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Public Divorce Records

Accessing public divorce records can be problematic. That is to say, searching for these records can be an arduous undertaking, especially if you only have partial names and addresses. Once located, divorce records contain a fair amount of information, including the full names and addresses of both former spouses, the names of any children, the date of the divorce, and the reason for the divorce. This wealth of information can be used to verify identities and cross-reference background checks.

Though it may not be particularly romantic, it may be in you best interest to look into your future fiancé?s martial background. A divorce record search can help you find out whether or not he or she has been married, for how long, and why it was dissolved. In addition to personal uses, divorce records can, in some instances, be used to verify background checks and employment applications. Generally, divorce records are grade-B records -- they can be difficult to obtain and could contain irrelevant facts. Employers cannot discriminate against a potential employer based on marital status.

Another possible use for public divorce records is verifying genealogical searches. Finding long-lost relatives and understanding how they married into and out of family trees can be invaluable to dedicated genealogists. Along with marriage records, immigration records, and even death certificates, divorce records can be   powerful research tools. To be sure, divorce records can shed light on child custody rulings and even locations.

How to Access Public Divorce Records

There is a set process for accessing public divorce records that can make your search and retrieval more efficient. All divorce cases are subject to state judiciaries. Federal courts have no jurisdiction over divorces. Each decree of divorce is logged in its respective state database. Typically, divorce records are filed with the state?s Department of Public Health and Human Services and can be requested online or in person. Some state charge a fee to access these records and in some cases, the divorce records may be sealed by order of the court or federal government.

Accessing these records is a matter of searching and requesting. At, we?ve made it easy to request copies. Depending on how advanced your state?s databases is, you can even access the records online or download them as PDF files. With our network of state and county databases, you can search by name, address, date, or even by the case number.  

In some cases, state or federal courts can request divorce records for the purposes of verifying identities. Be forewarned that the state does not need to seek your permission to access your divorce records. In fact, anyone can access these files as they fall under the jurisdiction of the Freedom of Information Act. Divorce records are seldom accessed without reason, the most common, as mentioned, being identification verification.

It is in your best interests to secure a valid copy of your divorce records, especially your decree of divorce. It will be necessary to provide your decree of divorce if you plan to revert to your maiden name or when your taxes are due. Moving on and reclaiming your identity are slow processes and will require time, patience, and the right paperwork.