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Portage County Court Records

In Portage County, Ohio, litigants present their cases in court proceedings using written documents, such as motions, pleadings, exhibits, and testimonies. Similarly, judges issue written orders and judgments, and court clerks create documents to ensure proper case tracking and management. The court clerk's offices maintain these paperwork, collectively known as "court records," as stipulated in Section 1907.20 of the Ohio Revised Code.

Court records are necessary for the efficient running of the legal system. The documents help in justice administration by facilitating a transparent and accountable process through accurate documentation of case proceedings. This safeguards against prejudices and protects the justice system's integrity. Other advantages of court records include public legal education, policy formation, legal precedents, and background checks.

Are Court Records Public in Portage County?

Yes, court records in Portage County are publicly accessible under the Ohio Public Records Act (Section 149.43 of the Ohio Revised Code). The Act defines public records as documents maintained by any public office in the state and makes them available for public inspection and copying. Per the Portage County Public Records Policy, requesters are not mandated to submit their requests in writing to the record custodian, provide their identities, or give reasons for their search.

However, specific court records are exempt from public access based on their sensitive contents. These include:

  • Records about an unmarried, unemancipated minor seeking an abortion without notice to parent, guardian, or custodian and other juvenile records
  • Adoption proceedings
  • Trial preparations
  • Intellectual property
  • Residential and familial information or photographs of peace officers, firefighters, and EMTs
  • Personal information
  • Medical records
  • Trade secrets
  • Sensitive information such as Social Security Numbers and other personally identifying information

Certain court records are also restricted if their release is prohibited by any applicable state or federal law.

Portage County Court Records Search

Members of the public can perform a search for court records in Portage County using any of these means:

  • Physical visits to the courthouse where the documents were filed or are maintained
  • An online search of the Portage County Clerk of Courts' (CourtView) database
  • Filing and submitting a public records request form to the record custodian
  • Third-party websites

Portage County Court Records Search by Name

Individuals are expected to produce the first, last, or company names of a party to a case to perform a name-based search for any Portage County court record. They can conduct this search in person at the court clerk's office or by accessing the records search page on the Portage County Clerk of Courts' database. Middle names and suffixes can also help narrow a search on online platforms.

Note: Physical and online searches for Portage County court records are free of charge if a researcher seeks to view a record only. However, parties must pay a fee to obtain copies of documents, often $1 per page for certified copies and 10 cents per page for regular copies.

Portage County Courts

The court system in Portage County comprises the Portage County Common Pleas Court (General, Domestic Relations, and Juvenile/Probate Court Divisions) and the Portage County Municipal Court (Ravenna and Kent Traffic/Criminal and Civil Divisions). The locations of these courts are provided below:

Portage County Court of Common Pleas
230 West Main Street
P.O. Box 1035
Ravenna, OH 44266
Phone: (330) 297-3475 (Domestic Relations Division)
Phone: (330) 297-3644 (General Division)
Phone: (330) 297-3870 (Probate Division)
Phone: (330) 297-0881 (Juvenile Division)

 

Portage County Municipal (Kent Branch)
303 West Main Street
Kent, OH 44240
Phone: (330) 678-9170 (Civil)
Phone: (330) 678-9100 (Criminal/Traffic)

 

Portage County Municipal (Ravenna Branch)
203 West Main Street
P.O. Box 958
Ravenna, OH 44266
Phone: (330) 678-3635 (Civil)
Phone: (330) 678-3639 (Criminal/Traffic)

 

Mogadore Mayor's Court
135 South Cleveland Avenue,
Mogadore, OH 44260
Phone: (330) 628-6295

Each court in Portage County maintains jurisdiction over specific matters. For example, while Municipal Courts handle small claims, traffic cases, and misdemeanor offenses, Probate Courts oversee issues regarding the administration of a decedent's estate, mental illness, marriage licenses, and adoptions.

Portage County Superior Court Case Search

There are no "superior courts" in Ohio State or Portage County. The Supreme Court of Ohio is the highest court in Ohio, followed by the Court of Appeals and other courts (Courts of Common Pleas, Municipal and County Courts, Mayor's Courts, and Court of Claims).

Portage County District Court Records

Portage County does not operate "district courts". However, the Portage County Common Pleas Courts operate in a similar capacity.

The Common Pleas Court is the trial court with original jurisdiction in the county. It is responsible for trying all felony cases and hearing all civil matters with a contested sum above $5,000. The Common Pleas Court also has original jurisdiction over civil stalking protection orders and appellate jurisdiction over issues arising from specific administrative agencies.

Records generated, maintained, or filed with the Portage County Common Pleas Court can be obtained through an in-person visit to the Clerk of the courthouse where a matter was heard. Searchers are advised to schedule their physical searches within regular business hours and ask any available staff for guidance when necessary.

Another way to inspect Portage County Court Records is through the Portage County Clerk of Courts' database, a public e-service database of computerized court records maintained by the county. The platform contains public court case information from all the Portage County Common Pleas Court and Municipal Court divisions from 1992 to the present.

