Managing Divorce Records

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Divorce records provide documented information that a person is legally divorced. By accessing divorce records, a person is able to find out when and where divorce filings were made as well as the names of the spouses involved and case numbers. Divorce records also indicate if domestic violence was present – revealing restraining orders, child custody, property and other divorce settlement resolutions.

Divorce records are stored at the state and county levels. Many states offer a way of obtaining a copy of your divorce records, but you must know where to request them. In California, residents can contact the Department of Health Service’s Office of Vital Records to request a copy of their divorce records. Many states have few records earlier than dates listed or are limited by non-computerized methods, limited personnel or other situations that can delay the time it takes to receive divorce records.

Amount of Time a Divorce Can Take

Due to budgetary constraints in California, the Center for Health Statistics Web site says processing time can be delayed for up to two to three years. But divorce records can also be obtained by contacting the Superior Court in the county where the divorce was filed. A certified copy of the actual divorce decree is provided by the Superior Court.

A California Certificate of Dissolution of Marriage Request can only be issued by the Center for Health Statistics for divorces that occurred between 1962 and June 1984. A Certificate of Record includes the names of the parties to the divorce, the county where the divorce was filed and the court case number. The Certificate of Record is not the same as a certified copy of the divorce decree. When unable to identify the county where the divorce was filed, a request for a Certificate of Record (1962 through June 1984 only) can be submitted to the Center for Health Statistics for processing, which, as stated earlier, can be delayed for two to three years.

Certificate of Record

Using the Application for Certified Copy of Marriage or Divorce Record, processing requests can occur faster and more accurately. Included on the form is information for the name of the husband as it appears on the divorce record, the full name of the wife as it appears on the divorce record, and the date of divorce and country of divorce. There is a $13 fee for a Certificate of Record, which must be sent as a check or money order to the Office of Vital Records, along with the information to the California Department of Health Services.

Because the California Office of Vital Records does not have a public counter where customers can visit the office, requests for divorce records can only be submitted through the mail and questions answered by calling the Customer Service Unit.

Contact our San Diego family law attorneys.