Kentucky Court Records
Where to Find Family Court Records In Kentucky
A Family Court in Kentucky is a division of a Circuit Court that primarily handles all legal matters relating to families and disputes concerning their social relations or domestic life. Family courts have judges as well as officials who maintain and disseminate records created during a family case. These records are generally public information, and the record’s custodian will grant access to interested individuals unless a court order or statute has sealed the records.
What Is Family Law In Kentucky?
Family law in Kentucky is a body of statutes that defines and enforces rights and duties in the formation, existence, and dissolution of marriage or family unit. In Kentucky, these statutes are under Title XXXV of the Kentucky Revised Statutes. It further divided into chapters that govern:
Change of Name: Chapter 401
Marriage: Chapter 402
Dissolution of Marriage & Child Custody: Chapter 403
Contracts and Separate Estate Of Married Women: Chapter 404
Parent and Child: Chapter 405
Uniform Act on Paternity: Chapter 406
Interstate Support Enforcement: Chapter 407
What Are Family Court Cases and Records in Kentucky?
Generally, Family Court cases are litigations that arise when individuals in a family unit cannot resolve disputes without judicial intervention. The majority of family cases are non-criminal, and the plaintiff seeks legal enforcement of rights or obligations from a family member. Furthermore, Family Court proceedings follow the Family Court Rule of Procedure and Practice.
Meanwhile, when a plaintiff initiates a family case, court officials will maintain records of all activities that occurred during the litigation. These records are referred to as Family Court records and include documents pertaining to motions, court transcripts, affidavits, notices, judge’s notes, attorney briefs, as well as final judgment.
Common Family Court cases in Kentucky involve:
- Dissolution of marriage
- Spousal support
- Equitable distribution of marital property
- Child custody, support, and visitation
- Paternity and adoption
- Domestic violence
- Dependency, neglect, and abuse
- Termination of parental rights
- Juvenile offenses such as runaways, truancy, and delinquency.
Are Family Court Cases Public Records In Kentucky?
Yes, the Kentucky Open Records Act gives anyone the right to inspect court records in the custodian’s possession during business hours. However, the Act sets limitations and public access restrictions to documents containing sensitive information or information on minors. Thus, the availability of Family Court records varies with the information contained therein. Chapter 50 of the Kentucky Clerks’ Manual lists records that are considered private under the law.
For example, Kentucky divorce records and records on domestic violence, and interpersonal protective orders are public information. However, the court will redact sensitive information like financial identification numbers, alimony amounts, as well as names of minors. On the other hand, public access to adoption records and juvenile court cases is restricted unless the requester presents a court order or subpoena, granting access to that record.
How Do I Find Family Court Records In Kentucky?
The first step is to identify the record’s natural custodian at the county level or the state’s central repository to find a specific court. For the latter, this is often the circuit court in the county where the case was filed. Parties will find the directory of the location of Family Courts maintained by the Kentucky Judiciary very useful.
Next, parties must visit the custodian’s office in person and during business hours to make an inquiry. To do this, the requester must be able to provide necessary information to facilitate the search and present a government-issued photo ID upon request. If the record sought contains redacted information or if the court or statutes have sealed it, individuals must petition the judge for a court order or subpoena that grants access to that specific record. To do this, parties must demonstrate legal interests that outweigh the premises for the seal.
After this, the Clerk will request that the requester pays a search fee or copying fee based on the number of searches or copies requested. If the requester seeks certification of records, they must also pay a certification fee. Likewise, if a record’s custodian allows mail requests, the requester will be required to pay postage fees and mail the request in a self-addressed stamped envelope. These fees vary from county to county. Therefore the requester must inquire beforehand. For example, to find a Family Court record in Jefferson County, contact:
Family Court Division
Office of Circuit Court Clerk
Jefferson County Judicial Center, Room 105, First Floor
700 West Jefferson Street
Louisville, KY 40202
Jefferson Family Court charges $0.25 per page and $5.00 for certification of a record with a raised seal. The court accepts payment in the form of cash, checks, and money orders. The requester must attach a written request, a photo ID, and cost in a self-addressed stamped envelope for mail requests.
How Do I Find Family Court Records Online?
Transition to electronic maintenance of court records has made online access one of the fastest ways to obtain public records of interest. The Kentucky judiciary maintains a centralized system for accessing publicly available court records on an Online Court Record Portal. Requesters may query this repository by using the case number or case information such as the party’s name or birth date. Kentucky also maintains court dockets online.
Records that are considered public may also be accessible from some third-party websites such as kentuckycourtrecords.us. 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 Kentucky Custody Law?
Kentucky Custody Law oversees the assignment of legal custody and physical placement of a minor in the event of a divorce, legal separation, or annulment. While the law is not biased in awarding child custody, it acknowledges the de facto custodian. This is essentially the primary caregiver and financial supporter of a child for more than six months if the child is under three years of age and for more than one year if the child is older than three years.
By default, Kentucky’s custody laws assume that joint custody is in the best interest of a minor. Thus, both parents will share the decision-making authority and physical custody of a child. However, either parent may petition the judge to grant sole custody on several grounds, including a partner’s history of domestic abuse, sexual assault, substance abuse, financial or emotional abuse, and criminal history. In this case, the parent with sole custody may file for a protective order against the other person.
While custody records in Kentucky are considered private and sealed by statute, only individuals involved, their attorneys, and legal representatives may access them. Individuals who wish to access these records must demonstrate legitimate interest and present a court order.
How To Find Family Court Lawyers In Kentucky
Kentucky Bar Association helps interested individuals find lawyers near them. To get started, the individual must call (502) 564–3795 or use the online lawyer locator. To query the database, select the county of litigation and designate “Family Law” as Area of Practice. The search will return a list of Family Court lawyers within the jurisdiction.