People search for divorce records for diverse reasons; some seek it for deeply personal reasons, some for official reasons and some do it for research purposes.
Interestingly, before the twentieth century, divorces were far and between rarely to be found and were not even permissible in some places; so divorce details of that time might be difficult to find. Some early divorces were given by state legislatures, which probably listed them in their records. The establishment of courts in a particular area led to county officials keeping a record of divorces occurring in that area. One might access these early divorce actions taken by county, circuit and district courts from their dockets, minutes and case files. In some places, divorces came under the jurisdiction of a chancery, common pleas, probate, domestic, superior or supreme court.
Since, divorce records are public; they can be easily accessed by anybody interested if one knows how to go about it. The steps given below will help you access the required divorce records.
You need to first, gather all pertinent information regarding the people involved in the divorce. The kind of information you will need is the name of the two parties, the state where they filed the divorce. Extra information such as, their birth dates might be useful in cases where there might be more than one person with the same name.
You have to next, visit or contact the Department of Health and Vital Records of the concerned state. Generally, most official divorce records can be accessed from this department. But, in many states, you can obtain the certified record of the divorce from the state Superior Courts. County level Superior Courts might also have the divorce records, which will be most probably filed with the family law division or the civil records department. If you aren’t able to ascertain the records you need at the court level, you can check with the specific county clerk’s office, which might have filed the divorce record in their Official Records Index.
You might not be able to get a certified copy of the divorce record in case you are not the following: person named in the record, parents of the individuals named in the record, or other individuals permitted by law. If you are neither of the aforementioned, you will be able to get only an ‘informational’ copy.
Most states will need you to fill out a records request keeping security in mind, before even allowing you to access their public records. You might get the paperwork done online. Some states might ask for a minimal fee ($12-$20) to avail of the document.