Marriage is the union of two people, but despite this, several marriages break down. In recent times, the incidents of divorces have really shot up in the US. In fact, according to statistics, 1 out of every 3 marriages is today ending in the partners wanting to go their own separate ways. This adds up to over million broken marriages in a year. But no matter how many of few divorces there are, the US states are legally obligated to maintain each and every divorce record, because this is a part of the vital records that are in the public domain.
Thus, whenever there is a divorce, there is an official filing of the event. Then the divorce runs its legal course until the final decree is given. The central database is updated with the details. These records are maintained for both government reference and for the public.
Maryland has been maintaining divorce records since January 1, 1992. This is quite recent as compared to most other states in the country. Since the information is in the public domain, you can ask for the record of a person's divorce with some restrictions. If you want to access the records of a divorce that happened before 1992, you must contact the Clerk in the Superior court, in the county, where the divorce was granted.
Divorce records serve as a prerequisite for a person who wants to remarry. It proves that he or she has legally separated from his or her ex-spouse and is eligible to get married again. In the past, obtaining the record used to be an arduous task, but today, it can be obtained easily.
To access divorce records, you need to submit your application to the government agencies which maintain these records. You can either visit the office directly to submit the application, or you can also mail it to them.
To access records in Maryland, you need to contact the following office:
Division of Vital Records,
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
6550 Reisterstown Rd.
Fax Number: (410) 358-0738
You need to pay a fee to get the divorce record. Different offices charge different fee. The fee can also vary from one instance to another. It depends on the type of request that you are making, and the information (how much details) you have provided in your application. For instance, if you have mentioned all the necessary information which is needed to search for the record, you will be charged less. But if you are unable to provide accurate information, the job of the officials becomes more difficult, and so, you will be charged more.
You need to send check or money order with your application. The amount is payable to the Department of Vital Records. However, the Department of Vital Records will not offer support for genealogical studies. For this, you need to apply to the following office:
State of Maryland Archives
350 Rowe Blvd.
Phone Number: (410) 260-6400/(800) 235-4045
Fax Number: (410) 974-2525
Although divorce records are in the public domain, there is also the right to privacy of the divorced person in question. Thus, it is not possible to obtain the entire information about the divorce. For instance, you cannot know the grounds of divorce, details of the settlement like the asset and liability sharing, child custody, alimony and others like this. However, you can find out if the person is divorced or not and the date.
To request Maryland divorce decrees, follow these instructions:
Download the Verification of Divorce Record application.
Complete the application and include the full name of husband and wife, date of divorce, place of divorce, and reason of divorce, if known.
Mail the completed application, along with a copy of your valid government issued ID to the address below. Include a check or money order for $12.
If you need further assistance, contact the following department:
State Of Maryland
Division of Vital Records
PO Box 68760
Baltimore, MD 21215
About Maryland Divorce Records
In Maryland, all original divorce records are kept and maintained with the Circuit Courts in the county the divorce was filed. Any person wishing to obtain a certified copy of a divorce decree must contact the county Circuit Court and request it directly. The Maryland Vital Statistics Administration does keep state divorce records, but only a verification of each record as provided by the county Circuit Courts.
Restrictions for Maryland Divorce Records
Maryland state laws prevent the release of private divorce decree information except to those listed on the divorce, an assigned representative of the ex-husband or ex-wife, or an attorney representing the ex-husband or ex-wife.
Maryland Divorce Verifications
Maryland Vital Statistics Administration does not provide a certified copy of a divorce decree. Instead, the office will provide a verification of a divorce with the names, date, and place divorce was filed. Verification of divorce is provided only to authorized individuals.