Divorce records in the state of Pennsylvania have been maintained since 1804. It is at the Prothonotary's Office at the county where the couple asked for a divorce. Often, the local newspapers publish notices of divorce; so, if you know the date (at least the approximate date), then you can search the newspapers of that time to find some information.
These days, a lot of couples are going their own separate ways. But it was not like this always. The state once tried to prevent divorces, and the court was not allowed, as well. In 1773, a law was passed that directed all divorce pleas to be submitted to the Legislature. However, whatever it is, the divorce records are still maintained by the court. The courts in Pennsylvania have these details in great detail for the last 50 years or so. You might not get all the details of a divorce that happened before that, but you can at least expect to receive some information. It is rare that your search will come up with absolutely nothing.
The divorce record may be required for several reasons. If it is your own divorce, then you may want to keep the decree in the file. It is best to get a confirmation that the person is actually divorced, particularly when you know that he/she was married before. Sometimes even employers check this record.
In many states, it is the Division of Vital Records that maintains the divorce records. But that is not the case in Pennsylvania. The department just maintains death and birth records in Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, the divorce records are all maintained at the respective court in the county that the case was filed. To get a divorce decree in the state, you must send your application to the Prothonotary.
Remember these steps when you are trying to access divorce records in Pennsylvania.
Step 1: First, you must know the county's name where the divorce case was filed. You should always approach the exact county courthouse that granted the divorce.
Step 2: Get in touch with Prothonotary at the courthouse and learn about the procedures for getting the certified copy of the divorce decree.
Step 3: Prepare your application accordingly, and send it over to get the record.
p (610) 891-4370
p (570) 825-1672
p (610) 278-3411
p (724) 830-3000
p (717) 771-9288
To make a request for a Pennsylvania divorce record, follow the instructions below:
The first step is determining the county where the divorce is filed. All requests for certified copies must go directly to the county courthouse.
Find a contact for the county courthouse where you will place your request. A list of courthouse contacts can be found on the Pennsylvania Department of Health website.
Contact the Prothonotary of the courthouse and inquire their procedures and information necessary for obtaining a certified copy of a divorce decree.
More information can be found at:
Where to Find Pennsylvania Divorce Records
In Pennsylvania, the state Division of Vital Records maintains only birth and death records, and not divorce information. All divorce record information is maintained at the courthouse in the county where the divorce was filed and finalized.
Where to Request a Certified Pennsylvania Divorce Record
Anyone wishing to obtain a certified copy of a divorce decree must contact the courthouse in the county seat where the divorce was filed. All requests should be directed to the Prothonotary.
Why Obtain a Divorce Record?
A copy of a divorce decree may be necessary to keep on file as a party to the divorce. Information on a divorce may be helpful to a future spouse, or even an employer, and especially as an official record for genealogical research.