We’re used to finding information online in seconds, but can you just search the web and find divorce records? Things are not as simple because all vital records including divorce certificates are official documents and even though they are available to the general public, they are usually not offered directly on the web. Still, there are online databases available. Here you will get useful details on how far back they go. This will certainly help you a lot in your search.
Official Records vs. General Websites
Clerk’s offices and courts keep official databases of divorce records and many have the most recent ones accessible online, after the granting of permission of course. The different institutions keep records on the web for different periods of time, depending on factors like local regulations, budget, facilities and so on. In general, you should expect the online records to go back at least 10 years. In some cases, however, you may be able to find documents only for the past five years on the web.
In some cases, copies of divorce records are published directly online. There are websites which contain databases or which are designed to send you to the place on the web where the copy which you are searching for is. Usually, when a copy of a document is posted on a general website, it can remain there indefinitely. This is certainly good news, but you have to keep in mind that the majority of freely published divorce certificates online are very old and have primarily genealogic and historic value or are from high-profile cases which the public has been following.
Where Archives Are Kept
Most institutions responsible for keeping divorce records don’t have online archives. This is because they are way too big and the cost of keeping them on the web is way too high. Still, it always pays off to check just to be on the safe side. Even though the records may not be online, they are most certainly in an electronic database which means that the search will take a fairly short time to complete, especially if you have the case number or the names of the spouses at least. The more accurate your information about the time of the divorce is, the better.
Even though the online databases containing divorce records don’t go very far back at the moment, this is highly likely to change as technology advances. Perhaps in the future we will be able to access any document with just one click.