When looking for divorce records, Texas like many other states, makes the public document search quite simple.
In fact, anyone can do a free public records search right now for Texas divorce records using the search feature at the top of this page.
This search will be able to uncover any divorce records that are available to the public.
Besides using a background check service, there are a few other methods individuals can try to find divorce records.
Divorce records and other cases that are filed in civil court have confusing laws when it comes to what is publicly available and what is automatically sealed so individuals should familiarize themselves with their state laws to get a better idea of what is available.
Divorce Records: Texas Storage
Unlike criminal records, with divorce records Texas can be fairly difficult to get access to and in many cases they can only be accessed by the individuals named in the divorce as well as their legal representation. This may come as a surprise to many people who have heard that divorce records are considered public information in Texas.
While this is technically true, it does not always result in the records actually being accessible to the public.
The reason for this has to do with the specific documents that are part of a divorce record. At a minimum there will be two different documents that can be viewed as divorce records: the divorce decree and the divorce certificate. In many cases there may also be pages of documents involving the legal proceedings, especially if the divorce was somewhat complicated such as those involving children or high-valued assets, but every divorce will have a certificate and a decree at the end of it.
Divorce Decree vs Divorce Certificate
A divorce decree and divorce certificate are two different documents, although many people will use these two terms interchangeably, they serve a different purpose and the records are usually kept in different places.
The Texas Department of State Health Services Division explains that TX vital records, including divorce and marriage records are available, but having the certificated copy of a divorce decree is essential for all official purposes.
A divorce decree is a document that will have much of the information that individuals would expect from divorce records. The decree is also called a Judgment of Dissolution in certain states and is generally considered the most important divorce document.1 During divorce proceedings as assets are divided, custody rights negotiated and alimony discussed, all of the final decisions for these issues will end up on the divorce decree.
This will act as the record of the divorce settlement and all the related issues. At the end of the divorce proceedings, once all of the details are agreed upon by both parties, the judge will sign the divorce decree which will officially end the marriage from a legal perspective. After this, copies will be given to both couples so that they can cite them later if there is an issue involving assets, visitation of children, etc.
On the other hand a divorce certificate is a much more single-purpose document. While the divorce decree is the legal record of the divorce, the divorce certificate is the vital record of the divorce. This document only serves as proof that the couple is now legally divorced for census purposes, tax purposes and other similar matters.
The divorce decree is a court document and thus will usually be held by the civil court where the divorce was filed.2 The divorce certificate is held by the vital records office in the state.
Texas courts keep the official divorce records in the state.
In Texas, the state vital records are held and maintained by the Texas Department of State Health Services.3
Obtaining Texas Divorce Certificate
Individuals hoping to get their hands on the divorce records Texas of someone other than themselves may think it will be an easy task since Texas court records are public. Unfortunately, obtaining any kind of divorce records, whether it is the divorce decree or divorce certificate is fairly difficult.
The State Department health services site offers online forms for requesting official copies of a marriage or divorce record in Texas.
The first issue individuals will run into is if they are simply trying to confirm that someone is divorced and are attempting to get a copy of the divorce certificate. Like all vital records such as birth certificates, death certificates, and marriage records, vital records do not fall under the freedom of information act.4
In general only the individual themselves, immediate family members (usually spouses, siblings, children, and parents), and sometimes legal representatives will be able to access these records. For most individuals this makes obtaining a marriage certificate impossible without a court order, which will not be granted to someone that is simply curious.
Obtaining a Divorce Decree Texas
Obtaining a divorce decree may seem like the easier option but getting your hands on court divorce records will have its own set of issues. Although court records, including those filed in civil court, are technically public records, this rarely happens with divorce records. This is largely due to the fact that much of the information in the divorce decree is private information.
Divorce decrees will include all necessary information on custody and the couples asset division. Not only will the decree include a complete list of all the assets the individuals own but it may also include testimonies and affidavits involving personal family matters that result from the negotiations over child custody, child support, and visitation. All of the information that led to the decision of which parent will have full custody is included and most individuals will not want this to be part of the public record.
