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Kentucky’s Court System consists of a Supreme Court, the Kentucky Court of Appeals, Circuit Courts, Family Courts, and District Courts. The state also has specialty courts to deal with things like veteran’s issues, DUIs, drug addiction, and mental illness.
Each county selects a Kentucky Court of Justice County Court Clerk to serve as support for the District and Circuit judges. These individuals are responsible for managing all the court records for the county. They also schedule juries, receive and disburse money, handle affidavits, issue driver license’s, administer oaths and provide legal documents and paperwork to court personnel.
Most court records in Kentucky will be available to the public. The state’s Court of Justice website does not explicitly list the files that are not available to the general public but in most states sealed, expunged and juvenile records will not be accessible. Additionally, adoption records are often closed to the public. United States federal law dictates that personal and sensitive information may not be included in public records. Things like social security numbers, private home addresses, tax IDs, children’s names, driver's license number, some vital records like death records and corporate trade secrets must first be removed from files before they are made public.
Regardless of the type of case, self-represented individuals and attorneys can file paperwork with the court clerk by visiting the courthouse anytime. Attorneys also have the option of e-filing in any one of the 120 counties for both civil and criminal cases that take place in Districts or Circuits. They put this system (ky.gov) in place in December of 2013 as part of their eCourt program. Their goal is to reduce the court’s expense of time and money along with environmental waste. They offer training for their e-filing system. Attorneys must register and then log in to begin using the e-filing program. They also have an area where users can log in to pay fines, fees and other amounts due.
You can use Infotracer to lookup Kentucky records within minutes! Infotracer’s massive database allows access to hundreds of court cases in Frankfort, Louisville, Kentucky County, Jefferson County, Fayette County, and Kenton County as well as other parts of the state. According to the KY Open Records Act - KRS 61.870 to 61.884, the general public has access to criminal records, civil cases, family issues such as divorce, bankruptcies, and more.
Anyone can perform a public records search for records in this state without any special permission or reason. Most KY records will be available online except where protected by law or court-ordered sealed.
Enjoy free instant access to KY records from various courts around the state. Conducting a Kentucky state records search by name is the best way to lookup cases online from Kentucky district, circuit, and family courts from all 60 judicial districts in the state.
In 2012, the Kentucky courts received 1,050,728 filings. In 2016, the number of filings decreased by 19.5% and counted 845,392 filings and had 837,485 outgoing cases
Domestic relations caseload of Kentucky at year end of 2016 has decreased by 12.1% compared to the last 5 years, in 2012 the number of incoming cases have been 73,719 but are higher than in 2015.
|Domestic Relations Caseload
|Total Statewide Caseload
The number of criminal cases in Kentucky courts counts to 88,433, with 88,433 felony cases.
Kentucky’s Circuit Courts are the general jurisdiction courts for the state. They hear both civil and criminal cases. Civil cases must be $5,000 or more to be heard in these courts. These courts also handle land disputes and title cases, traffic offenses, probate cases and capital offenses along with felonies. Circuit judges can also issue injunctions, writs of prohibition and writs of mandamus. Lower court appeals and those that come from administrative agencies are heard in these courts. Some Circuit judges serve more than one county within a circuit. Some circuits may have several judges but only one county. This issue depends on the population and caseload. Circuit judges are elected and serve eight-year terms.
Family Courts are a division of the Circuits (the highest trial court in the state), and they focus solely on domestic relations and juvenile issues. This court works closely with the District Court on matters of divorce, child custody, paternity, distribution of property, adoption, termination of parental rights, visitation and child support. Due to the specialized nature of these cases, only one judge hears all family matters related to child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, juvenile matters, adoption, child custody, and divorce records. These courts serve 3.2 million Kentuckians in 71 counties. Their judges are full-time, dedicated public servants committed to the safety and wellbeing of children and families.
Kentucky’s District Courts are limited jurisdiction courts and handle city and county ordinance violations, misdemeanors, juvenile delinquency, traffic violations, probate, estate and wills, arraignments, tort cases, felony probable cause hearings, and small claims cases of $2,500 or less. They also resolve civil cases of up to $5,000. Anything over that goes to Circuit judges. These courts also manage matters pertaining to mental illness and commitments, domestic abuse or violence. District judges who serve four-year terms. Circuit Court Clerks also serve and support District judges and personnel. These courts are the local ordinance courts for the Bluegrass State.