A divorce record provides evidence that a married couple has legally and officially terminated their marriage.  Also called a “marriage dissolution certificate”, a divorce record is usually a copy of the divorce decree issued during the divorce.  These are typically filed for safekeeping with the county recorder’s office. 

Divorce records may either be official (which means they can be accessed from state records for a fee), or indexed (accessible through various websites or organizations).

What Can a Divorce Record be Used For?

Divorce can change various aspects of a person’s legal status in different areas of life.  Thus, it’s important to make sure that a record of the divorce can be accessed and presented when needed.  Divorce records can be requested during various proceedings or legal processes, including:

  • When marrying or remarrying
  • When dealing with property issues (distribution or ownership of property can sometimes depend on a divorce between spouses)
  • Reconstructing a family tree or family archive
  • Filing for immigration applications
  • Questions over spousal support or child support
  • Distribution of property in a will or trust situation

For instance, a dispute over a property item may require proof that the person obtained it through a divorce proceeding.  In this case, proof of the divorce record may be required before the property can be fully transferred to the new owner.

Where Can Divorce Records be Obtained?

Divorce records can usually be obtained at the county court where the divorce was filed.  Alternatively, you might also find official records at the local recorder’s office.  As mentioned, some websites and private companies maintain indexed records of divorces, which may be different from state records. 

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With a Divorce Record?

If you need assistance in locating or analyzing a divorce record, you may wish to contact a qualified divorce lawyer in your area for advice.  Your lawyer will be able to help you perform a proper divorce record search, and can represent you in court if you need to file a lawsuit over a legal issue.