Divorce records along with birth, marriage, and death are public records and can be obtained freely across the country. However, in order to find divorce records and obtain a free copy, one must be fully aware of the procedure to do so. Below is an overview of the steps to find divorce records and obtain a copy.
Gather relevant information
In order to find free divorce records, you must gather the relevant information needed to search for the records like full names of both husband and wife, the wife’s maiden name, the location, the date and if possible, the court case number.
Find out the judicial circuit where the divorce was filed
A judicial circuit is the territory of the court and often several countries share the same judicial circuit. In order to find free divorce records, you must first identify the judicial circuit where the divorce was filed, so that either you can find the database of the correct court in the judicial circuit and/or apply for the records to the relevant office.
Conduct an online search
Once you know the relevant judicial circuit, start looking for free divorce records online. You can look at open public records online where you can find a link to the relevant court system’s website. Most court websites have the documents included on their site, usually attached to the court’s local rules. However, in some instances, a request will have to be sent in person or via mail.
Apply for free divorce records
In several cases, you cannot access the divorce decree on the website. In such cases, you can approach the Domestic Relations/Family Court Clerk where the divorce proceedings were conducted and apply for the divorce records. If you are not a party to the divorce, you can check if third-party requests are allowed. In most cases where third-party requests are allowed, the court may require a signed affidavit or a notarized letter from one of the parties, granting you the permission to view or obtain the documents.
Get records from the Office of Vital Records
In case you cannot find the divorce records from the court, you can also obtain free divorce records from your state’s Office of Vital Records after providing the necessary identifications or by following the third-party request procedure.