Online court records are indexed by party names, case numbers, ticket/citation numbers, and case types. Searchers only have to choose their preferred parameter, input the relevant details into the appropriate box(es), and click "Search". The results will include court information pertinent to the search query, including party information, docket details, case type, file date, case number, initiating action, and case status.

Note that specific dates and case types or statuses can be used to streamline the search on the online portal and avoid spending time scrolling through numerous search results. On the search homepage, a user can also access criminal and civil case calendars through the left menu (by clicking "Court Schedules").

A third way to obtain Portage County court records is to make a written public records request to the record custodian. Requesters should detail the requested documents to enable the court clerk's office to locate them quickly. The Clerk's office may contact the requester to clarify any confusing information and assist in revising the request.

One of the most efficient means of making a public request is by filling out a Public Records Request Form. Any applicant must include their name, street address, and contact information. After sufficiently describing the requested record, they can send the form via email or mail to any of the addresses on the form, depending on the presiding court. Obtaining regular copies of documents costs 10 cents per page, while certified copies are charged at $1 per page.

Portage County Criminal Records

Members of the public can make local law enforcement agencies their first point of call for obtaining available criminal records. These agencies often maintain records of arrested individuals generated from the jail booking process and provide them to the public.

For example, the Ravenna Police Department allows public requests for copies of Portage County arrest records in person or via mail. Copies of up to 25 pages are free of charge. However, reports larger than 25 pages cost 5 cents per page.

However, researchers may be precluded from accessing certain criminal records, such as:

  • Information concerning a matter that is under active investigation
  • Sensitive information that may jeopardize an investigation's success or enable a suspect to evade apprehension

Searchers conducting criminal background checks should note that records obtained from local police departments are limited to documents maintained by the agency. Also, the search results will include all publicly accessible records containing the subject's name, whether they were charged or not. Interested parties can refer to the Portage County Ohio Police Department's Directory to locate the appropriate local police department to contact.

Another alternative for searching Portage County criminal records is to query the Portage County Sheriff's Office through its Records Division. Parties can visit the Division during regular work hours to inspect Portage County criminal records maintained by the office. They can email their requests or fax them to (330) 298-2110 for copies of documents. Alternatively, a person can attach a self-addressed stamped envelope and send a written request by mail to the Sheriff's Office.

Portage County Criminal Court Case Lookup

Portage County criminal court case records can be obtained as follows:

  • By visiting the Clerk of the courthouse where the records are kept
  • Online through the county's CourtView portal available on the Portage County Court Clerk's official website
  • By filling and submitting a Public Record Request Form

Users of CourtView are advised to narrow their searches by selecting the most relevant category. For example, choosing "Criminal (Common Pleas)" under "Case Type" will produce criminal records maintained by the Court of Common Pleas only. Similarly, selecting "Criminal (Ravenna Municipal)" will streamline the search results to criminal cases heard by the Municipal Court in Ravenna.

Get Portage County Civil Court Records

Court clerks maintain Portage County civil court records. "Civil court record" is the umbrella term for documents arising from legal proceedings that are not deemed criminal. These include personal injury, breach of contract, employment discrimination, real estate disputes, guardianship, and marital/family matters.

Parties can access Portage County civil court records like any other case document, as explained above. Persons using CourtView can select the record category they seek from the "Case Type" section to narrow their searches. For example, parties looking for civil matters handled in the Court of Common Pleas can select "Civil Common Pleas" from the drop-down menu. However, those seeking Municipal Court civil records should choose "Civil (Kent Municipal)" or "Civil (Ravenna Municipal)".

Portage County Family Court Records

The Portage County Domestic Relations Court, a division of the Court of Common Pleas, serves as the Family Court in the county. The Domestic Relations Rules of Court govern proceedings in the court. Portage County's Family Court has jurisdiction over matters involving spouses and children, including:

  • Annulments
  • Child support
  • Divorces
  • Enforcement actions
  • Legal separation
  • Dissolutions
  • Parentage
  • Spousal support
  • Custody disputes
  • Modification of parental rights and responsibilities
  • Parenting time
  • Visitation
  • Civil protective orders

Records maintained by the Portage County Domestic Relations Court are generally accessible to the public. However, not everyone can obtain sealed records, sensitive information, and juvenile records. Only parties to the case, their attorneys, and a few authorized bodies can often access restricted family records.

Family court records are important for many reasons, including providing proof of marriage, divorce, and legal guardianship. They may also be needed to change a person's name.

The exact process for obtaining other court case records (as described above) applies to publicly viewable family court case records. That is, individuals can access CourtView or submit a request directly to a clerk's office.

Portage Dissolution of Marriage Records

Dissolution of marriage is a formal process that ends a marital union. Dissolution of marriage records generated in Portage County can be obtained through a clerk's office or by searching the CourtView portal. However, inquirers must remember that certain information may not be accessible if it falls under an exception to public records.

