Summary:Vermont's Judiciary Public Portal can give you access to your court case records online. Below is SoloSuit's guide to the Vermont court system, how to search for your court case there, and how to respond to a debt lawsuit.
Vermont courts provide an online portal for finding your court case.
If you've been sued for a debt, it's crucial to keep tabs on your case. Frequently, collectors don't properly serve defendants with the case documents. So, finding your case online is helpful for reviewing the progress of your case.
Finding your case isn't always easy, so in this article we'll show you what you need to know about searching for your court case in Vermont. But first, let's explore how Vermont's court system works.
Understand the Vermont court system
In order to find your case information online or in person, it's important to understand how the civil courts are structured in Vermont. When you know what courts have jurisdiction over certain types of cases, it will be easier for you to narrow down the court to which your case is assigned. In Vermont, there are two levels of courts that deal with civil cases:
The Supreme Court: This is the highest level of the judicial branch in the state of Vermont. When someone appeals the outcome of a civil case in the Superior Court, the case is passed on to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
The Superior Court: In Vermont, all civil cases are initiated in the Superior Court. This means that all debt collection lawsuits begin at the Superior Court level. If a lawsuit involves $5,000 or less, it is considered a Small Claims case.
The graphic below further illustrate the civil court structure in Vermont:
What divisions make up Vermont's Superior Court?
Each of Vermont's 14 counties has a Superior Court unit. The court considers cases involving both criminal and civil matters. It is also the Superior Court's job to allocate judges to cases in their districts and among the Superior Court's several divisions. The bulk of cases managed by the Superior Court are heard by a jury, while the districts dispersed around the Superior Court use diverse methods of hearing and judging cases.
Below is a brief explanation of the different divisions within the Superior Court and the types of cases they handle:
Division of Civil Procedure: The Superior Court's civil division has relatively limited jurisdiction and handles primarily civil and small claims disputes.
Division of Criminal Justice: Criminal proceedings are heard in the Superior Courts across Vermont's 14 counties. This division has authority over all criminal matters in the state and issues warrants for searches and arrests. Each criminal case is assigned to a judge by the court. The criminal division has the authority to consider appeals from cases handled by the judicial bureau and, if necessary, to overturn verdicts.
Family Separation: Every county has a family division, which has authority over matters involving marital troubles, minors, and child support. This division does not conduct jury trials most of the time, instead hearing only from the parties involved and their counsel.
Division of Probate: The Superior Courts' probate division has authority over estates, wills, and birth and death certificates. The Judicial Bureau exclusively handles civil matters only. Most of the crimes heard here are minor, and state or municipal law enforcement authorities typically impose them.
Division of the Environment: The Superior Court's environmental division is the only one that does not exist in all 14 counties in the state. There is, instead, just one central functioning point where two judges are assigned. These two judges travel around the state, hearing matters involving municipal and state land use. This court may also hear land use issues and enforcement petitions throughout the state. Most matters in this court are between parties and their counsel, with a judge finally determining.
Like we mentioned before, if you are involved in a debt collection lawsuit, your case will fall under the Division of Civil Procedure.
How are case numbers assigned in Vermont
Cases that start, or are transferred to a district are assigned a case number by the clerk when it is filed. Civil, criminal, magistrate and miscellaneous cases are each given a separate sequence. Civil cases all start with the letters CV and the last two digits of the case number is the year the case was opened.
Find your court documents online in Vermont
Visit the Vermont Judiciary Public Portal to find court documents online. This is a free tool that gives you access to all the actions that have taken place in a case, as well as the documents filed into civil cases and any future hearings scheduled. If the records are public, anybody with access to the internet may access them. Debt lawsuits are considered public records, so you should be able to find your debt case online easily.
In order to find your court documents online, you will need to enter the following information in the search bar:
Case number: Also known as the record number or docket number, the case number is usually the fastest and easiest way to locate your case online. All civil cases are assigned a case number, and that number usually appears on the Summons document when you are notified of the lawsuit.
Party names: If you don't know your case number, you can try searching for your case by entering your last and first name (or the name of the person listed on the case).
Advanced search options: The Vermont Judiciary Public Portal lets you advance your search to narrow down the results. Click on the advanced search options, which will allow you to enter additional information into the search such as the court location of the case, the filing date, and the case type.
Most of Vermont's court documents are now open to the public, including docket records (summary of your specific court proceedings). However, some are still sealed. Those that are sealed either deal with sensitive material or a juvenile guilty of a crime, both of which are inaccessible to the general public.
Check the status of your court case in person
If you can't find your court document online, another option is to go to the court where the matter was heard and ask them to make copies for you. If you decide to visit the courthouse, make sure you arrive with the information needed for a court clerk to search your case: case number, party names, etc. There may be a fee involved for copying the documents. Use the following link to find the court location in your county.
If you don't have time to make the trip to the courthouse, you can also try calling the court clerk to have them look up the status of your case over the phone.
What are Vermont's Federal District Courts?
Vermont's Federal Court is the United States District Court for the District of Vermont. It has authority across the state and over any civil and criminal proceedings that violate federal law.
In addition, the state has a bankruptcy court that handles all matters involving federal bankruptcy offenses. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit hears appeals from both federal courts.
If you are being sued for a debt in Vermont, chances are the case will not be on the federal level but rather the state. However, it's still helpful to know how to navigate federal cases online.
Search your federal court case with third-party tools
When you enter keywords like "find my lawsuit in Vermont" on Google, ads and privately run tools appear as the top results. Government-owned search tools do not appear first because no one pays for them. The charges per document you access may be significantly high, so confirm that you can afford to pay. Remember, you don't have to pay for records that you can otherwise access for free.
PACER is a third-party vendor providing public access to federal court records from around the country—all online. While it involves a fee, it also offers innovative ways to search if you miss important information about your court case.
Respond to a debt lawsuit in Vermont
If you've been sued for a debt you owe, SoloSuit can help you respond in minutes. The first step to winning your debt collection lawsuit in Vermont is to respond to the case with a written Answer. In Vermont, you have 21 days to respond before you lose by default (30 days if the case is in Small Claims). When you lose by default, the debt collector can garnish your wages or put liens on your property.
To learn more about how to Answer a debt lawsuit, check out this video:
You can find out if someone is suing you, keep up with the status of the lawsuit, or find any orders and judgments in a case, often without leaving your home. Knowing the status of any debt collection lawsuit is crucial. After you respond to the Summons, make sure to follow up on the court case using the Vermont Judicial Public Portal.
You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.
SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.
Respond with SoloSuit
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It only takes 15 minutes. And 50% of our customers' cases have been dismissed in the past.
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