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Top 20 Frequently-Asked Questions

How Do I...?

 *DISCLAIMER: Court staff and the Court in general may offer information on specific rules and procedures of the Court.  It should, in no way, be construed as legal advice. What Court Staff Can and Cannot Do for You


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Additional FAQ's by Topic

Review the offices and sample topics below.  Click on the link that best applies. 


1.  How do I inquire about/pay a parking/traffic fine?

Inquire online, in person (locations), or by telephone (651-266-9202).  After inquiring, you can pay by any of these methods or you can mail your payment to the address on the ticket (15 W. Kellogg Blvd Room 130, St. Paul MN  55102).   If you appeared in court and a fine was imposed, you may only pay by mail or in person.  If the individual is under the age of 16, call Juvenile Court at 651-266-5115.

For more information about fine payment, visit the Violations Bureau page on this site or call 651-266-9202.

2. How do I sue someone?

Determine the dollar amount of your claim; this will determine the type of case you file.  If the amount is under $15,000.00, visit the Conciliation Court web page on this site for instructions on how to file or call their office at 651-266-8230.  If the amount is $15,000.00 or more, visit the Civil Filing web page or call their office at 651-266-8253.

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3. / 4. What is my court date, time, and location?  How do I look up the outcome of a case?

Search for the information on the Statewide database.  Start at the Access Case Records page of the State web site and click on "I agree" at the bottom of the page (you will have to scroll down to see it).  You can search by name and date of birth, but it's best to search by court case number.

For some cases, Information is not available online.  For those cases, or to schedule a court date, follow the FAQ advice on individual office pages on this site or call the office directly.  FAQ and phone information can be found on our Contact Us page.

5. How do I get an interpreter?

Call the office that is handling the case and make the request.  The clerk will make the arrangements.  If you don't know which office to call or don't have the telephone number, visit the Contact Us page on this site to look it up.

For more information, visit the Court Interpreters page of this site or call their office at 651-266-8082.

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6. How can I view court documents?

Go to any District Court office that has public viewing terminals and search for the case document there.  Confidential documents are not available for viewing.  If you need a certified copy of the document, you must get it from that office.  For instance, if you need a certified copy of a Civil case document in Ramsey County, you must go to the Ramsey Civil Division office.  Copy fees apply.

To know what office houses the record you need, refer to the Contact Us page of this web site.

7. How do I get a restraining order?

Follow the intake checklist on the Court Filing Process page in the Domestic Abuse & Harassment section of this site.  Harassment and domestic abuse situations involve different types of orders and the checklist helps you sort out what you will need. 

For more information, visit the Domestic Abuse / Harassment page of this site or call their office at 651-266-5130.

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8. Can I represent myself in court?

Yes.  Keep in mind you will have all the obligations to observe the rules of court that any attorney has.  Consider your situation carefully before making this decision.

For more information, visit the Representing Yourself in Court page of the State Self-Help Center, or call them at 651-259-3888.  For information about resources and possible low-cost legal representation, visit the Find a Lawyer page of the same site.

9. How do I pay a filing fee?

Visit the Fees page of this site to find the appropriate fee schedule.  Once you know the amount, submit your payment when you file.  If you are an attorney, fees are part of the eFile process.

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10. How do I request a change in child support or custody?

File a Motion to Modify Child Support or Request for Change of Custody and pay the required filing fees.

For more information, visit the Family Court page of this site, the Child Custody and Parenting Time page of the State Self-Help Center or call Family Court at 651-266-5125.

11. How can I request that a court date be continued? How do I set up a date if I don't have one?

Contact the court office where the case is filed (Directory of Court Offices).  You can shorten the length of your call if you know the case number and the names of the parties in the case.

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12. How do I change my name?

Submit an Application for Name Change with the Court.  A hearing will be scheduled.  You'll be expected to bring two witnesses to confirm your identity.

For more complete instructions, visit the Name Change page of the State Judicial Branch Self-Help Center, the Name Change page of this site or call the Civil Division office at 651-266-8253.

13. I'm not sure what office I need to talk to.  Where do I look that up?

Visit the Contact Us page on this site for phone numbers and links to offices.

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14. How do I appeal a case?

File a Notice of Appeal with the court.  The notice must be filed within a specific amount of time (you sometimes only have a few days) and there is a fee.

For more information, visit the Appeals page of the State Self-Help Center.  The main number for the Clerk of Appellate Courts is 651-296-2581.

15. How do I contest a ticket?

Call the Violations Bureau at 651-266-9202.  An automated attendant will answer.  Follow the instructions for information on a citation (option #1).  Once you know the fine amount, press 0 to speak with a representative and schedule an appointment to discuss the ticket.

For more information about contesting tickets, visit the Contesting a Ticket section of the TVB page on this site or call 651-266-9202 and press zero to speak with someone from the Violations Bureau.  For Juvenile Cases, call 651-266-5115.

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16. How do I get a divorce?

File a Petition for Divorce with Family Court and pay the applicable fee.  Divorce can be complicated; consider consulting an attorney about your situation.  If you intend to represent yourself, visit  the Family Court Self-Help Service Center page of this site or call their office at 651-266-5125

For online information, visit the Divorce section of the State Court Self-Help Center.

17. How do I file a will?

If you’re asking about your own will, the Court will store your will for a fee if you choose to do so.  If you are responsible for filing the will of someone who has died, you must file it with Probate Court along with the appropriate Probate Form (Formal Probate or Informal Probate).

For more information, visit the Probate page on this site, the Probate, Wills, and Estates page of the State Self-Help Center, or call the Probate office at 651-266-8145.

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18. How do I get a criminal charge off my record?

Submit a Petition for Expungement with the Criminal Court.  There is a fee.  An Expungement Packet with specific instructions on how to file is available for download.  An expungement clinic is offered twice a month by the Criminal Division.

To see if you qualify for expungement and for more information, visit the Expungement page on this site, the Criminal Expungement page of the Self-Help Center, or call the Criminal Court office at 651-266-8180.   Expungement of Juvenile cases handled through Juvenile Court 651-266-5115.

19. How do I hire an attorney?

Visit the Find a Lawyer page of the Self-Help Center site.  It provides a number of online resources for finding your own attorney.  Some organizations offer legal representation at a reduced cost for those who qualify.

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20. How do I get a public defender?

Make the request at your very first court appearance.  There will be an announcement and instructions in court.  If you've already appeared, call the Criminal court office at 651-266-8180 and explain that you want to request one.  Public defenders are only available for criminal or traffic charges that carry the possibility of jail time.  The only execption is certain types of Paternity cases in Family Court.

For more information, visit the Criminal Court page of this site or call their office at 651-266-8180.