Since divorce cases almost always include private information, divorce decrees are often sealed automatically to help protect those involved. Even in cases where the decree is not automatically sealed, it is extremely easy to petition to have the record sealed.
Once the record is sealed it will no longer be available to the public. Only the individuals involved in the divorce such as the couple themselves, children, and the legal representation of both parties will be able to access these records.
This can be a frustrating situation for individuals who may be wanting to run a background check on someone they suspect has been divorced before. However, there are still a few different methods that individuals can try to see if any information is available.
How Do I Find Divorce Records for Free in Texas?
When it comes to how do I find divorce records for free in Texas? Individuals will have a few different options that they can try to see if there are any records available.
For verification letters for divorce records, Texas doesn’t consider these documents proof, and requires a verified copy of a marriage or divorce certificate.
The first free method is also the quickest. Individuals can use the search bar at the top of this page to perform a free public record search on any name that they choose to enter.
With so many different factors to consider, sometimes individuals can be paralyzed by choice and not know which kind of records to check for first. This search is the perfect solution as it will check tons of databases simultaneously, making it a great first step for individuals who are trying to find any information possible.
There is also the option to hire a private background check service to perform a thorough background check on the individual. Those who are interested in simply whether or not a person was divorced may find this method useful.
Although the divorce records themselves may be hard to find, there is usually plenty of other information available that individuals can use to discern if a divorce took place. Social media background check can be particularly effective for this. Keep in mind that most background check services will charge a subscription fee but there are several that offer free trials that individuals can take advantage of if they are only performing one search.
Free Public Marriage Records Texas
Some individuals might be interested in finding free public marriage records in Texas. Unfortunately obtaining marriage records on someone other than yourself in the state poses similar issues to obtaining divorce records.
Generally, marriage records are only held by the vital records office. However, unlike other vital records, marriage records are usually considered public unless the couple chose to have the records sealed.
Although they are technically public, only the plain copy of the marriage certificate will be available. Certified copies of the records are only available to the parties named on the certificate.
Since they are more commonly public records, marriage records are far more likely to appear on background checks compared to divorce records Texas.
Texas Premarital Background Check
These days, with so many individuals meeting each other through the internet, many individuals will want to perform a premarital background check on a potential romantic partner. However, the world of background checks can seem fairly intimidating and many individuals will even be concerned if what they are doing is illegal.
Performing a background check on someone else is completely legal, even if the individual is completely unaware of the check taking place. The only exception to this is if the individual’s social security number is used to perform the check. Certain background check services that are FCRA approved can use an individual’s SSN to perform additional checks, such as a full credit history check.5, 6, 7
However, in order to do this the agency is legally required to obtain the individual’s written consent to use their SSN. Forging a signature or using another individual’s SSN without them knowing is considered identity fraud and is a federal offense.8
However, most background check agencies will not ask for a SSN and will only perform a public records check on the individual whose name was entered. Since all of the databases being searched are public then the entire process is completely legal and the individual who is being searched does not need to be notified.
When it comes to what information will appear on most premarital background checks, individuals should expect to find the following information at a minimum:
- Criminal History Information (arrests, charges, convictions, etc.)
- Information from Civil court cases
- Public tax information (debts, certain tax records)
- Previous Addresses
- Social media profiles
Due to how thorough the checks are, since so many databases are available online, paying for a private background check is usually the best option to learn as much information as possible. However, individuals who require official certified copies of the records will need to request the records through the court where the case was filed.
Those looking for specific information will also have the option of going straight to the source and avoiding private background check services entirely. To do this, individuals will need to know the previous addresses of the individual that they wish to search.
Simply access the website of the local court and perform a name based search of the court criminal records to find any information matching that individual’s name. In certain cases it may be necessary to contact the court clerk directly, especially if the court does not have a searchable database available online. Most county court clerks will be able to take records requests over the phone, online, or in person.
