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How to Find Out if Someone Has Been Divorced

divorce records

Divorce proceedings are delicate matters and don’t make for easy conversation. However, there are certain situations where knowing about divorce is important, including:

  • Marrying someone vague about their past
  • If someone may have legally changed their name
  • When seeking proof of visitation for school purposes
  • When dealing with income tax records

This advice will help you seek out divorce records to find true and accurate reports with up-to-date information about whether someone has filed for divorce.

Are Divorce Proceedings Public Record?

In most states, there is a relatively simple process for accessing records of divorce proceedings because they are considered matters of public record. However, the court can choose to seal some aspects of a particular document. Courts can also deny access entirely, as is the case with New York where permission is essentially required to access these records.

Even with some censorship on the part of the courts, you can learn the basic information about someone’s divorce using these records.

What Divorce Records Show

In general, divorce records contain the basic information about the divorce proceedings. This includes the name and birth date for each party in the divorce, as well as any judgments related to it (including orders of child support). It will also contain the reasons for the divorce stated in the words of both parties.

Personally identifiable information can include social security numbers and full dates of birth, which may be useful for an extended background check related to employment or leasing.

Finding Divorce Records

You won’t need to hire a private eye to locate divorce proceedings. The fastest and simplest method is an online background check for divorce proceedings. You need little more than a person’s first and last name, and their location, to gain access to nationwide information including divorce proceedings.

A lawyer is also a good source of information, especially if he or she handled the divorce. The office may keep records for several years, as is standard practice in the legal profession, so check there first.

County offices also keep records and may not post online. You may need to query the county clerk, superior court, or some other public records hall in person. This will differ in each state, but there is a national database you can check for information that will lead you to the right place.

Finally, as a long shot, your state historical society may have records related to the marriage. There are times where it’s helpful to consult a historical society if you’re researching genealogy, but they may have up-to-date records or access to an online database that is user-friendly.

Final Thoughts

Finding divorce records is simple, but the route you take offers many options. Court documents provide a certified picture of the events, but a background check includes these documents along with other relevant information. Often for the same (or even a slightly lower) cost.