Accessing divorce records in New York can be a complex process, but it’s a crucial task for various purposes, including legal matters, genealogical research, or personal documentation. In this guide, we’ll provide you with a step-by-step roadmap to help you navigate the intricacies of obtaining divorce records in the state of New York.

Types of Divorce Records

In New York, divorce records fall into two primary categories: divorce certificates and divorce decrees. These distinctions are essential to comprehend when requesting records.

Divorce Certificates: A divorce certificate is a summary document that provides basic information about the divorce, such as the names of the parties involved and the date and place of the divorce. It is a public record and can be accessed more easily than divorce decrees.

Divorce Decrees: A divorce decree, on the other hand, is a comprehensive legal document that includes the terms and conditions of the divorce, including property division, child custody arrangements, and spousal support. These records are typically more detailed and are often sealed to protect sensitive information.

Eligibility and Restrictions

Not everyone can access New York divorce records. Access is generally restricted to individuals with a direct interest, legal necessity, or those who can demonstrate a legitimate reason for obtaining the records. The specific requirements vary based on the type of record you’re seeking.

Identifying the Vital Information

Before starting your search, gather as much information as possible about the divorce. Key details include the names of the parties involved, the date of the divorce, and the county where it was granted. Having this information on hand will streamline the process.

Accessing Public Divorce Records

Public divorce records in New York are accessible through official channels. To obtain these records, you’ll need to follow specific steps and may be required to pay associated fees. Typically, the process involves submitting a request to the county clerk’s office where the divorce was granted.

Requesting Sealed Divorce Records

Some divorce records are sealed due to the presence of sensitive information. Requesting access to sealed records involves a different process and must adhere to legal requirements. It’s essential to understand these requirements before proceeding.

Exploring Alternative Sources

If you encounter difficulties accessing divorce records through official channels, don’t despair. There are alternative sources and methods you can explore. These may include hiring a private investigator, seeking assistance from legal professionals, or accessing records through specialized databases.

Maintaining Privacy and Confidentiality

Privacy and confidentiality are paramount when dealing with divorce records. Ensure that any sensitive information you provide during the request process remains secure and protected. Be cautious when sharing personal data to prevent identity theft or fraud.


How can I access New York divorce records?

To access New York divorce records, you can submit a request to the New York State Department of Health or the local county clerk’s office where the divorce was filed. You can request records in person, by mail, or in some cases, online through official government websites.

What information do I need to request New York divorce records?

To request New York divorce records, you typically need to provide details such as the full names of both parties involved, the approximate date of the divorce, and the county where the divorce was granted. Having as much information as possible will help expedite the search process.

Are New York divorce records public?

New York divorce records are generally considered public information, but access may be restricted for a certain period, usually several decades, to protect individual privacy. Once this restriction period has passed, divorce records become public records and can be accessed by anyone.

Can I access New York divorce records online?

Yes, New York State has made efforts to digitize and provide online access to divorce records through various official websites. However, the availability of online records may vary by county, and some records may not be accessible electronically.

Is there a fee for accessing New York divorce records?

Yes, there is typically a fee associated with accessing New York divorce records. The fee may vary depending on the method of access and the county in which the records are held. Be sure to check with the relevant government agency or county clerk’s office for the most up-to-date fee information.