How to Obtain Court Records in Oregon
Oregon’s courts were recently consolidated so that circuit courts have taken the place of district courts. These entry-level courts are trial courts with jurisdiction over family matters, juvenile cases, and probate (except for several counties in the eastern part of the state) as well as small claims, traffic, and criminal cases.
The court of appeals and supreme court sit at the top of the state judiciary, both hearing disputes over lower court decisions. The supreme court also handles election districts and ballot issues.
Requesting court documents
Proving your innocence, getting help with child support or custody issues, collecting on a financial settlement, and enforcing a protective order are all easier when you have a court document in hand. To get copies of court records or official court documents, start with this website: http://www.courts.oregon.gov/services/online/Pages/ojcin.aspx. Contact the clerk of the court where the matter was heard to get official copies.
Keep in mind that some court records may be confidential due to the inclusion of personal information such as medical records, crime victims’ names, or information about juvenile defendants. Courts may withhold or redact information that is considered confidential.
In most Oregon counties, probate court is part of local district courts. If you’re seeking records of wills, estates, distribution of property or assets to heirs, or information about adoption or guardianships, contact the clerk of the district court. Or you may search this database for case numbers, dates, and other information: http://www.courts.oregon.gov/services/online/Pages/ojcin.aspx.
When a couple divorces they agree to terms set out in a divorce decree and it is approved by a judge. These official documents spell out how property should be divided, how children will be cared for, and whether alimony will be paid. To get a copy of your divorce decree, contact the clerk of the court where the divorce was granted, or search here: http://www.courts.oregon.gov/services/online/Pages/ojcin.aspx.
Overwhelming debt forces many individuals and businesses into bankruptcy. This is a process overseen by a federal court, not a state court. These U.S. District courts are located in each state, having jurisdiction over federal criminal cases as well as several types of civil issues like class action lawsuits. To research federal court cases, start with www.pacer.gov.
Incidents and disputes that take place on Oregon’s Native American reservations are generally not handled by state courts but by tribal courts. To find out more about tribal courts or to research a case, start on this site: http://www.ncsc.org/Topics/Special-Jurisdiction/Tribal-Courts/Resource-Guide.aspx.