Colorado Courts Overview
It helps to understand how the Colorado state court system works when you’re trying to find court records. The Colorado trial court system consists of District Courts, County Courts, Municipal Courts, Water Courts, Denver Probate Court, and Denver County Juvenile Court.
District Courts have general jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases but typically only handle cases that are beyond the jurisdiction of other courts. County Courts and Municipal Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of civil and criminal cases. Water Courts have limited and exclusive jurisdiction over most cases related to water rights and water use.
If you prefer, you can start your search by going to Colorado courts by county.
Colorado District CourtsDistrict Courts have general jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases, and typicaly handle cases that are beyond the jurisdiction of other courts.
Criminal cases heard by District Courts include felonies and lesser-included offenses.
Civil cases heard by District Courts include general civil claims without financial limits. District Courts also handle domestic relations, probate matters, juvenile matters, adoptions, paternity and mental health cases.
Cases typically handled by District Courts include divorce and related cases such as child custody, child support and division of marital property.
District Courts share jurisdiction over domestic violence protection orders with County Courts and Municipal Courts.
Denver County has a separate Probate Court and a separate Juvenile Court that handle probate matters and juvenile cases.
Colorado County CourtsCounty Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of cases.
Criminal cases heard by County Courts include misdemeanors, petty offenses and preliminary hearings for all types of criminal cases. County Courts share criminal jurisdiction with District Courts.
Civil cases heard by County Courts include most general civil cases for less than $15,000, not involving ownership of real property. Landlord-tenant cases are heard by County Courts if claims for damages are less than $15,000, if the case also involves a monthly rental value of less than $15,000.
Each County Court has a Small Claims division for most general civil cases with less than $7,500 in dispute. The Small Claims division cannot handle certain types of cases, including claims for defamation, libel, slander, forcible entry, forcible detainer, unlawful detainer, class action lawsuits, most types of injunctive relief, some types of contract cases, traffic violations and criminal matters. There is no right to a jury trial in the Small Claims division.
County Courts share jurisdiction with District Courts over name changes and requests for temporary and permanent civil restraining orders, including protection orders.
County Courts do not have jurisdiction over cases involving probate issues, mental health (including commitment, restoration to competence and the appointment of conservators), divorce, annulment, legal separation, matters involving children (including custody, child support, guardianship, adoption and delinquency) and matters involving disputes over boundaries or title to real property.
Colorado Municipal CourtsMunicipal Courts have jurisdiction over violations of city and town ordinances.
Municipal Courts share jurisdiction with District Courts and County Courts over cases involving civil Protection Orders.
Colorado Water CourtsWater Courts have specialized jurisdiction over certain types of civil cases related to water rights.
Water Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over many cases related to water, including the use and administration of water.
Water Courts are located at each of the seven major river basins in Colorado.
Colorado Denver Probate CourtIn Denver County, a separate Probate Court exists and handles City and County of Denver probate cases instead of District Court. This court is sometimes referred to as the 24th District Court.
Colorado Denver County Juvenile CourtIn Denver County, there is a separate Juvenile Court that handles most juvenile matters instead of District Court.
Where to Find Court Cases in Colorado
The chart below gives general information on the types of cases heard in each type of Colorado court.
|Case Type||Court Type|
|Civil||District Courts||County Courts||Municipal Courts|
|General Civil - Unlimited|
|General Civil - Limited|
|Foreclosures and Liens|
|Real Estate Title and Boundary|
|Landlord / Tenant|
|Protection, No Contact, and Restraining Orders|
|Administrative Agency Appeals|
|Criminal||District Courts||County Courts||Municipal Courts|
|Felony Preliminary Hearings|
|Traffic and Infractions|
|Domestic Relations||District Courts||County Courts||Municipal Courts|
|Child Custody and Visitation|
|Domestic Violence Protection Order|
|Juvenile||District Courts||County Courts||Municipal Courts|
|Child Abuse and Neglect|
|Termination of Parental Rights|
|Children in Need of Supervision|
|Mental Health||District Courts||County Courts||Municipal Courts|
|Other Mental Health Cases|
|Probate||District Courts||County Courts||Municipal Courts|
|Wills & Estates|
|Guardianships and Conservatorships|
Note: Some courts in Colorado are not included in the chart above. Please use the following links for descriptions and types of cases heard:
Denver Probate Court Denver County Juvenile Court