How to Obtain Court Records in Vermont
The judiciary in Vermont is streamlined to reflect only the necessary aspects of law in the country’s smallest state. Here, there are only two layers of courts, the superior and the supreme.
Superior courts in Vermont are the general trial courts. It is composed of separate civil and criminal chambers, and separate divisions handle specialized aspects of law, including family, environmental, district, and probate. An additional judicial bureau is a division of superior court that handles misdemeanors such as traffic and municipal ordinance violations. There is one superior court in each of the state’s 14 counties.
The state supreme court is the appellate court of Vermont and manages the state bar.
Obtaining court records
Court documents are helpful to have when you have to prove you’ve completed a term of probation or parole, to receive a court-ordered financial settlement, to show rightful ownership of an inherited property, or to get a protection order enforced.
This website is a good starting point for researching court cases in Vermont: https://secure.vermont.gov/vtcdas/user. The next step in requesting court documents or records is to contact the clerk of the court where the case was heard, using this directory: https://www.vermontjudiciary.org/court-locations.
In Vermont, a probate division of superior courts is located in each county. This court has jurisdiction over wills and estates, trusts, guardianships, and birth, death, and marriage documentation. To research probate records, you may try the general search engine (results are more likely for wills and estates) at https://secure.vermont.gov/vtcdas/user. To obtain records, contact the clerk of the probate division in the county where the individual lived using this directory: https://www.vermontjudiciary.org/court-locations.
At times some court documents may be classified as confidential due to the inclusion of sensitive private information like medical records. Court staff may be able to redact documents before they are released.
Dissolving a marriage requires an agreement signed by both parties. This decree is reviewed by the judge of the family court division. Having a copy of a divorce decree can be helpful when questions about alimony payments, child custody, and shared property arise. To get a copy of your divorce decree contact the clerk of the court where the divorce was finalized by using this directory: https://www.vermontjudiciary.org/court-locations.
The U.S. District Court for Vermont handles bankruptcy issues for individuals and businesses overwhelmed by debt. The process often (but not always) requires liquidation of assets to pay off creditors. These federal courts also have jurisdiction over criminal trials and multi-state civil lawsuits. To research a case in U.S. District Court, start with www.pacer.gov.