Overview of Indiana Courts
In order to find Indiana court records, it's helpful to understand how the state court system works. Each state varies and we've compiled this information to help your search. You can also start your search by going directly to courts by county.
The Indiana trial court system consists of Circuit Courts, Superior Courts, City and Town Courts, Tax Court, Marion County Small Claims Courts, and St. Joseph County Probate Court.
Indiana has a complicated trial court system consisting of three main court types, without standardized jurisdiction from county to county. For many Indiana courts, jurisdiction is based on whether other types of courts exist in a particular county or judicial circuit. The three main types of Indiana trial courts are Circuit Courts, Superior Courts, and City or Town Courts. Some counties have all types of courts, while others may only have a Circuit Court. Some counties may have separate Ordinance Violations Bureaus.
Criminal cases heard by Circuit Courts include all types of felonies and lesser-included offenses. In counties without Superior Courts, Circuit Courts will also handle misdemeanors and ordinance violations.
Civil cases heard by Circuit Courts include general civil claims beyond the jurisdiction or capacity of other courts. In counties without Superior Courts, Circuit Courts also handle small claims cases, except in Marion County, where each township has its own local Small Claims Court.
Circuit Courts handle most domestic relations cases, including divorce, child custody, child support, paternity and domestic violence protection orders.
Circuit Courts handle most juvenile matters and share some jurisdiction with Superior Courts over juvenile cases including juvenile delinquency, child abuse and neglect and termination of parental rights. Circuit Courts also share jurisdiction with Superior Courts over mental health cases and probate matters.
Criminal cases heard by Superior Courts include felonies and misdemeanors. Civil cases heard by Superior Courts include general civil claims. Superior Courts also handle small claims cases, except in Marion County, where each township has its own local Small Claims Court.
Superior Courts share jurisdiction with Circuit Courts over most juvenile, mental health and probate cases.
Generally, a City Court or Town Court has jurisdiction to hear all city or town ordinance violations, infractions and some misdemeanor criminal cases.
City and Town Courts may have some jurisdiction over certain civil cases within limits on the amount of money in dispute.
City and Town Courts are prohibited from handling certain types of cases, including slander, libel, foreclosures where the title to real estate is in dispute, most probate matters, equity, dissolution of marriage, injunctive relief, and other cases that involve questions of the title to real estate.
The St. Joseph County Probate Court also has exclusive jurisdiction over adoptions, juvenile delinquency, child protection and paternity cases.
|Case Type||Court Type|
|Civil||Circuit Courts||Superior Courts||City and Town 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||Circuit Courts||Superior Courts||City and Town Courts|
|Felony Preliminary Hearings|
|Traffic and Infractions|
|Domestic Relations||Circuit Courts||Superior Courts||City and Town Courts|
|Child Custody and Visitation|
|Domestic Violence Protection Order|
|Juvenile||Circuit Courts||Superior Courts||City and Town Courts|
|Child Abuse and Neglect|
|Termination of Parental Rights|
|Children in Need of Supervision|
|Mental Health||Circuit Courts||Superior Courts||City and Town Courts|
|Other Mental Health Cases|
|Probate||Circuit Courts||Superior Courts||City and Town Courts|
|Wills & Estates|
|Guardianships and Conservatorships|
Note: Some courts in Indiana are not included in the chart above. Please use the following links for descriptions and types of cases heard:
Marion County Small Claims Courts St. Joseph County Probate Court