Information on California Divorce Records

Looking up public records at government departments in general will be a challenge to most of us but trying to find a Divorce Record in California at their Office of Vital Records will be a test of character in black-belt proportions. Those who have tried are likely to opine that if you are able to persist with them, you are either a really tough cookie or you are just not aware of any other means.

As of 2007, day-to-day functions of the California Department of Health Services (CDHS) have been reorganized under two separate departments: The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Certificate and Licenses is one of units under the latter. Among other functions, it maintains a central registry of California Divorces, Marriages, Birth and Death records at its Vital Records Office. This is one of the public services offered by the department.

California is one of the four states which do not keep track of the number of divorces within the state. The other three are Colorado, Indiana and Louisiana. In regard to providing divorce records, the Office of Vital Records in Sacramento, California can only issue a Certificate of Record – and only for divorces that occurred between 1962 and June 1984. More detailed information on California Divorce Records can only be obtained at the actual county offices where the divorces were filed and granted.

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. It is not equivalent to a divorce decree and does not indicate whether the divorce was ever finalized in court. The basic processing fee for each certificate is $13 and the processing time can easily exceed 6 months. Requestors are often advised to submit their requests directly to the County Recorder’s Office in the county where the divorce was filed.

Certified copies of California Divorce Decrees are only available from the Superior Court in the county where the divorce was filed. The complete details of the divorce settlement are stipulated on this document. They typically include the rulings on matrimonial assets, alimony order and child support, custody and visitation rights. Disposition on all other contentions between the divorcing parties are also captured on the divorce decree.

Divorce records are also known as Records of Marriage Dissolution. Marriage and divorce records invariably appear side by side in a search whether the search is primarily for one or the other. They are often merged as Marriage and Divorce Records, in both government and commercial databases. Many states require a certified copy of Divorce Records detailing the proper dissolution of previous marriages when divorcees apply for Marriage License to re-marry. California is one such state.

At 36 million, California has the most number of residents and theoretically has a proportionately large amount of divorce records. County Divorce Records are known to go back hundred over years. Although they are somewhat scattered, they can add up to heaps but fear not! Divorce Records Online search is pretty advanced nowadays where you just let your fingers do the walking. If the government agencies have yet to get their act together, the commercial record providers long have, cheap and good.