State Divorce Records
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
A divorce record is issued by a jurisdiction to officially annul a marriage. Divorce records are also considered public record, however, many couples choose to have their actual divorce filing sealed away from public view in order to hide nasty custody battles or to shield public knowledge of their assets at the time of divorce.
These records are very important should a person wish to get married again at a later date since most areas require proof that any previous marriage is over before you are allowed to legally marry again. Privacy concerns run deep when it comes to divorce records as they typically lay bare all the troubles a couple had before getting a divorce.
In addition to finding out if someone has been married (and divorced) in the past, divorce records can also be used for a variety of other reasons, from financial to personal.
In the US, divorce is a matter of the state, though federal legislation has been enacted to protect the rights and responsibilities of the spouses. This includes the creation of child support guidelines, the division of child support, deductions of alimony, health insurance coverage, and more. All states will recognize the divorce given in another state, and all states impose a minimum time of residence to file a divorce there.
Prior to the second half of the 20th century, spouses had to show a cause for the divorce, and certain divorces were barred. However, by the 1960s, these laws were so easily bypassed that the no-fault divorce gained ground. Only New York requires a mandatory separation period before filing for divorce.
In most cases, the spouses must file a petition with their county's court's family division judge. Some grounds require proof, while others, such as irreconcilable differences, no fault has to be proven. Some states do require a mandatory waiting period to file a divorce. Fault grounds can still be sought to try and reduce the waiting period or affect the decisions related to the divorce.
A divorce decree will not be granted until all questions regarding children, property, and finances are resolved. Once a decree has been issued, the Freedom of Information Act entitles free access to the record.