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follows is from the Los Angeles Superior Court, last verified May 12, 2015.
Copies of court documents - including orders regarding dissolutions of marriage and judgments of dissolutions, probate, name changes, criminal and civil cases – may be available at the headquarters courthouse in the judicial district where the case was handled. To obtain specific court case numbers online (and name of courthouse in which the records are kept), see Civil Cases, Criminal Cases or Divorce Records below. Some limited court case information and, in some cases, copies of court documents, may be available online.
If the case concluded before 2005, records are likely at the Archives and Records Center (see the following section).
The Archives and Records Center stores general jurisdiction court cases filed in Los Angeles County only. Cases include Civil, Family Law, Criminal Felony, Probate, and Juvenile records for most cases filed from 1910 to 2004. If a case was filed after 2004, records must be obtained from the originating court where the case was filed or, in some cases, may be obtained online. California law allows misdemeanor case records to be destroyed five years after their disposition. See Online Court Records below.
View or purchase case document copies in person at the Archives and Records Center, 222 N Hill St, Los Angeles, CA 90012, between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays, except holidays.
Ordering case documents requires a case number. Some case numbers may be obtained online. See Civil Cases Online, Criminal Index Online or Divorce Records Online. You can also mail in a request or visit the Archives and Records Center in person to obtain a case number. An in-person index fee for civil searches, at last report, costs $15 per name if a search takes more than 10 minutes.
Mail requests for case documents to Archives and Records Center, 222 N Hill St, Room 212, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Enclose a check, payable to the Los Angeles Superior Court, to cover the copying and certification cost of documents, which is, at last report, 50 cents per page and, if requested, a certification fee of $25 per document. If the document is a final judgment of divorce and certification is requested, add $15 for the certification fee ($10 if requested by a public agency).
In your correspondence, please indicate the case number and the approximate year in which the case was filed. If you were unable to find a case number from the online indexes listed below, please include the type of case (i.e. criminal, divorce, etc.), the names of the parties on the case and the approximate year in which the case was filed. In addition, please be specific as to what documents you need copied and if certification is requested. Enclose a self-addressed-stamped envelope and a check made payable to “Los Angeles Superior Court” with “Not to Exceed $x.xx” written on the memo line. Include an amount greater than or equal to the estimated cost of the order based on the Fee Schedule posted on the Court homepage. If the amount is less than the processing fee, your request will be rejected and mailed back to you. A request by mail may take 8-10 weeks to process.
Divorce Judgements: If you know a case number, Divorce Judgment documents may be available online. Currently, only Family Law Divorce Judgments that have been imaged are available to order online. If your case has not been imaged, the site will return a message to you indicating such.
Archived Los Angeles County original court records for 1850 to 1899 and probate case records 1850 to 1910 are kept at The Huntington Libary, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108. Questions regarding access to these records should be directed to the library.
Superior Court Civil Online Services Web Page: http://www.lacourt.org/online/civil
A Civil Case Index is available online, for a fee, to civil cases filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court at Party Name Search. This index, updated daily, returns a list of litigant names, corresponding case types, filing dates, filing locations, and number of available imaged documents. The Civil Party Name Search includes cases within the following date ranges:
Civil Case Summaries are available online for limited jurisdiction civil cases (Civil lawsuits not exceeding $25,000, Small Claims, Family Law, and Probate) at Case Summary. Case summaries are available from as far back as 1995, depending on the court district in which the case was filed. It is cautioned that information is provided "as is" and may be subject to error or omission. Unlawful Detainer case information is not available to the public for the first 60 days after filing. For cases filed after January 1, 2004, it is required that the case remain unavailable in the event any defendant prevails during this 60 day period.
Civil Case Documents for general jurisdiction civil cases (lawsuits greater than $25,000) filed at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse (111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles) are available online as scanned images at Civil Case Document Images. For a fee, you can search online for these documents by either case number or party name and download PDF copies. Most, but not all documents filed with or generated by the Stanley Mosk Courthouse since January, 2007 are included; additional documents, both newly-filed and previously captured, are added on a daily basis.
Superior Court Criminal Online Services Web Page: http://www.lacourt.org/online/criminal
A Criminal Case Index is available online at Index of Defendants in Criminal Cases. This web link allows, for a fee, access to an index of defendants in criminal cases in the Los Angeles Superior Court. The Index contains felony cases records from 1980 to the present and misdemeanor case records from 1988 to present. Some misdemeanor index information goes back to 1983, but this data retrieval date varies based on when the former Municipal Court locations automated their criminal records.
Criminal Case Summaries are available online at Criminal Case Summary.
Superior Court Website: https://www.lacourt.org/ldos/index.aspx.
This web link allows ordering of certified copies of divorce records maintained online. Although ordering may be done online, copies are delivered by mail.
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