A divorce record gets created within the jurisdiction that the dissolution is taking place to officially annul a marriage. Divorce records, like many other forms of information, are considered part of public domain. They are kept on file in the county in which they were filed and can be easily accessible with a bit of time and information.
The Importance of Divorce Records
By getting a copy of a divorce record, you’ll have access to some of the following information:
- Date and location of the marriage
- Name of the ex-spouse
- Names and age of any children that resulted from the marriage as well as custody arrangements
- Financial information such as the income of both spouses at the time of the divorce as well as any alimony and child support that’s due
Why Someone Might Be Interested in a Copy of Your Divorce Record
As mentioned above, when someone has access to a copy of your divorce record, they will be able gather in-depth information regarding the divorce settlement including custody arrangements, whether or not alimony was ordered and even for what reason the divorce was filed.
Here are just a few scenarios why you or someone else may want a copy of your divorce records:
- Are you in a relationship with someone who has previously been through a divorce? If so, you may want to get a copy of the divorce records to see if the person you are romantically involved with had any serious issues in their previous marriage. Issues that could be indicative of future problems. For example, let’s say the person you are currently involved with has previously had issues of domestic abuse or infidelity… these are issues that would be listed as reasons for why the divorce was filed and are issues that you may want to make yourself aware of!
- Was the divorce finalized? Many people go through the motions of getting a divorce but never follow through. While this may not be a big deal if you’re only dating, it can be a huge problem if you even think that the person you’re involved with could be marriage material. Just because someone tells you they are divorced doesn’t mean they are. If you have doubts, divorce records can put those doubts to rest.
- Doing a genealogy project? With all the information that you can find in divorce records, you’ll have an easier time of figuring out your entire family tree. For example, if your grandparents filed for divorce and you wanted to find all your cousins. Looking up the divorce records would give you the names, birth dates and birthplaces of all the children from that marriage making it a lot easier to find relatives that you may have lost contact with.
Background Information Required
Before someone can view or request a copy of a divorce record, they will need to know some basic information about the divorced couple. Typically, the following basic information is needed:
- The first and last name of the person being searched
- The first and last name of the former partner
- Where the divorce was granted (at least the state, preferably the county)
You may also want to make sure to know the parties’ respective birthdays in case of other couples who share the same name.
Where to Find Divorce Records
The first place that you should consider when trying to find a divorce record is to go to the courthouse in the county that issued the divorce. Records can be viewed for free and a printed copy is available for a small fee. If your research turns up nothing at the court level, then you may want to go to the specific county clerk’s office.
Another option is to contact or visit the state’s Department of Health and Vital Records. Official divorce records can usually be accessed from each state’s Department of Health and Vital Records.