Are divorce records public in New York? It depends.
Like many states, there are a lot of different laws to consider when trying to obtain divorce records from various state agencies. Yet, besides getting records from official sources, there are also ways to search NY Divorces for free.
When someone needs to learn how to find my divorce date online for free, they can easily use an online tool that searches divorce records across the country swiftly.
This guide outlines the manual process for finding divorce records in New York and explains how to search NY divorces free using court and vital records.
Are Divorce Records Public in NY? (Are Divorce Records Public in New York State?)
Divorce records are somewhat public in NY. The main issue with NY divorce records, as well as divorce records in many states, is what agency is in charge of them. As opposed to criminal records which are usually held by the court that heard the criminal case, divorce records are held in two different places.
Which agency should be contacted to obtain divorce records will depend on who is requesting the records as well as what kind of records are requested, which will depend on what they are being used for.
The first place that NY divorce records are held is in the court that issued the divorce judgment.
Any court record that has not been sealed will be publicly available since a judge must sign a Judgment of divorce for a divorce to be made official, then there should be a record of it with the courts. However, simply requesting these records is not always as easy as it seems.
When a divorce goes through the courts, there are numerous records of the divorce. If there was a divorce litigation there will be records of this, and possibly any agreements made outside of the courtroom with a third-party mediator.
Unfortunately the vast majority of this information will be considered confidential. Unlike criminal proceedings, divorce records in the state of NY are automatically sealed from the public. When this happens only the individuals involved, their lawyers and sometimes their children will be able to request these records.
However there is one exception: The Judgment of Divorce itself.1
Many people who wonder, are divorce records public in New York, are simply trying to find out if a divorce took place, and will not need official documents.
The divorce judgment is arguably the most important document during the divorce process as it not only makes the divorce official, it also lays out the exact terms of the divorce such as child support, asset and debt division, and the date the divorce was finalized.
In general, getting a copy of this form will not be possible unless the requester is one of those named in the divorce decree, however the public will be able to see the judgment date and at least know that a divorce took place and what date it was made official.
The other place that divorce records are kept is with the state vital records office. The records kept with the vital records office will be different from court records. Rather than a divorce decree, the vital records office will have a divorce certificate. This will only have information that a divorce took place and name those involved.
Basically divorce vital records are kept for census purposes rather than legal purposes.
Vital records will also have many of the same rules as court divorce records. Generally, the public will not have access to vital records besides their own. The same is true for divorce in which only the individuals named in the divorce and their adult children are allowed to obtain copies of the records.
Where To Find Public Divorce Records NY
Those who ask, are divorce records public, are maybe hoping to request copies of these records. Public divorce records can be found at either the state vital records office or the court where the divorce was filed. Individuals who are seeking a copy of their own divorce records can go to either of these sources, depending on the documents they are looking for.
A simple option to find divorce records is to perform a free background check using an online background check service or by using the search bar at the top of this page. This will return any public information found on an individual in a matter of minutes.
Individuals who are not related to either party of the divorce will not be able to request any of the divorce records without a court order, which will require a legitimate reason and be signed off by a judge.
As mentioned, individuals who are trying to figure out simply if someone is divorced or not will be able to see the judgment of divorce through court records. This is a fairly easy process and involves going through the state or local court system and making a records request.
To do this, simply access the website of the court where the divorce was filed through the list below.
Public Divorce Records Lookup in New York
Both state and local courts may have these records so it may be necessary to check both. It is usually worthwhile to contact the clerk of courts to learn if the records being sought are held at the state or local level.
Where To Find Public Marriage Records in NY
The same laws that make divorce records hard to obtain generally apply to marriage records. Once again the records will be available in the court system so that at the very least, individuals will be able to figure out if someone is married. Use the list below to search the state and county court systems for marriage records.
How To Find Out If Someone Filed for Divorce in New York
Many individuals will likely try to check vital records to see if someone is divorced. However vital records are not considered public information so gaining access to someone’s divorce, marriage or even birth records this way will be almost impossible. Instead, individuals should use the court records which are required to be available to the public by law per the Freedom of Information Act.3
This means that not just divorce and marriage records are available but also criminal, and other public records, which can be searched online using the clerk of courts website.
County online records can be found at the clerk’s office as well.
Criminal records are generally held at the county court where the case was filed and can be found using the list below.
Performing an online search is likely the fastest option to obtain court records but contacting the county court clerk directly is also a great option to learn more information.
Obviously, courts will hear a lot more cases than just criminal cases and divorce proceedings. Unless the case involves an active investigation then it should be publicly available. Information on civil cases and even some family cases will be available for request and can be searched using the links below.
Other Searchable Records In NY (Are Divorce Records Public in New York?)
Besides court records, a few other agencies will house records that are available to the public. Things like property records, deed records as well as lien and tax records are all available online by request.
Replacement Birth Certificate NY
Although when it comes to, are divorce records public in New York, the vital records office is not the best option, for other documents the vital records office will be the only option. Perhaps you want to know how to find someone’s birthday birth date? These records are also available if someone knows where to look.
If a replacement birth certificate is needed, there are several possible agencies which may be able to get this document. What agency it is will vary based on the city and county so the first thing to do is to contact the local or state vital records office for more information. The vital records office will be able to either help individuals obtain a replacement birth certificate or at least point them toward the agency that can provide it.
Use the list below to contact the vital records office.
Filing for Divorce in New York
Filing for divorce can be an extremely complicated process. Besides contacting an attorney for legal advice regarding the divorce, another early step is to fill out a divorce application with the state of New York. This will be one of the first steps in the long divorce process as the case goes through the state courts.
Use the list below to find the necessary divorce documents that will need to be submitted to the courts. It is always important to consult with a lawyer before filling out the form but getting a look at the form will help individuals know what to expect.
Divorce in New York Laws
Divorce laws vary from state to state so individuals should familiarize themselves with the local law. One of the laws to be aware of, especially if the couple recently moved to New York, is that one of the spouses needs to have lived in New York for at least one year in order for the case to be tried in the state of New York.
Other information about common questions regarding Are divorce records public in New York can be found on the NY courts website.2
Divorce is stressful and being unable to locate important documents after the divorce is finalized can make things even worse. Luckily, even though the answer to the question “are divorce records public in New York?” can be tricky to navigate, there are ways for those involved to easily get the necessary documents.
Frequently Asked Questions About Are Divorce Records Public in New York?