Clarifying Legal Information With Public Divorce Records

The importance of divorce records within our civil system cannot be overstated. Together with Marriage, Birth and Death, this category of records form the Vital Records group within the Public Records Offices of the respective State Departments across the nation. Conventionally, the Office of Vital Records also functions as the State repository and some of their archives hold divorce files from as early as the 1800’s. Originating county and district offices and courts generally go even further back.

Divorce decrees are a mainstay of public information these days. In line with the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act in 1966, this public amenity became mandatory and have remained such ever since. Although there are variations in laws among the various state jurisdictions governing their accessibility today, public divorce records are essentially public information throughout the country. That means any member of the public anywhere in the land will ultimately have access to them although some states are restrictive in granting their release.

Public Records come under State jurisdiction. For states which are less liberal with public divorce records, only the individuals whose names are on the records, their legal representatives and direct family members are eligible to request them. This is because of the nature of such records which inherently contain private and vital information. Under such jurisdictions, clarifying vital information with Public Divorce Records by other parties is only possible with a court order, police warrant and other official authorization or when the records are older than a certain number of years, usually 50.

Generally, the designated state central agency responsible for responding to requests from the public will issue Public Divorce Records or their copies as long as procedures are followed and requirements are met. The charges for them are usually nominal – around $13.00 per copy paid directly to the Vital Records office which is effectively more of an administrative fee rather than the cost of the records itself. County-level searches may be more suitable for some folks due to location or other technical reasons. The records at these individual agencies would be similar to those at the central repository as they are inherently the point of origin of the corresponding data there in the first place.

There are typically a number of options to request Public Divorce Records from government offices in most states namely walk-in, mail, telephone and fax. Of late, online applications are increasingly being offered also, affording a much faster retrieval process with great convenience for those whose time and bandwidth are of the essence. What’s even better is the rapid emergence of private commercial records providers on the Internet. The market is competitive so the industry standards are remarkably high and fees are very affordable. That’s why savvy folks looking to advance their romantic relationship nowadays are clarifying vital information with Public Divorce Records.