Free Harris County Divorce Records Search: See Texas Divorce Records Free

Background check repair icon.Written by Background Check Repair

Background Checks | June 7, 2024

Harris county divorce records showing on a computer screen with Harris county Texas on the right with a magnifying glass showing how to lookup divorce records in Harris county Texas.

Individuals that live in Houston, Texas may be wondering if there is a free Harris County divorce records search platform.

However, before obtaining Texas Divorce records for free, individuals should first familiarize themselves with the state laws regarding vital records and who can obtain them in TX.

Unfortunately, this process is slightly more confusing than obtaining criminal records in Texas, but understanding what records are kept by which agencies can be a huge help for individuals trying to get a copy of a divorce decree.

There are a couple of ways to find free Harris County divorce records. The first (and easiest) is to use this free public records search tool. This is perfect for finding out if someone is divorced.

To get a certified copy of a divorce decree or certificate, the following guide provides step by step methods for finding Harris county public records.

Harris County Divorce Records (How To Search Texas Divorce Records)

Many individuals looking for Harris County divorce records will be surprised that they are far more difficult to obtain than most public records. Although divorce records are considered public in most states, including Texas, it can still be extremely difficult to locate the records and even harder to get copies of the records.

Before setting out to request divorce records, individuals should first identify what kind of records they need as there are multiple different kinds of divorce records that are used for different purposes. In general, there are two different kinds of divorce records that individuals can request: The divorce decree and the divorce certificate.

The divorce decree is what most individuals will want to get their hands on as it will have far more information on it than the divorce certificate, but what is a divorce decree? When a couple files for divorce there will usually be a divorce hearing in family court. This hearing is where things like child custody, asset division, debt division, and child support will be decided between the two parties.

Once all of the details have been agreed upon, the judge will sign the divorce decree making the divorce official. Once this is done, both parties will be given a copy of the divorce decree which contains all of the important information relating to the divorce.

The divorce decree will contain all of the information listed above, such as how much child support is owed by one of the individuals as well as which assets belong to which individual. The decree will also the date of the divorce and other important information that confirms the divorce.

On the other hand, the divorce certificate will have far less information. The divorce certificate is essentially a document that states that the divorce took place. While the divorce decree is a legal document that contains personal information and details of the divorce, the certificate is mainly used for census purposes.

These two documents are also held in different places. Since the divorce decree is essentially a court document, it will only be held in the court where the divorce was filed. Whereas the divorce certificate will be held by the state vital records office, alongside birth, death, and marriage records.

Harris County Public Records

To obtain either the divorce certificate or divorce decree, individuals will need to rely on Harris County public records, specifically family court records and vital records. However, this is not as simple as it sounds. Both of these records are often difficult to obtain as they are only available to the individuals listed on the documents as well as their legal representation.

Vital records in Texas can only be requested by the individual named on the records, which means the general public can not request divorce certificates from other individuals. On the other hand, Texas court records are technically public, but there are other factors at play when it comes to family court records that make these records difficult to obtain.

Harris County Family Court Records

Although many states will have individuals file for divorce in civil court, Texas has what is known as Family court which oversees legal matters like child custody, divorces, certain domestic violence cases, etc.1

Although the freedom of information act makes all court records public information by default, this does not mean that Texas family court records are easily obtainable.2 Texas law allows judges overseeing family and civil cases to seal records if the potential damage to the individuals outweighs the potential benefit of the public having access to the records.

Since the vast majority of family cases will not concern the general public, judges will often seal these records immediately in order to protect the privacy of those involved. This is especially true for divorce records.

In short, although divorce records from the family court are technically public, they are rarely accessible to the public the same way other court records are. Sealed records are only accessible to the individuals involved in the case and their legal representation. Anyone else that wishes to see the records will need a court order to obtain them.

Are Divorce Records Public in Texas?

So, are divorce records public in Harris County, TX? The answer is somewhat confusing.

Although official divorce records are public, they are usually not actually accessible to the public very easily, especially if children were involved in the dispute.

