It might be essential to run a background check before you are getting married. The fact is, the instances of divorce have never been more in the country. It is much the same in Massachusetts. Perhaps you are OK with marrying someone who has been married and divorced before. It might not be an issue at all. But you will still need to know what the truth is. After all, the truth shouldn't be concealed from you. It is advisable to be sure that he/she is legally divorced before you actually walk the aisle. Remember, there could be legal problems for you if you marry someone who isn't legally divorced yet.
The state too recognizes this as your right, and wants to help you find out the truth.
In Massachusetts, just like in the other US states, divorce records are in the public domain. However, any financial information contained in the more recent files is regarded as private. It is only available to the two parties involved in the divorce or to the designated legal personnel.
The Massachusetts State office has the most recent divorce records. The Massachusetts Department of Health contains records from 1921 till currently. Their contact address is:
Registry of Vital records and Statistics
150, Mount Vernon Street, 1st floor,
Dorchester, MA 02125-3105
Records prior to 1921 are stored at the Massachusetts State Archives. The contact address is:
The Massachusetts Archives at Columbia Point
220 Morrissey Boulevard
Boston, MA 02125
To order the Massachusetts divorce decree, you need to fill out an application form. All fields need to be filled out correctly. Include the name of the spouses, the date and county where the divorce had occurred, your relationship with the parties mentioned in the record, and why you want to get the information. Please ensure that a valid photo ID stating your exact name and current address is provided. Your request will not be processed if you cannot furnish any information or the supporting document.
You are also requested to sign the application form. If you forget to sign the form, it is deemed incomplete, and your request gets cancelled automatically.
You will need to give a nominal fee for the search service. You need to send a check or money-order, along with the application form.
To get a certified copy of the Massachusetts divorce decree, you must submit proof of your relationship with the divorced person. Remember, it cannot be given to anyone who wants it, for whatever reason. It is issued to one of the two people involved or both; their legal representatives; to direct relatives like parents, siblings, children, grandparents or current spouses. So, you can get the record if you are one of them. However, there are certain exceptions to this.
The divorce record contains vital information, but all of it is not available to you. The information is protected under the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) because the state recognizes the right to privacy. So you can get information about the divorce. But you cannot know about the details such as the reason, settlements such as child custody, alimony, division of asset and liabilities.
To request Massachusetts divorce decrees, follow these instructions:
Determine which county the divorce took place. Massachusetts certified divorce records can only be requested directly from the probate the divorce was filed.
Go to the state website for the Massachusetts court system.
Contact the probate and family court directly and find out the proper county procedure and identification necessary for requesting a certified divorce certificate.
For other questions about Massachusetts vital records, go to:
Where to Find Massachusetts Divorce Records
Divorce decrees in Massachusetts are maintained in the Probate and Family Courts in the county where the petitioner files the divorce. While the Massachusetts Vital Registry keeps only an index of each divorce and can only verify whether a divorce did or did not take place, certified copies of divorce decrees can only be requested directly from the probate courts.
Massachusetts Restrictions on Divorce Records
Not everyone may request a certified divorce record, or even a verification from the state Registry office. Massachusetts does have laws restricting certain records from public access. Anyone requesting a divorce record should be prepared to state their relationship to the parties on the document and show a valid identification.
State Registry Divorce Index Records
The Massachusetts Health and Human Services Registry of Vital Records did begin maintaining an index of all state divorces since 1952. However, the state index can only verify that a divorce took place.