Like marriage, death, and birth certificates, divorce records are usually open to the general public. This helps to support a transparent court system where the data is available for public scrutiny.
However, even in our increasingly digital age, finding out whether someone has filed for divorce in Arizona can be a time-consuming task. Each county has their own records, and many of them don’t offer these records electronically to the public.
If the records you’re seeking aren’t available online, you might have to find the files manually at the county court in the relevant area. If you’d rather keep information from your divorce files private, you might be able to seal some of the documents with the help of an attorney.
Divorce Records in Arizona
- Divorce records are usually available to the public
- Some counties offer the information digitally, while others don’t
- You may have to visit a superior court clerk’s office in person or request records by mail
- You might be able to seal some of your divorce records if you’d rather keep the information private
Divorce records in Arizona are managed where the spouses filed for divorce, by the superior court in that specific county. Some of these records are restricted and thus harder to access due to privacy laws and identity protection. As a result, certain records (like juvenile criminal cases or mental health-related records) have limited public access. Marriage, adoption, and family records are, in comparison, easier to access.
You must request to access most records by mail and prove your relationship to the individual that the records entail. Another option is to visit a superior court’s clerk’s office in the county and request copies of the information in person. Some counties have an online database to search public records, while others work with a 3rd party agency and might charge a fee for viewing their information.
Divorce records in Arizona have been kept on file for over a century either online or through the court system. Just keep in mind that older filings (particularly those filed before 1980) might not exist online at all and you must collect them through postage or in person.
For accuracy and convenience, you can try your county court’s official webpage to look through their directory for the information. Otherwise, you can check with the superior court clerk’s office in person.
How Working With an Attorney Can Help
Divorce is a personal affair, but divorce proceedings and records are still accessible to those who want to search for them. While this does support more transparency in the court system, it can also result in private information (that you’d rather keep to yourself) being shared. Fortunately, there may be a way to seal your documents and prevent the public from seeing the entire divorce file or specific related documents.
You may seal financial documents, healthcare records, and information that identifies a child or a victim of violence or abuse. Before you may have any records sealed, you’ll need the approval of the courts. You can request this with an application or motion to seal the information. Hiring a family law attorney is a good way to gain a greater understanding of how this works and the steps to accomplish it.
Frequently Asked Questions About Records in AZ
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding finding records in Arizona:
Q: Can I find out whether someone is still married in Arizona?
You can find out whether someone is still married by requesting a copy of their marriage certificate. To do so, you must know which county the person was married in and ask the superior court clerk in that area. Alternatively, you can check with the local newspaper in the area for marriage announcements.
Q: What are the steps for filing for divorce in Arizona?
To start the divorce process in Arizona, one spouse must contact the clerk of the superior court, pay a fee, and file a petition for dissolution of marriage. Keep in mind that the dissolution of a marriage with children may require different steps. The other spouse will receive a summons and a copy of the petition and has 20 days to file a response (or 30 days if the service is in another state). The response and original petition make up the start of the family court proceedings.
Q: Can I get a copy of my dissolution of marriage (divorce) records in Arizona?
Courts must keep divorce records on file for the previous 7 to 10 years. You can go to the court clerk’s office in your area to get a copy of the record if your divorce was finalized within that period of time. You can present your case number and identification, but the clerk might be able to find the records by the judge, party, or date if you don’t know your case number.
If this doesn’t work for some reason, you can speak with your attorney, who may still have a copy of your divorce decree on file.
Q: What are some of the benefits of sealing a divorce record?
It’s not always possible to seal information, even if it’s potentially damaging details or documents. As mentioned, public records help to maintain a transparent court system. However, a judge may choose to seal your records to protect your children’s identity or to protect a victim of domestic abuse. Other reasons include keeping social security numbers or bank account information private or protecting certain business information.
What to Do if You Need Help with a Divorce in Arizona
Issues regarding family law can be complicated and emotionally challenging, so it helps immensely to have an experienced professional on your side. They can answer all your questions, guide you through the process, and help represent you when necessary.
Working with an attorney can give you the best possible shot at achieving your goals with sealing your records or finalizing a divorce. Speak with one of our family law attorneys today to figure out what your next step should be.
Call the Family Law Team at (480) 467-4348 to discuss your case today.
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