The Guide to Iowa Court Records

Overview of Iowa Courts

The Iowa trial court system consists of District Courts.
 
Iowa has a unified trial court system with general jurisdiction over all cases exercised by District Courts. District Court jurisdiction is limited when original jurisdiction over a certain type of case is assigned to another type of court, tribunal or administrative agency.

Please select a Iowa county below to view directory of all courts with links to court record resources for each court.
Find Iowa court pages by Town or Zip Code.
Select a court record or online resource category below to view all resources at both the statewide and county level.
Go to the court records pages for another state.
Iowa District Courts
District Courts have general jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases, with few exceptions.

All District Courts have divisions for Juvenile Court, Probate Court and Small Claims. Some District Courts also have divisions based on case type, including Criminal, Civil, Domestic Relations and Special. “Special” cases are certain types of civil cases that do not involve the enforcement of private rights, the prevention or redress of private wrongs, or the recovery of a penalty or forfeiture.

Cases may be heard by a District Judge, District Associate Judge, Associate Juvenile Judge, Associate Probate Judge or a Judicial Magistrate. Each type of judge has jurisdiction over certain types of cases. District Judges have general jurisdiction over all types of cases heard by District Court, while other types of judges have jurisdiction that is limited to certain types of cases.

The Juvenile Court divisions of District Courts exercise original jurisdiction over most juvenile delinquency, adoption, termination of parental rights, children in need of assistance, families in need of assistance, voluntary foster care placement proceedings and cases involving abortion notification waiver hearings.

The Probate Court divisions of District Courts have jurisdiction over the estates of decedents and absentees, the construction of wills, conservatorships and guardianships, trusts and trustees, actions for accounting, and other probate cases.

The Small Claims divisions of District Courts offer a simplified procedure for some civil claims involving limited amounts of money in dispute, including some landlord-tenant cases.

Where to find court cases in Iowa
The chart below gives general information on the types of cases heard in each type of court in Iowa.
 
Most Cases = Most or all cases.     Some Cases = Some cases.

Case Type Court Type
Civil District Courts
General Civil - Unlimited
Most or all General Civil - Unlimited cases can be found in the District Courts
General Civil - Limited
Most or all General Civil - Limited cases can be found in the District Courts
Small Claims
Most or all Small Claims cases can be found in the District Courts
Civil Equity
Most or all Civil Equity cases can be found in the District Courts
Complex Commercial
Most or all Complex Commercial cases can be found in the District Courts
Foreclosures and Liens
Most or all Foreclosures and Liens cases can be found in the District Courts
Real Estate Title and Boundary
Most or all Real Estate Title and Boundary cases can be found in the District Courts
Landlord / Tenant
Most or all Landlord / Tenant cases can be found in the District Courts
Ordinance Violations
Most or all Ordinance Violations cases can be found in the District Courts
Protection, No Contact, and Restraining Orders
Most or all Protection, No Contact, and Restraining Orders cases can be found in the District Courts
Administrative Agency Appeals
Most or all Administrative Agency Appeals cases can be found in the District Courts
Criminal District Courts
Felony
Most or all Felony cases can be found in the District Courts
Felony Preliminary Hearings
Most or all Felony Preliminary Hearings cases can be found in the District Courts
Misdemeanors
Most or all Misdemeanors cases can be found in the District Courts
Ordinance Violations
Most or all Ordinance Violations cases can be found in the District Courts
Juvenile
Most or all Juvenile cases can be found in the District Courts
Traffic and Infractions
Most or all Traffic and Infractions cases can be found in the District Courts
Domestic Relations District Courts
Divorce
Most or all Divorce cases can be found in the District Courts
Child Custody and Visitation
Most or all Child Custody and Visitation cases can be found in the District Courts
Child Support
Most or all Child Support cases can be found in the District Courts
Paternity
Most or all Paternity cases can be found in the District Courts
Domestic Violence Protection Order
Most or all Domestic Violence Protection Order cases can be found in the District Courts
Juvenile District Courts
Adoptions
Most or all Adoptions cases can be found in the District Courts
Juvenile Delinquency
Most or all Juvenile Delinquency cases can be found in the District Courts
Child Abuse and Neglect
Most or all Child Abuse and Neglect cases can be found in the District Courts
Termination of Parental Rights
Most or all Termination of Parental Rights cases can be found in the District Courts
Children in Need of Supervision
Most or all Children in Need of Supervision cases can be found in the District Courts
Mental Health District Courts
Involuntary Commitments
Most or all Involuntary Commitments cases can be found in the District Courts
Other Mental Health Cases
Most or all Other Mental Health Cases cases can be found in the District Courts
Probate District Courts
Wills & Estates
Most or all Wills & Estates cases can be found in the District Courts
Name Changes
Most or all Name Changes cases can be found in the District Courts
Trusts
Most or all Trusts cases can be found in the District Courts
Guardianships and Conservatorships
Most or all Guardianships and Conservatorships cases can be found in the District Courts

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