The short answer to this question is: it depends. That is why you will benefit from getting more information on the accessibility of divorce records before you go on and search for the document or documents which you need. This short guide is designed to help you with this.
The Status of Divorce Records
In general, these are public records. When a couple gets divorce, they receive a divorce certificate from the court. This document is kept on record practically infinitely. However, under the current legal system, it is possible for the two parties involves in the divorce process to request the court records to be sealed. Then a judge has to decide whether to grant a permission for this. In case permission is grated, the records become sealed and cannot be accessed by the public. It is worth noting that the number of such cases is quite low.
Measures for Protection
Even though divorce records are public, the ones kept in the databases of courts, clerk’s offices and other institutions cannot be accessed directly by people. You cannot search online databases or be given a copy of the documents without identifying yourself first. This is a basic measure for protection and all institutions adhere to it strictly. What you have to do is to provide general information about you such as name and address and a copy of your ID or driver’s license. If you decide to use a service specialized in public record search, you will be asked for the same details.
You should also know that some very old divorce records which are considered historic documents or ones from celebrity cases may be available on various websites. This gives you the opportunity to access them directly. These are copies, of course, but you will receive the information which you require.
The Best Course of Action
It is up to you to decide on the right way to search divorce records. When you decide to get copies of the required documents from an institution, you will have to put a little bit of extra effort. The alternative option, which is using a specialized service, can save you hassle, but you will most certainly have to pay more than you would if you use a database maintained by the administrative or legal authorities.
One last thing to keep in mind is that while any member of the public can get a copy of any document found in the divorce records, only the people who the document has been issued for can request a certified copy.