Reconstructing Records for Court Use
It can happen to the best of us. You are in the middle of a lawsuit and realize you need to rely upon records you lost and forgot about years ago. What do you do to re-obtain these important records so it does not cost you your case? Depending on the type of record you are looking for, there are many options available.
For tax returns, you can obtain a free transcript of what you reported directly from the IRS at https://www.irs.gov/individuals/get-transcript or by calling 800-908-9946. You can also obtain transcripts by filing a form 4506 or 4506-T. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4506t.pdf and https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-4506 .
For real estate, you can obtain a copy of the deed and other important documents by contacting the recorders office in the county where that property is located. For example, in Salt Lake that would be the Salt Lake County Recorders office. https://slco.org/recorder/ The recorder may charge a small fee for this service. However you can also visit the Salt Lake County Assessor’s website for a free search of property records showing who is listed as the current legal owner of real estate. https://slco.org/recorder/ Another source is by contacting your mortgage or title company as they will likely keep such records on file for you.
For vehicles, you can obtain copies of lost or stolen title certificates from the Utah Division of Motor Vehicles for a small fee. https://dmv.utah.gov/general/replacements
For personal property, look for pictures you may have kept on your phone or social media that show that property, where it was located, and what it looked like. You can also look at bank and credit card statements and receipts to show when you acquired the item, how much it cost, where from, and show if it is new or old. Another helpful tip is to draw a floor plan of your home showing where each piece of furniture or property was placed. Try to remember things like drawers, dressers, and shelves as well and what you had in them. This can help you remember what you had so it can be fairly addressed in your court case. Do not forget garages, attics, closets, basements, or items on walls.
For bank, credit card, retirement, and investment account records, you can contact your financial institution for copies of past statements. Many times you can obtain electronic copies of statements for the past 12 months (or more) free of charge from their online portal.
For payroll records, contact your employer’s HR department and they can provide you with past paystubs, W2s, benefits records, and other information. Some companies even allow employees to obtain these records online.
For phone call records, you can contact your phone provider for billing statements and logs showing dates/times when you have made or received a phone cal or text message. However phone companies normally do not keep recordings of the actual conversations or text messages that were exchanged.
For court records and orders, Utah attorneys can obtain electronic copies of court filings, orders, and decrees in most cases from the Court’s electronic filing system. If you need paper certified copies then you will need to contact the court itself and they may charge a small fee for this service. Self-represented individuals and members of the general public can obtain electronic copies of most court records if they have an online account. For most Utah state district and justice court cases, you can obtain records via XChange https://pubapps.utcourts.gov/XchangeWEB/ . For federal court records, you can obtain these via PACER https://pacer.uscourts.gov/file-case/court-cmecf-lookup/court/UTDC . There may be a small fee for using these services however. Many Utah juvenile, adoption, and divorce/custody case records are designated as private or sealed and you may have to go through an attorney or get court permission to inspect and copy records in these cases.
For birth, death, and adoption certificates from Utah, you can obtain these from the Utah Office of Vital Records and Statistics for a small fee. vitalrecords.health.utah.gov In cases involving adoption or an unmarried biological father, you can also obtain a report on whether a father has timely registered his claim of paternity from Vital Records.
Do you have questions about obtaining records for your court case? If so give us Wiser and Wiser family law attorneys a call at 855-254-2600