There are multiple reasons why someone would want to find divorce records, from financial to personal reasons. For example, official records are required for remarriage. However; locating divorce records may be trickier than you think.
Divorce proceedings are public matters just like other court proceedings, which means that unless someone requests to file divorce records “under seal,” these proceedings are of public record for anyone to find. The only exceptions to this rule would be information kept private regarding children or the names of victims of sexual abuse. In this regard, if a court case is filed “under seal,” then divorce records will not accessible to the public. However; both parties must ask the court to file records “under seal” to be kept confidential and off public record.
With this said, most divorce records are of public record and there a few ways to access these records, from basic online searches to more advanced means. Depending on the date of the divorce, and a few other factors, here are the three easiest ways to find divorce records.
Internet Searches and Free Online Resources
This may seem like common knowledge, but many times a basic internet search can pull up information; not always, but it’s one of the first ways to check before moving on to more advanced searches. A simple Google search of a person’s name (maiden and married if a woman) along with key word phrases like “divorce records,” “court proceedings,” or “divorce” may pull up some information. You may also put both parties’ names in a search together with a few key words/phrases to see what the search will yield. This can take a little longer, especially if the names of the divorced are fairly common, so be patient if you go this route.
Another more effective method is to access an online resource specifically tailored for locating information like this is using us, where you can access our Divorce Records Directory. Using the directory, users search by last name (or by state of divorce filing if you have that information) and can access data that includes: the full name of the individual(s), divorce filing data and number, county/state of the divorce filing, as well as other details that may be useful. This information comes directly from public records data, but users cannot obtain copies of actual documents. We can also be helpful if you want to access more information than divorce records would provide, offering users the ability to order a comprehensive background check.
Formal Records Request
If you want to avoid online searches, you can request divorce records in person through the vital records office of the county or state where the divorce was finalized. The only problem with this method is if you do not know the state or county where the divorce was finalized. Another hiccup you may run into with this route is that many times you are required to show proof of relation to the person for which you are requesting records. If you aren’t a family member, you must then show reason for your request (though some states do have open records laws that would allow you to side step this process). If you can locate these records, fees are typically required and there is sometimes a long wait time. If you know you need records fast, some vital records offices will allow additional payment for a rush request.
To make your request to a vital records office, you can either go directly to the vital statistics office, or write them. To make sure that your request is filled properly, here are a few steps to keep in mind:
- File only one request at a time
- Include the following information:
– Date of request
– Full name of husband and wife
– Date and place of divorce (as specific as possible)
– Type of final decree
– Your relationship to the parties and purpose for request
– Your name, address, driver’s license number and state, and signature
- Be certain all information is correct and spelled correctly
- Include any other relevant details on the person (date of divorce, any other names the person would go by, etc.)
If an online search has yielded no results, and a records request is not an option for one reason or another, you can look to a private company for help in accessing and locating divorce records. Though not government agencies, these companies are authorized to provide records services on behalf of government agencies nationwide. In this way, private companies can offer an additional layer of security as many offer guarantees and authorize documents for you. Going with this method is fast and efficient as you simply place an order and receive the records on your doorstep, but you will pay for that convenience with many private companies requiring fairly steep fees for access to official documents like divorce records. Of course, if divorce records cannot be located via this method, you may need to dig deeper and find out why.
Locating divorce records isn’t always as simple as a Google search, and even some private companies may not be able to get you what you need. Sometimes records are too old or kept private for various reasons, which will require extended research or other, more inventive methods. If you need additional information to obtain personal records, like those for divorce proceedings, we here at PeopleFinders.com are one way to get that additional personal information that can help you navigate through your search methods and locate the records you are looking for. Information like aliases, former residential information or other details of a person’s life can help you get one step closer to locating the divorce records you need. So, the bottom line is to get creative and try other methods if you run into difficulties.