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Court Records FAQs



Q:  How can I find records for other courts in Minnesota?

A:  Visit the Find a Court Case page on the MN Judicial Branch website or contact the local District Court.

Q:  How can I get an "authenticated" or "exemplified" copy of a court document?

A:  Fill out and send us a Court Document Copy Request Form and check the box for "Other/Comments" Part C. On the blank in the form, tell us what type of document you need. You must include payment for the copy fee along with your completed request form.

Q:  How long does a judgment last?

A:  A civil judgment can be enforced for ten (10) years from the date it was entered. It can also be "renewed" if not satisfied (paid) within the 10 years. To enforce a judgment that was not paid during the 10 year timeframe, you have to start a new lawsuit before the end of the 10 year period, based on a claim for failure to pay a judgment . See MN Statute § 541.04. A lawsuit is started by serving a Summons and Complaint on the judgment debtor. You should talk to a lawyer to get advice on how to prepare the papers and handle the case. Court staff cannot give legal advice.

Q:  How far back in history do Minnesota court records exist?

A:  The management of court records is controlled by the Records Retention Schedule for the MN Judicial Branch and the law at MN Statute § 138.17 on keeping and destroying public records.

Probate and Mental Health records date back to 1864. The records require permanent retention, and they may be stored in different media, including old roll film and many forms of microfiche based on technology available at the time.

Q:  Where can I find naturalization (citizenship) records?

A:  Minnesota naturalization records can be found at the MN Historical Society, located at 345 Kellogg Boulevard West, St. Paul, MN. Years ago, the naturalization process used to involve two sets of documents: applicants filled out a Declaration of Intention to become citizens (first papers), and then they received their final papers, where citizenship was granted. In the 1940s, the power of granting citizenship was transferred to the Federal District Courts, and applications were handled by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Today, applications for U.S. citizenship (naturalization) are processed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.


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