By population, California is the largest state in the USA. However, it is difficult to determine whether the state has the most number of divorces in the country. This is because it does not officially keep track of the divorce count. However, as part of the FoIA (Freedom of Information Act), the state does maintain divorce records as public records.
If you want to access California divorce records, you should be prepared to spend some money. There was a time when this service was offered free of cost, but due to the increasing costs involved and the larger number of requests placed, the county offices are now charging some money for the services offered. However, you can be sure of getting the correct record you are asking for.
California has a Vital Records Office that is responsible for maintaining the California divorce records. You need to contact the address here,
MS: 5103, P.O. Box 997410,
The records are all maintained at the county level, and are networked to the central office of vital records. You may call these numbers to find out:
(916) 445-1719 or (916) 445-2684
A request to access the divorce record must be submitted by mail. A fee of $13.00 is charged for searching to give you the certified copy of the record. However, this is applicable only for divorces that took place between 1962 and 1984. The fee needs to be paid by check or a money order.
The request for the record can also be faxed to (800) 858-5553. However, you need to pay an additional fee of $7.00 for this. In whatever form you make your application, be sure to mention your phone-number and address, in case you want the record mailed to you.
Certified copies need to be obtained from the Clerk of the Superior court. They cannot be procured from the State Health Department. If you know the exact county, you should directly apply there with the fee.
To get a certified copy, you will need to complete a sworn statement. This will be attached to the application form, and it needs to be signed by you.
In case you have mailed the request, the sworn statement needs to be notarized. If you haven't done so, the application might be rejected. Any money that you might have paid with the application will also not be refunded.
Due to shortage of staff, your request may take about 15 to 20 weeks to process. So be prepared. You must wait because it will take some time.
A better way of acquiring the California divorce records is through the Internet. Go for a private website instead of the official channel. The private website accumulates data from the official sites of all states. These sites might be slightly more expensive, but they certainly save you considerable time. The process is hassle-free, as well.
To request copies of California divorce decrees follow the instructions below:
Determine the county in which the divorce was filed.
Go to the directory of California Superior Courts to find the website of that office.
Contact the specific county Superior Court office to determine their procedure and fees for requesting certified divorce records.
Provide the information contained within the divorce document, including current names of husband and wife, the birth names of both parties, county of divorce, and date or years to be searched if date is unknown.
For more information visit the California Department of Public Health Office of Vital Records website.
Information About California Divorce Records
Divorce decrees in the State of California are recorded and maintained in the Superior Court in the county the divorce was filed. The Office of Vital Records does maintain limited records for divorces for the years 1962 through 1984, but it can only issue a "Certificate of Record" for those years.
Requesting a Certified California Divorce Document
Certified divorce records can be obtained only through the Superior Court in the county which the divorce was filed. To request a certified copy, you must contact the specific county Superior Court office directly. To find a specific county Superior Court, go to the directory of California Superior Courts website.
Who Can Obtain California Divorce Records?
In California, authorized copies of vital records are only available to the individuals named on the record, their legal representatives, and certain and individuals specified by state law.