been filed, and information about hearings.
Reviewing your file
If you need a copy of a document and your court doesn’t have it available online, or if your county doesn’t have an online docket, you will need to go to the courthouse to view your file.
Generally your file will be held at the courthouse where you filed your paperwork and have your hearings. The address of the courthouse should be on any filed document, underneath the area where the parties’ name and contact information (or their attorney’s name and contact information) is written. Occasionally files will be held or moved somewhere else if there is a hearing at a different location. Another exception is for closed cases that have been closed for a long time. These may be put into offsite storage. If that happens, you will need to talk to the clerk about how to get access to it.
When you get to the courthouse, you’ll want to find the family law clerk or the records office. Some counties have a separate office for family law that includes the records office. Others have a family law section in the main clerk’s office and may have a different section for records. Other counties have courthouses that only handle family law matters and have a clerk’s office and records in that courthouse. If you’re not sure where to go when you get to the courthouse, you can ask a deputy for assistance.
You will need to have your case number. You can find your case number on any filed document, on the right-hand side, under the spot where the clerk stamped it. If you don’t have it, ask the clerk for help in finding it.
Once you’re in the clerk’s office or records office, they will have instructions on what needs to be done to get your file. Some counties have a request form for you to fill out. Many will want a name and some want some form of ID number, like a driver’s license so that they have a record of who is looking at the file. For some actions, like parentage, you need to be a party or their attorney to access the case file. If you want a copy of a specific document, you may be able to ask for it and have the clerk get it for you instead of viewing the file. There will be a charge to receive a copy of any document. If you want an endorsed copy, the charge will be higher.
The clerk will get your file and give it to you. Some counties have an area where you can sit to view the file. You won’t be able to take it with you out of the office or courthouse. You can look through it and see everything that has been filed. If you want a copy of a document, you can find it and then let the clerk know which pages to copy. There will be a charge for the copies.
Have questions about what is happening in your case? Contact Romanovska Law to learn more.