Civil Courts

Function & Responsibility

The function of the Civil Division is to serve the public by processing and maintaining lawsuits that involve allegations of civil causes of action.

The Civil Division is responsible for maintaining all Civil Court files such as harassment, contract, and personal injury and providing public access to those records.

Housing Court

An Unlawful Detainer (eviction action) is a legal proceeding conducted in District Court for the purpose of returning the right of possession of rental property to the landlord. To bring such an action the landlord must have a legitimate reason. The court will determine whether the tenant should be evicted or remain on the property.

Common Reasons for Filing an Eviction Action Complaint

  • Expiration of redemption period following cancellation of a contract for deed or foreclosure of a mortgage
  • Non-payment of rent
  • Tenant violation of drug or nuisance covenant
  • Tenant's failure to vacate after proper notice has been received or given or after the lease has expired
  • Violation of the terms of the lease which provides for eviction

Minnesota Statute §§ 504B.285, 504B.171, and 504B.301

Parties Able to File & Sign Complaint

  • Plaintiff (who must be the landlord, as defined in Minnesota Statute § 504B.001, Subdivision 7)
  • Attorney for plaintiff
  • Person with Power of Attorney from the plaintiff
    • The Power of Attorney must be filed with the Complaint

All court forms are available online.


The public computer terminals in the Court Administration Office may be used to access information on outstanding judgments, which include money owed by debtors to creditors. Many agencies such as abstract companies, credit bureaus, etc. collect judgment information from the public files. The life span of a judgment is 10 years, or until it has been paid and a "satisfaction" document is filed with Court Administration.

  • Judgment searches are not conducted via the telephone.
  • Judgment searches may be requested by mail when accompanied by a prepaid fee of $5 per Search Certificate.
    • $5 per name
    • $5 per any variation of the name

Judgment procedures and forms can be found on the state's website.

Motor Vehicle Registration

Procedure for Administrative Registration of Motor Vehicle

This procedure is to be used in the event a person has been unable to register title to a motor vehicle they have purchased.

  • Defendant seller must be the recorded owner of the vehicle.
  • Filing fee is the same as for any civil action.
  • Plaintiff should attempt serving notice of hearing on defendant by mail at last known address.
  • After the order has been signed the plaintiff will be required to provide a certified copy along with required fees to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles.

All official forms are available online for review and download.

Name Change

You must file for a change of name in the county where you live. It is necessary for the person(s) changing his or her name to have lived in the State of Minnesota for at least 6 months. You will need to have 2 adult witnesses that reside in the State of Minnesota and have known the person(s) changing his or her name for a minimum of 1 year. Both biological parents must consent to a name change for a minor child.

If you do not know the whereabouts of the other biological parent, it will be necessary to follow these steps before the child's name can be changed:

  • Send a letter by certified mail to the last known address or in care of a relative notifying them of the intent to change the child's name.
  • If there is no response, you will need to publish a Notice of Intent to change the child's name in a legal newspaper. (Post Review, Chisago County Press, etc.)

Please review the instructions and forms for more information

Harassment Restraining Order

Harassment is defined as:

  • A pattern of attending public events after being notified that the actor's presence at the event is harassing to another
  • Repeated, intrusive, or unwanted acts, words, or gestures, that are intended to adversely affect the safety, security, or privacy of another, regardless of the relationship between the actor and the intended target
  • Targeted residential picketing

Harassment Restraining Order

A Harassment Restraining Order is a court order forbidding someone from harassing and / or making contact with another or any minor children in the home.

  • The term "petitioner" refers to the person asking for the harassment order.
  • The term "respondent" refers to the alleged harassing party.

For instructions on how to apply for a Harassment Restraining Order or to determine if you would qualify for 1, go to the state website, or contact The Refuge, a community service agency at 651-257-2890 or 1-800-338-SAFE (7233).