Portage County Marriage and Divorce Records

Portage County marriage records are public records. As such, members of the public can request them through their record custodian, the Portage County Probate Court clerk. The address to make or send record inquiries is as follows:

Portage County Probate Court
203 West Main Street
P.O. Box 936
Ravenna, OH 44266
Phone: (330) 297-3870

Marriage records are indexed by spouses' last names and maiden names (if applicable). Requesters should be armed with this information to facilitate the search. Individuals should also note that marriages recorded before 1898 list only the couple's names, ceremony date, officiating official, and the couple's residential address (sometimes). Meanwhile, after 1898, the information is more comprehensive and adds the following details:

  • Age
  • Date and place of birth
  • Occupation
  • Parents' names
  • Previous marriages

The Request for Certified Copy of Marriage Certificate Form can be completed and mailed to the Probate Court. Plain copies cost $1 per page, and certified copies cost $3 per document.

On the other hand, the Clerk of the Common Pleas Court maintains divorce records in Portage County. Portage County divorce records are public records that can be accessed by anyone physically at the courthouse or through CourtView, as previously described.

To search specifically for divorce records on CourtView, parties should select "Dr-Divorce(Pl/Df)" Or "Drs-Divorce(Pl/Df) " as part of their search criteria. Although images are not available online, members of the public can email DomesticRelationsCOC@portageco.com to request documents.

Requesters should know that specific divorce records are sealed and inaccessible to the public. Personal information, such as account numbers, children's names, and birthdays, is often redacted. Divorce affidavits are also not open for public viewing.

Portage County Birth and Death Records

Ohio is an open records state. Thus, Portage County birth and death records are available for public inspection, and anyone with relevant details about a birth or death can request a copy of the certificate. Comprehensive information on obtaining these Portage County vital records is available on the county government's Birth and Death Records page.

Birth and death records recorded from 1867 to 1908 can be found at the Portage County Probate Court, while those occurring from 1908 to the present can be picked up in person from the Portage County Vital Statistics Primary District Number 6700 at:

Kent City Health Department
Kent Central Gateway
201 East Erie Street
2nd Floor
Kent, Ohio 44240
Phone: (330) 678-8109
Fax: (330) 678-2082

Certified copies of Portage County birth and death certificates can also be ordered online on Kent City Health Department's Certified Records Page or obtained through public requests via mail to:

Kent City Health Department
Attention: Vital Statistics
201-G East Erie Street
Kent, Ohio 44240

Parties mailing their requests should include a self-addressed, stamped (postage-paid) return envelope and wait about one to three business days for their requests to be processed.

The importance of birth and death records goes beyond providing the details behind a person's birth or demise. Other potential uses for these records include receiving specific financial benefits, changing one's name, and obtaining a driver's license or international passport.

Portage County Probate Court Records

Portage County's Probate Court handles cases pertaining to guardianship, estate administration, conservatorships, adoptions, involuntary mental health commitments, intellectual disability commitments, and name changes. This court also issues marriage licenses.

Records maintained by the Probate Court are public and can be accessed at the courthouse during official business hours. Researchers can also access the Portage County Clerk of Courts' (CourtView) database. Users can constrain their CourtView search results by selecting the appropriate record category, such as "Guardianship", "Civil Probate", or "Trusts".

Portage County Property Records

The Portage County Recorder's Office is the primary custodian of documents relating to real estate in the county (also called property records). Records maintained by the County Recorder include:

  • Deeds
  • Easements
  • Land titles
  • Federal tax liens
  • Mortgages
  • Leases

Interested parties can conduct a physical search of land records by visiting the County Recorder's Office at:

Administration Building
449 South Meridian Street
P.O. Box 1217
Ravenna, OH 44266
Phone: (330) 297-3561

To obtain copies of documents or plats without visiting the office, parties should email the volume and page number to pcrec.copies@portageco.com. The County Recorder's Office will respond by emailing the searcher the fee total. Upon receiving the email, the requester must choose their delivery method (mail or fax) and make the necessary payments. The fees and procedures for obtaining copies of property documents via mail or fax can be found on the Copy Request Procedure & Fees page. Requesters can also search real estate records online on the County Recorder's Record Search website.

In addition, individuals can query the Portage County Auditor's Office in person for real property records. They can also leverage the Auditor's Real Estate Web Portal to look up available records by parcel, owner, or address.

Portage County Court Records Online

Several third-party websites like Ohiocourtrecords.us provide members of the public with remote access to Portage County court records. However, unlike Portage County official court sources, these data aggregator websites also disseminate records from other jurisdictions. As such, individuals whose search is not limited to Portage County can benefit from these services.

However, third-party websites charge a fee for inspecting records. They may also furnish out-of-date case information. As such, individuals are advised to always cross-check with official sources to ensure that they possess reliable and complete information.

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  • Criminal Records
  • Arrests Records
  • Warrants
  • Driving Violations
  • Inmate Records
  • Felonies
  • Misdemeanors
  • Bankruptcies
  • Tax & Property Liens
  • Civil Judgements
  • Federal Dockets
  • Probate Records
  • Marriage Records
  • Divorce Records
  • Death Records
  • Property Records
  • Asset Records
  • Business Ownership
  • Professional Licenses
  • And More!