Divorce decrees in particular will contain tons of personal information that should not be public. Not only will these documents often contain a detailed list of assets and debts belonging to the couple, but they might also contain testimony and affidavits relating to the personal lives of the individual as well as their children. Even when divorce records are still public and have not been sealed, much of this personal information will only be available to the parties involved in the divorce.

As mentioned earlier, divorce vital records are also only available to the parties involved. However, individuals who are only trying to confirm or deny that someone was officially divorced do still have options available. Texas and many other states allow the general public to request divorce verification records.

This is basically a letter from the vital records office that will state if divorce records match the name of the individual existence. Although the public can’t get their hands on any details of the divorce, they can at least find out if it happened at all.

What Does a Divorce Decree Look Like?

Many individuals who have lost their divorce decree might be wondering: what a divorce decree look like? A divorce decree looks like almost any other legal document. Generally, the decree will state “dissolution of marriage,” or a similar phrase at the top as well as information regarding the court, date, judge, and plaintiffs involved.

Beyond the heading, the document will contain the items listed above such as assets, custody agreements, child support, etc. The document is usually several pages long.

How Long To Keep Divorce Papers?

When it comes to how long should you keep divorce papers, many individuals will want to get rid of all divorce documents as soon as possible but this is not always a good idea. Most lawyers recommend individuals keep court records forever, or at least for several years.

Screenshot of Information Governance and Records Management for Harris County with yellow arrow on how long does Harris County keep records for domestic mediation.

Records management structures vary from district to district and state to state, so when looking for Harris County records, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the description and titles.

Divorce records in particular are used somewhat often after the divorce has been finalized. There will be numerous financial documents that recently divorced individuals will need to change and a divorce decree is often required to do so. Although having a reminder of a painful divorce may not be ideal, it is likely that the records will be needed at some point and requesting copies of the records from the court can potentially take several weeks.

How To Find Divorce Records in Harris County

Individuals who want to know how to obtain divorce records in Harris county will have three options available. The quickest option is to perform a background check on one of the parties to the divorce. This can be easily done by using the search bar at the top of this page to perform a free public records search in just a few minutes.

This is a great option for individuals looking only to confirm if someone has been divorced as well as see if they have a criminal history.

Those who need more official records will need to go through the state vital records office or through the Texas court system.

Harris County Divorce Records Via Vital Records

The state vital records office is a fairly quick and easy way to obtain Harris County divorce records. Remember, individuals who are not a party to the divorce can only request a divorce verification through the Texas Vital records office.

Step 1: Access the Vital Records website

The first step is to log on to the state of Texas’ official website and select the ‘access vital records’ link in the ‘find services,’ drop-down menu. From here select ‘order vital records’.3, 4

Step 2: Begin the ordering process

The Texas Department of State Health Services acts as the keeper of the vital records for the state and is where individuals can order records from. Individuals should read the information provided on the page in regard to who can request records and what records can be requested.

Step 3: Fill in the information

Next, individuals will need to select ‘get started’ at the bottom of the page to begin the ordering process.5 The process is extremely simple and the website will walk users through all the information that is needed for the various kinds of records. Simply select “divorce verification’ and fill in the requested information such as a driver’s license number, name, address, etc.

Step 4: Submit the request

With all the information entered in the only thing left to do is submit the request, and provide the required payment. Most orders are completed in 20-25 days.

Harris County Divorce Records Via Family Court

Individuals looking for an official copy of a divorce decree will need to access the records through the court where the divorce was filed. Remember, Harris county divorce records from the courthouse will likely be limited to those involved in the divorce.

Step 1: Access the Harris County records website and select ‘Court Records’

Harris county has a dedicated website where individuals will find links to request all available public records for the county.6 Simply select the ‘court records’ option to get started.

Step 2: Access family court records

The court records page will have a link to the record databases of all the different kinds of courts in the county. For Harris county divorce records, individuals will need to select the district court records link.7

Step 3: Create an account

Individuals are required to create an account using their personal information in order to search for court records in the county. It is free to sign up for and allows users to search for records for free.

Step 3: Perform search and request records

Finally, individuals will be able to perform a search of court records using the names of the individuals listed in the documents. The documents will be free to view but requesting a certified copy will require a fee.

