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Are Divorce Records Public?

Posted On February 14, 2022 In Divorce

Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your circumstances, divorce records are available to the public in Arizona. Anyone may request a copy of a marriage license or certificate from the Clerk of Court of the Superior Court where a marriage license was issued, and divorce records may be obtained using the same process in the county where the divorce took place.

Obtaining a Copy of Your Divorce Decree

If you cannot find your divorce decree, there are ways to get another copy for your records. Court clerks typically maintain divorce decrees entered within the last ten years. To procure a copy of your decree from the court clerk, it is helpful to have your identification, the case number, or the following:

  • Decree date;
  • Party names;
  • Attorney name(s); and
  • Judge name.

If the court does not have a copy of your divorce decree, they should be able to direct you to the county records department or registrar. Or, you may check with your divorce attorney. He or she may have a copy in their office files.

Sealed Divorce Records

There are instances where divorce records may be sealed or unavailable to the public upon request of a party to a divorce proceeding. However, this is a rare occurrence. In the event divorce records are sealed, the court often only seals portions of the record from public view.

When Can Divorce Records Be Sealed?

Parties to a divorce must prepare a court motion to ask the judge to seal their divorce records. In making a decision, the judge weighs the public’s interest in open judicial proceedings against any potential damage releasing the records may cause the parties. The judge also considers if the request to seal the case is tailored to only harmful aspects of the case and possesses merit.

Potential Reasons to Seal Divorce Records

Ultimately the judge decides whether to seal divorce records. However, the following are valid reasons the judge may do so:

  • To protect the identity of children or domestic violence;
  • To protect bank accounts and other sensitive information;
  • To maintain trade and proprietary secrets; and
  • To prevent libelous and false accusations from exposure.

The court will not seal divorce records to simply keep a party from public or personal embarrassment.

Contact an Experienced Arizona Divorce Attorney Today

If you are considering a divorce or are in the midst of a divorce and need questions answered about your divorce records, contact an experienced Arizona divorce attorney at Wilson-Goodman, PLLC. We understand the concerns divorcing spouses have regarding their private matters becoming public knowledge. This is especially disconcerting in cases of family abuse or family business practices.

Speak with a professional who can walk you through the possibilities of having your divorce records sealed as a whole or in part. At Wilson-Goodman, PLLC, we want to meet your divorce goals and expectations while keeping your privacy intact. Our Chandler divorce attorneys are also knowledgeable and able to assist you with other legal matters, such as child custody, property division, child support, and alimony.