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The Guide to Montana Court Records

Overview of Montana Courts

The Montana trial court system consists of District Courts, Justice Courts, City Courts, Municipal Courts, Water Court, and Workers' Compensation Court.
 
District Courts have general jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases, but usually only handle cases that are beyond the jurisdiction of other courts. Justice Courts, City Courts and Municipal Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of civil and criminal cases. The Montana Water Court and Workers’ Compensation Court are specialized trial courts that handle certain types of cases for the entire state.

Please select a Montana county below to view directory of all courts with links to court record resources for each court.
Find Montana 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.
Montana District Courts
District Courts have general jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases, but generally only handle cases that are beyond the jurisdiction of other courts.

Criminal cases heard by District Courts include felony criminal cases and most misdemeanor criminal cases.

Civil cases heard by District Courts include general civil claims, probate matters and naturalization cases. District Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over civil claims for money damages against the State.
Montana Justice Courts
Justice Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of civil and criminal cases.

Criminal cases heard by Justice Courts include felony preliminary proceedings and most misdemeanors. Justice Courts share jurisdiction with District Courts for certain types of misdemeanors.

Civil cases heard by Justice Courts include most general civil claims with disputes of $7000 or less, exclusive of costs. Justice Courts can not hear certain types of cases, including disputes over title to real estate and certain claims against the State.

Each Justice Court has a Small Claims Court division that handles most general civil claims with disputes of $3000 or less, exclusive of costs.
Montana City Courts
City Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of criminal and civil cases.

Criminal cases heard by City Courts are limited to criminal violations of city or town ordinances. City Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over these cases.

Civil cases heard by City Courts include civil municipal ordinance violations, certain tax collection cases and certain cases brought against a city or town.

City Courts share some jurisdiction with other courts over certain types of cases.
Montana Municipal Courts
Municipal Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of civil and criminal cases.

Criminal cases heard by Municipal Courts are limited to criminal violations of city or town ordinances. Municipal Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over these cases.

Civil cases heard by Municipal Courts include civil municipal ordinance violations, certain tax collection cases and certain cases brought against the city or town.

Municipal Courts share some jurisdiction with other courts over certain types of cases.
Montana Water Court
The Montana Water Court has exclusive jurisdiction over cases involving water rights claims.

Cases typically handled by the Water Court include claims based in state law, as well as claims based on Indian and Federal water rights.

The Montana Water Court handles cases from around the state out of one office location.
Montana Workers' Compensation Court
The Workers' Compensation Court has exclusive jurisdiction over cases arising under the Montana Workers' Compensation Act and the Montana Occupational Disease Act.

The Workers' Compensation Court has exclusive jurisdiction over certain contractor exemptions and reemployment preferences. This court also reviews final orders from the Montana Department of Labor and Industry and imposes civil penalties for violations of certain workers' compensation laws.
Montana Treatment and DUI Courts
Treatment courts include Adult Drug Court, Juvenile Drug Court, Youth Drug Court, Family Treatment Court, and Mental Health Court. These courts can set up treatment programs in lieu of incarceration for some offenders with substance abuse or mental health problems.

DUI courts can set up treatment programs in addition to incarceration, and may be included in drug courts.

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

Case Type Court Type
Civil District Courts Justice Courts City Courts Municipal Courts
General Civil - Unlimited
Most or all General Civil - Unlimited cases can be found in the District Courts
 
 
 
General Civil - Limited
Some General Civil - Limited cases can be found in the District Courts
Some General Civil - Limited cases can be found in the Justice Courts
 
 
Small Claims
Some Small Claims cases can be found in the District Courts
Some Small Claims cases can be found in the Justice 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
Some Foreclosures and Liens cases can be found in the District Courts
Some Foreclosures and Liens cases can be found in the Justice Courts
 
 
Real Estate Title and Boundary
Most or all Real Estate Title and Boundary cases can be found in the District Courts
 
 
 
Landlord / Tenant
Some Landlord / Tenant cases can be found in the District Courts
Some Landlord / Tenant cases can be found in the Justice Courts
 
 
Ordinance Violations
 
Some Ordinance Violations cases can be found in the Justice Courts
Most or all Ordinance Violations cases can be found in the City Courts
Most or all Ordinance Violations cases can be found in the Municipal Courts
Protection, No Contact, and Restraining Orders
Most or all Protection, No Contact, and Restraining Orders cases can be found in the District Courts
Some Protection, No Contact, and Restraining Orders cases can be found in the Justice Courts
Some Protection, No Contact, and Restraining Orders cases can be found in the City Courts
Some Protection, No Contact, and Restraining Orders cases can be found in the Municipal Courts
Administrative Agency Appeals
Most or all Administrative Agency Appeals cases can be found in the District Courts
 
 
 
Criminal District Courts Justice Courts City Courts Municipal Courts
Felony
Most or all Felony cases can be found in the District Courts
 
 
 
Felony Preliminary Hearings
Some Felony Preliminary Hearings cases can be found in the District Courts
Some Felony Preliminary Hearings cases can be found in the Justice Courts
Some Felony Preliminary Hearings cases can be found in the City Courts
Some Felony Preliminary Hearings cases can be found in the Municipal Courts
Misdemeanors
Some Misdemeanors cases can be found in the District Courts
Most or all Misdemeanors cases can be found in the Justice Courts
 
 
Ordinance Violations
 
Some Ordinance Violations cases can be found in the Justice Courts
Most or all Ordinance Violations cases can be found in the City Courts
Most or all Ordinance Violations cases can be found in the Municipal Courts
Juvenile
Most or all Juvenile cases can be found in the District Courts
 
 
 
Traffic and Infractions
 
Some Traffic and Infractions cases can be found in the Justice Courts
Some Traffic and Infractions cases can be found in the City Courts
Some Traffic and Infractions cases can be found in the Municipal Courts
Domestic Relations District Courts Justice Courts City Courts Municipal 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
Some Domestic Violence Protection Order cases can be found in the Justice Courts
Some Domestic Violence Protection Order cases can be found in the City Courts
Some Domestic Violence Protection Order cases can be found in the Municipal Courts
Juvenile District Courts Justice Courts City Courts Municipal 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 Justice Courts City Courts Municipal Courts
Involuntary Commitments
Most or all Involuntary Commitments cases can be found in the District Courts
 
 
 
Other Mental Health Cases
Some Other Mental Health Cases cases can be found in the District Courts
Some Other Mental Health Cases cases can be found in the Justice Courts
 
 
Probate District Courts Justice Courts City Courts Municipal 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
 
 
 

Note: Some courts in Montana are not included in the chart above. Please use the following links for descriptions and types of cases heard:
 
  Water Court   Workers' Compensation Court

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