How To Find Out if Someone Is Divorced in Texas
Many individuals who are uninterested in the official documents and are wondering How to find out if someone is divorced for free may be overwhelmed by the different options. Performing a background check on the individual is by far the most reliable way to find out if someone is divorced. Even if official court records are unavailable, evidence that the individual was divorced may still show up on a background check in the form of a name change, or information found on their social media profiles.
How Do I Get a Copy of My Divorce Decree?
Although obtaining the divorce records of other individuals is fairly difficult, when it comes to How do I get a copy of my divorce decree? The answer is quite simple. Individuals who are named in the divorce decree can easily request the records from the court where the divorce was filed.
In most cases the individual will make the request as normal and will need to provide identification to prove that they are one of the individuals named on the divorce decree.
Are Divorce Records Public in Texas?
So, are divorce records public in Texas? The answer is somewhat confusing but technically divorce records are considered public. However, the records are almost always sealed immediately which means they are never actually available to the public in most cases.
What Does a Divorce Decree Look Like in Texas?
Some individuals that are trying to find their own divorce decree will be wondering what does a divorce decree look like?
Divorce decrees tend to look like most other legal documents. Generally the court will be named at the top of the page, as well as both plaintiffs and the case number. Beneath the basic identifying information the form will usually have complaint for Divorce or a similar phrase near the top as well.
The rest of the document will include information related to the case such as asset division and custody agreement information.
How Long To Keep Divorce Papers?
For plenty of people, divorce records can serve as a painful memory which leads many people in Texas to ask, How long to keep divorce papers?
Most lawyers and other legal experts will recommend that individuals keep divorce records and any other legal documents forever. Divorce decrees in particular are required for various legal purposes such as taxes or if the individual wants to get married again. Although it is possible to request these documents from the court, this may take time and individuals will need to pay a copying fee, so it is usually easier to simply file the records somewhere safe.
Check Status of Divorce Filing in Texas
Individuals hoping to check status of a divorce filing in Texas will need to contact the court where the divorce was finalized to check the status.
The Texas State Law Library outlines how to file for divorce in Texas without using an attorney.
It is also possible to check for divorce filing records through the vital records office.
How To Find Divorce Records Online for Free
When it comes to how to find divorce records online for free, there are two reliable methods available. The first is performing a free public records search using the search bar at the top of this page. Another option is to find a background check service that offers a free trial.
Keep in mind that even though these are the most reliable methods available, divorce records are rarely accessible to the public. In many cases the divorce records may not show up on a background check at all and even if they do appear, it is possible the individual will not be able to request certified copies of the documents.
Can I Get a Copy of My Divorce Decree Online in Texas?
Individuals who were divorced in Texas but now live out of state will likely be wondering: Can I get a copy of my divorce decree online in Texas? Obtaining a copy of your divorce decree online is fairly easy in most cases.
Individuals should be able to access the website of the court where the divorce was filed using the Texas Courts website.9
Judicial records can be requested by the certification commission, but requests regarding guardianship are confidential.
Simply find the specific court and use the individual’s name to find the necessary documents and request certified copies. Keep in mind that a fee is required to obtain certified copies of legal documents in most cases.
Divorce Records Texas
When it comes to obtaining divorce records Texas, there are a lot of different factors to consider if the individual is not a party to the divorce they are seeking the documents for. As mentioned, performing a background check on the individual is usually the best first step that individuals can take as it will give individuals a good idea of what documents are available if any.
How Do I Get a Copy of My Divorce Decree Online?
If you’re asking, how do I get a copy of my divorce decree online in Texas, the best way to get a copy of your divorce decree online is to access the website of the court where the divorce was filed. Most courts have online record databases that individuals can search to find their records. Individuals can also request certified copies of the records through the website.
Getting divorced is extremely stressful and many individuals will have likely disposed of many of their divorce records only to find out that they still need them. Luckily, requesting divorce records Texas is fairly easy for the parties named in the court records of the divorce.
Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce Records Texas