How to Obtain Court Records in Kentucky
Kentucky’s lower court system is unique in that its family court division is not at the district court level but independent of other courts at the circuit level. This is an important distinction for those searching for Kentucky court records.
At the lowest level of Kentucky courts are district courts, which have jurisdiction over probate, small claims cases up to $1,500 in value, misdemeanor and traffic issues, and some domestic relations and juvenile concerns. Circuit courts are the next step, with oversight of domestic relations, criminal cases, juvenile cases, and real property issues. Both levels may hold jury trials.
At the top tier of the court system is the appellate court, which hears disputes of lower court decisions as well as felonies with sentences of less than 20 years, appeals of some administrative agencies, and interlocutory appeals. The state supreme court hears appeals of felony sentences of more than 20 years, workers compensation case appeals, death penalty appeals, administrative agency appeals, and issues involving the state bar. The state supreme court also advises the legislature on the constitutionality of laws.
There are situations in which a copy of a court record can be helpful, such as to prove your innocence, to show that the terms of your probation or parole were satisfied, and to enforce the terms of a court’s protection order.
General searches of Kentucky’s court records database may be done by party name or by case number on this page: https://kcoj.kycourts.net/CourtNet/Search/Index. The result allows you to see the current status of the case as well as to get the case number and other information like date of the next hearing. From the result page you may also request records from the court clerk or request a copy of records for a fee.
Divorce decree search
When you divorce, the decree is the agreement that binds both parties regarding division of property, child custody, name changes, and more. A copy of a divorce decree is helpful when applying for loans, housing, and other purposes. You may search the database of court records here https://kcoj.kycourts.net/CourtNet/Search/Index to order a copy or to contact the court clerk with the necessary case information to ask a question or request a copy by mail.
Financial liquidation through bankruptcy, whether an individual or a business, is overseen by U.S. District Courts at the federal level rather than by state courts. These records show who the person owed money to as well as the terms of the bankruptcy (whether liquidation of assets was required or not). Federal courts also have jurisdiction over lawsuits involving multiple states, class action lawsuits, and federal criminal trials. To search federal court records, see https://www.pacer.gov/.
Probate records search
When a person dies and his property and possessions are divided among heirs, the process is overseen by probate court. This court ensures that estate taxes are paid and the process follows legal guidelines. Probate records are searchable on the general Kentucky court records website here: https://kcoj.kycourts.net/CourtNet/Search/Index. Probate courts also have jurisdiction over guardianships of the elderly and mentally ill.