Stearns County Courthouse

Stearns County Court Administration
725 Courthouse Square - Service Center
815 Courthouse Square - Case Intake/Payment Center
St. Cloud, MN 56303
Get directions

Phone: (320) 656-3620
Fax: (320) 656-3626

Court Administrator: George Lock

Please note: No cell phones are allowed inside the courthouse or courts facility buildings. If you bring your cell phone with you, you will be asked to leave it at the door in a storage area (which is unsecured), or return to your vehicle to leave it there.
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Monday - Friday

Closed on Holidays

New Year's Day (Jan. 1)
Martin Luther King Day (Jan. 19)
Presidents Day (Feb. 16)
Memorial Day (May 25)
Independence Day (July 3)
Labor Day (Sept. 7)
Veterans Day (Nov. 11)
Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 26)
Day after Thanksgiving (Nov. 27) (in lieu of Columbus Day)
Christmas Day (Dec. 25)

Stearns County Judicial Officers

Chief Judge John H. Scherer

Chief Judge John H. Scherer Seventh Judicial District

Judge William J. Cashman

Judge William J. Cashman Seventh Judicial District

Judge Kris Davick-Halfen

Judge Kris Davick-Halfen Seventh Judicial District

Judge Frederick L. Grunke

Judge Frederick L. Grunke Seventh Judicial District

Judge Frank J. Kundrat

Judge Frank J. Kundrat Seventh Judicial District

Judge Vicki E. Landwehr

Judge Vicki E. Landwehr Seventh Judicial District

Judge Mary B. Mahler

Judge Mary B. Mahler Seventh Judicial District

Judge Andrew Pearson

Judge Andrew Pearson Seventh Judicial District


AdministrationStearns is one of the larger courts in the state, serving an area of about 1,400 square miles and a population of about 130,000. The court is housed in two buildings in downtown St. Cloud. The Stearns County Law Library is also housed in the historic courthouse.
A Guide to Conciliation CourtThe information contained in here is not intended as legal advice, but as a general guide to explain the legal process. Most forms referred to in this document are available from Court Administration.

What is Conciliation Court?

Conciliation Court was created to allow citizens to bring their legal claims before the court without expensive costs, attorneys fees, or complicated legal procedures. For more information, please visit the Conciliation Court Help Topic.


A Family Law Matter may include:

Courts decide by applying laws (statutes) and looking at previously decided cases (Case Law).

Where Do You Begin?

Because each person is at a different stage of his or her family law matter, there is not one answer. Where YOU should begin depends upon your specific situation. You must first determine your immediate need. This document can provide some possible starting points. It also identifies resources in the community.

If you are a woman in immediate danger of being physically abused, call a women's' shelter. Advocates can help provide for the safety of you and your children.

If you have been served with court papers, check carefully the deadline for answering. Call an attorney immediately to help you decide how you proceed.

If you are ready to hire a lawyer, referral services can provide the names of attorneys.

If you are unable to pay an attorney, contact an agency that provides free or low-cost legal assistance. Call the Legal Aid program in your county or in the county where the case is likely to go to court.

  • Most agencies use county-of-residence to determine eligibility.
  • Income guidelines and case type vary for each agency.
  • If you are turned down by an agency, ask for a referral to an organization that may be able to help you.
  • Be patient and persistent. It may be difficult to get through by phone or you may be placed on a waiting list. Many agencies are understaffed; they are doing their best with limited resources.
  • The legal process may seem to go slowly. Some agencies require a 6-month separation from your spouse before they will start a dissolution action. Once the process has begun, an uncontested divorce may take 3 to 6 months; a contested case may take 12 to 36 months.
  • It is VERY IMPORTANT to make the divorce settlement as fair and well-planned as possible. You will be living with the consequences for many years.
  • Few agencies provide services to change visitation, custody, or child support after a divorce.
  • YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Social service agencies have support groups and counseling to help people adjust to change. Create a support network of friends, family, and peers. Consider support groups or therapy to help you through this difficult time.

Free or Low-Cost Agencies, and What They Provide

(320) 253-0121
Legal representation for low income persons. Case types and priorities vary by program. Most assist with dissolution, paternity, custody and domestic abuse. Call to see if they can assist you.

(320) 253-0121
Similar to Legal Aid programs. Services provided by volunteer attorneys.

(320) 656-6086
Low cost.
Works closely with County Attorneys to establish paternity, child support orders, etc. Free to low-income persons.

Minnesota State Bar Association 1-800-292-4152
Fee Varies.
Referral to private attorneys who represent clients in family law cases. Referral rates vary. Individual attorney rates vary.

(320) 656-6000
Advocacy for victims of domestic abuse. Assists in filling out Orders For Protection. May provide legal advocate.

Anna Marie's
(320) 252-1603
Advocacy and shelter for victims of domestic abuse. May assist with Orders For Protection, legal advocacy. Provides information about community resources.

(320) 656-3678
Has Statutes, Case Law, Legal Services booklets, etc.

How juvenile cases are handled

In a juvenile case, the victim does not bring charges against the accused. A crime is considered a wrong against the State, and the people of the State file charges. The county attorney represents the State, and filing a petition against the juvenile is charging him or her with a crime. In some situations, a law enforcement officer will issue a ticket, also called a citation.

A delinquent act is an act committed by a juvenile that would be a crime if committed by a person over age 18. When a juvenile has been charged with a delinquent act, the legal process is significantly different from the process used for adults.

The juvenile justice system works to treat and rehabilitate juvenile offenders. In addition, juvenile courts move more quickly to resolve cases and provide the accused more privacy than adults charged with similar crimes.

