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Where to Find Family Court Records In Colorado

Family Courts in Colorado are divisions of trial courts responsible for handling legal matters relating to social changes in family and domestic affairs. Each of the 64 Counties in the state has a family court division, and officials of these courts maintain and disseminate records created or filed when the court hears family cases. Generally, these records are public information, and interested individuals may obtain them from the record’s custodian.

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 Colorado?

Family law refers to statutes or legal principles that define relationships, rights, and duties of family members within and outside marriage. These statutes broadly focus on the civic union, divorce, annulment, financial support, domestic violence, etc. Title 14—Domestic Matters of the Colorado Statutes empowers judges to rule over or make binding decisions on the matters mentioned above. The Family Law is further subdivided to cover:

  • Adoption: Article 1
  • Marriage and Rights of Married Persons: Article 2
  • Domestic Abuse: Article 4
  • Desertion and Non-Support: Articles 5 to 7
  • Dissolution of Marriage and Parental Responsibilities: Articles 10 to 13
  • Child Support: Article 14
  • Civil Union: Article 15

What Are Family Court Cases and Records in Colorado?

Generally, family court cases involve disputes pertaining to spouses, parents, and children. Family court cases begin when one or more family members seek judicial intervention to enforce their legal rights or obligations from a family member.

Family court records refer to all the documents created during family court cases. These documents include motions, court transcripts, affidavits, notices, judge’s notes, attorney briefs, and final judgment. If any of the parties involved files an appeal, the appellate courts would also maintain relevant documents. Common family court cases in Colorado involve:

  • Divorce and Annulment
  • Child Custody and Physical Placement
  • Child Support
  • Emancipation
  • Domestic Violence
  • Juvenile delinquency and truancy
  • Paternity Cases
  • Relinquishing Parental Rights
  • Marriage Licenses for individuals under 18 years old
  • Permission to terminate a pregnancy for women under 18 years old

Are Family Court Cases Public Records In Colorado?

Yes, the Colorado Open Records Act grants public members the right to request and view non-confidential family court records. Exceptions apply to family court records that contain sensitive information and information on minors. Only the parties involved, their attorneys, and legal designees may view and obtain such records.

Colorado divorce records are generally accessible to the public, but the record’s custodian will redact sensitive information such as juvenile records, identification numbers, financial statements, settlements, minors’ names, etc. Typically, Colorado State Judiciary does not permit public access to paternity and juvenile court cases without a court order or subpoena.

How Do I Find Family Court Records In Colorado?

Individuals who wish to view or obtain copies of family court records must visit the applicable court’s records custodian. Requests may be made in person, by mail, or online depending on the court clerk. The Colorado Judiciary provides a court directory in the state.

After identifying the specific county court, the requester may begin the process of finding court records. For in-person requests, the requester must provide essential information to facilitate the search and may also be prompted to provide a government-issued photo ID. Requesters will also need to cover the cost of searching, copying, and mailing (a fee schedule is available on the form). If the requester seeks a sealed record, they must present a court order or subpoena.

How Do I Find Family Court Records Online?

Online search is one of the fastest ways to access public family court records. An online search requires the completion of a record request form and the payment of a search fee.

Records that are considered public may also be accessible from some third-party websites such as colorado.courtrecords.org. These websites often make searching less complicated, 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 of the person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or where the offense occurred.

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party websites may vary.

What Is Colorado Custody Law?

Colorado Custody Law refers to legal rules that assign decision-making responsibilities and physical placement of children after a divorce, separation, or annulment. Article 10 of the Uniform Marriage Dissolution Act defines custody rules. Colorado Custody Laws do not give preferences for either parent or assign custody. Instead, the law designates parental and residential responsibilities based on the needs of the child. These responsibilities may be shared or sole.

The parent with sole parental responsibilities makes significant decisions concerning the child. Likewise, the child spends more time with the parent who has primary residential duties.

Child support does not determine the assignment of responsibilities, but the court may consider it. However, significant factors include domestic abuse, sexual assault, substance abuse, and criminal record. In any case, the court may award sole parental responsibilities, and the parent may file for a protection order.

While records of custody cases are generally open to the public, the court restricts access to documents containing sensitive information, identifying information on the minor, and any information deemed private. If a party in a custody battle considers a record a risk to their privacy or security, they may petition the court to seal or redact such court records.

How To Find Family Court Lawyers In Colorado

Colorado State Bar Association offers a webpage known as LicensedLawyer to help residents find experienced lawyers practising in specific fields. Using this search database, interested persons can find family lawyers within particular Colorado locations by performing a powered search. Researchers can also search by attorneys that provide metered/alternative payment arrangements.

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