How To Find My Divorce Date Online for Free (Harris County Divorce Records)

Individuals wondering how to find their divorce date online for free can use the steps above to perform a court records search. The records should be available to view for free so individuals can find out the date without having to request a copy.

Harris County Marriage Records

Some individuals will be looking to obtain Harris County marriage records in addition to court records. The rules for requesting divorce records through the vital records office will be the same when it comes to requesting marriage records.

Harris County District Clerk Records

The Harris County District Clerk records can be another way to obtain marriage records. Individuals can request a copy of their marriage certificate through the district clerk in the county where the marriage took place.

Harris County Court Case

Individuals looking for information relating to any Harris County court case can request records using the official record-keeping website of Harris County.6 This includes criminal, family, and probate courts.

Harris County Criminal Court

Obtaining Harris county criminal court records is far easier than obtaining divorce records in the county. Criminal records can be accessed online using the name of the individual named on the record. Although criminal records are sometimes sealed, this happens far less than civil or family court records.

Premarital Background Check

With so many people meeting online, premarital background checks are becoming more common than ever. Individuals can use a premarital background check to find out if someone is who they claim to be as well as check their criminal history and see if they are on a sex offender registry.

Individuals can perform a background check on any individuals they choose using the search bar at the top of this page or any reputable online background check service.

How To Find Out if Someone Is Divorced in Harris Co.

When it comes to finding out if someone is divorced, the best method will depend on the state. Many states allow individuals to request certain vital records, whereas in other states it may be easier to go through civil and family court records or simply perform a background check on the individual. Although background checks will not always uncover divorce information, a background check on social media can provide an indirect way to verify someone’s marital status.

Are Marriage Records Public?

So, are marriage records available to the public? The answer depends entirely on the state, although most states do consider these records to be public. However there are several states that consider all vital records to be confidential and even in states that have public vital records, not everyone will be able to request copies of the actual records.

What Is the Divorce Rate by State?

Many people might be wondering: What is the rate of divorce in each state? Although historically, California had a reputation for having an extremely high divorce rate, these days it is actually fairly low on the list. Many of the states with the highest divorce rate might be surprising.

What Is the Harris County District Clerk?

The current Harris County district clerk is Marilyn Burgess, the district clerk is in charge of all record-keeping for the county.

Many individuals are surprised at how difficult it can be to obtain certain vital records. However, with a better understanding of local record-keeping laws, individuals should be able to get their hands on Harris County divorce records without too many issues.

Frequently Asked Questions About Harris County Divorce Records

Are Divorce Records Public in Texas?

Some are curious to know: Are divorce records public in Texas? Divorce records are technically public in Texas but court records relating to a divorce are often sealed for privacy reasons.

Where Can I View Harris County Free Public Records?

Many public records in Harris County, Texas can be accessed from the Harris county records website.6 Other records can be obtained through the Harris County clerk and recorder’s office.

Are Harris County Court Records Considered Public?

All court records in the U.S. are considered public, including those in Harris County. However, many records are sealed from public view and will require a court order to obtain.

Where To Find Harris County Probate Court Records?

Harris county probate court records can be accessed through the Harris county records website which contains links to court records for all of the different courts in the county.6


1State of Texas. (2022, September 26). General Information – Child Custody and Support. Texas State Law Library. Retrieved October 25, 2022, from <>

2United States Government. (2022). Home. – Freedom of Information Act. Retrieved October 25, 2022, from <>

3State of Texas. (2022, September 28). Home. | The Official Website of the State of Texas. Retrieved October 25, 2022, from <>

4State of Texas. (2022). Texas Vital Records. Retrieved October 25, 2022, from <>

5Texas Health and Human Services. (2022, January 17). Select a Vital Record To Order. Texas Department of State Health Services. Retrieved October 25, 2022, from <>

6Harris County. (2022). Find Public Records. Texas Information Governance and Records Management. Retrieved October 25, 2022, from <>

7State of Texas. (2022). Office of Harris County District Clerk – Marilyn Burgess | Search Our Records. Harris County District Clerk. Retrieved October 25, 2022, from <>

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