How Do I Find Out if I’m Divorced?

This question was posited by one of our visitors.  It is an excellent question with many potential responses:

If you’re a man, look around your kitchen area.  If you see mostly pizza boxes and plastic microwave dinner trays, or if your “guest” towels have hotel names on them, you might be divorced.

If you’re a woman, if your home is suddenly spotless, and you know where the TV remote is, you might be divorced.

You get the idea.

All kidding aside, last week’s call was typical.  Our visitor wanted to search the national divorce database.

There isn’t one.

But there are quite a few state and local resources that will help, and our directory can point you to the court sites that where you may search “Family Court” records for divorce filings and many have options for downloading or ordering document copies.

Divorce records are usually filed at a civil court in most counties.  It could be a superior, district, or circuit court, depending on the court structure in the state.  Some county courts have a family law division that handles divorces, paternity, and child custody matters.  Keep in mind that not every county provides divorce records online.

Some states (e.g. Kansas) provide a statewide vital records office where you can obtain divorce records from any county in the state.  Other states will do a statewide search for you to verify a divorce, but will not provide copies of the documents.

Then there are difficult states like New York, where divorce records are sealed for 100 years, unless you are one of the spouses, OR you have a NY State Court Order allowing you access to the divorce record.  Check out the New York State Department of Health for more details.

Alaska makes divorce certificates available 50 years after the divorce date, but in the meantime you can access court records to at least see evidence of a divorce filing.

When starting your search, it helps to figure out what each state offers in the divorce record area.  We feel that our divorce records directory page is a logical starting point.

Or you could look outside your window and see how many cars are in the driveway.