Investigation and charging

A crime committed by a juvenile is investigated like any other crime. After the crime is reported, the officer conducts an investigation to decide if there is enough evidence to prove that the juvenile committed the offense. If the officer believes that there is enough evidence, reports are sent to the County Attorney's Office or a citation may be issued.

Next, the County Attorney's staff will review the information, decide whether the evidence supports charges, and, if so, file charges. If there is not enough evidence, the case may be rejected or returned to the officer for additional investigation.


In some situations, a juvenile may be taken into custody and detained. The police officer may release the juvenile to the custody of a parent or guardian, place the juvenile in a shelter care facility, or continue the detention. The law requires that a juvenile be released from detention unless certain extreme circumstances exist. Most juveniles in detention must come before the court within 24 to 48 hours for a detention hearing. Most juvenile offenders are not detained. They are summoned to court by a mailed notice.

Locations of hearings

The hearings, described on the following page, may take place in different locations. A juvenile offender's arraignment hearing, pre-trial hearing and trial occurs in the county where the crime was committed. The disposition hearing takes place in the county of residence.


At the arraignment hearing, the juvenile will appear in court and be asked to "admit" or "deny" the offense alleged in the petition. Juveniles are entitled to an attorney and may apply for an attorney to be appointed to represent them. An admission is equivalent to a guilty plea. Upon admission, the juvenile's case goes to disposition, either immediately or in the future. A denial leads to a trial.

Pretrial Hearing

In some jurisdictions, the judge may order a pretrial hearing to decide issues of law before trial. Citizen witnesses are usually not called to testify at these hearings. The juvenile may admit at this hearing.


In most cases, juvenile trials are held before the judge. However, in some instances a juvenile can request a jury trial. A juvenile offender has the same legal protections during trial as an adult charged with a similar crime. The judge or jury will make a determination that the petition is "proven" or "not proven." If the judge finds that the petition has been proven, the case proceeds to a disposition hearing.


Once the juvenile is convicted by a judge or jury (or enters an admission), a disposition hearing is scheduled. The judge has many options, including a warning, restitution, fines, community service, probation, foster care, out-of-home placement, or detention. The disposition will depend on the offense, the juvenile's attitude, the juvenile's criminal history, or the availability of appropriate services.

Crime victims and juvenile hearings

Minnesota law (Minn. Statutes Sec. 260.155 subd. 1 and Sec. 611A.02) prohibits the public from attending juvenile hearings in most cases. However, the court can grant exceptions to this rule:
  • if a person has a direct interest in the case, such as a crime victim;
  • if a person has a direct interest in the work of the court; or
  • if a juvenile is alleged to have committed an offense or has been proven to have committed an offense that is a felony and was at least 16 years old at the time of the offense.
  • a victim has the right to attend the disposition hearing.
If you would like to attend a juvenile hearing, you should contact the Victim Assistance Coordinators in the County Attorney's Office for Court information.

Medical Expenses? Loss of Property? Counseling Expenses? Out-of-Pocket Expenses?

Victims may be eligible for financial assistance from the state if they have suffered economic loss as a result of a violent crime.

Victims can request the court to order the juvenile to pay restitution if the juvenile is found to have committed the offense. Victims may be eligible for emergency financial assistance for the replacement of necessary property that was lost, stolen or damaged as a result of a crime, transportation related to the victim's needs and cleanup of a crime scene.
For more information about your rights or the juvenile court process, contact:

Stearns County Attorney's Office Victim Assistance Coordinators 
Administration Center, Room 448 
705 Courthouse Square 
St. Cloud, MN 56303-4701

(320) 656-3880
Outside the calling area 1-800-450-3880
Hearing Impaired (320) 253-7868
24-hour crisis line 1-877-450-3869
Court Calendar

Court calendars reflect scheduled courtroom hearings, but they do not include all matters handled by the court each day.

Confidential cases are not posted in this calendar, so if your case does not appear on the calendar, do not assume that your court appearance has been cancelled or rescheduled.

The calendar is in searchable .PDF format. You can use your computer or mobile device to find your name or the name of an attorney.
Stearns County Weekly Public Court Calendar

Please note:                                                                                                                               

  • This calendar is posted at 7:00 AM each business day and updated hourly throughout the day.                                                                                                                                  
  • Calendar hearings are subject to change as there are often changes in scheduled cases, judge assignments, and courtroom assignments.
  • Printed calendars located outside the courtrooms or in public lobbies contain the most current daily calendar information.
  • If you have any questions about the calendar, please contact the local court administrator’s office.
  • Information in the calendar is subject to the MN Rules of Public Access.

Pick Up Forms In Person

Information packets, booklets and brochures are available on a wide variety of topics and are free of charge.

We need to charge for some packets of court forms. Form packets that have 10 pages or fewer are free, but 11 pages or more will cost $5.00. Divorce form packets (divorces with or without children involved) will be $10.00 each.

All forms and information brochures are available from our Service Center at 725 Courthouse Square, Room 134 in the courthouse.

Get Forms Online

The electronic library of statewide forms can be found on the Get Forms page.


Probate includes wills, estates, guardianships, psychological commitments, etc. Visit the Probate, Wills and Estates Help Topic for more information.

With a few exceptions, the court system in Minnesota generally doesn't produce its own probate forms. However, private publishers do provide many of these forms for a small charge. 

Tax Court

In Minnesota, Tax Court is separate from the regular state trial courts, but if you're looking for Tax Court forms, you'll find some forms and information at the Tax Court's web site.
Call Court Administration at 320-656-3620 or our office for court hearing information.

For more information about the legal process, contact:

Stearns County Attorney
Victim Assistance Coordinators
320-253-1868 TTY/TDD
1-800-450-3880 Outside of the St. Cloud calling area.