How to Find a Divorce Record in Arizona
Divorce is also known as the annulment, reversal, or dissolution of marriage. To file for divorce, or dissolution of marriage, in Arizona, at least one of the married parties must have lived in the state for a minimum of 90 days. The Superior Court of the county where the divorce takes place is in charge of recording and maintaining the records once the divorce is concluded. The Arizona Superior Court records this action, and is available to access in three different forms. The reason for requesting determines what kind of document one should request when trying to obtain a divorce record.
Arizona divorce records are considered court records. They may therefore be searched on third party public record websites. Divorce records can offer personal information on minors, finances, and sensitive criminal information like domestic abuse. Because of this, divorce record, certificate, and decree availability is usually much lower than other types of public records because of the personal nature of divorces. Simply put, divorce records are significantly harder to obtain and search for than other types of public records.
Are Arizona Divorce Records Public Records?
Arizona’s institution of the Public Records Law A.R.S. §§ 39-121 through 39-161 made it a requirement for government bodies to be made accessible to the public upon request as long as there is justification for the access and no reason for the records to be sealed or made confidential. If the record is confidential, a court order is required to examine it. Information that may be redacted or deem the record confidential include:
- Financial information like social security numbers, bank statements, and other evidence that provides details about someone's financial material
- Any aspects involving minor children, including adoption details, child custody information, proof of parenthood, abuse, or juvenile cases
- Details depicting mental health, mental illness, or any psychological evaluations
- Information concerning protection orders, abuse, or domestic violence
What are Arizona Divorce Certificates
A divorce certificate is the most general document available to prove that a divorce between two people has occurred. This document is often requested by the involved parties when they want to obtain a marriage certificate or change their name as it appears on their drivers licence or state identification. Divorce certificates contain the names of the two people who have gotten divorced, the date, and location of the divorce. Arizona divorce certificates are not made available to members of the public, but the parties involved and their attorney’s may request access to them.
What are Arizona Divorce Decrees
Divorce decrees are usually requested when one the divorced parties wishes to alter the agreements stated on it. This record is also made available to members of the public. A divorce decree states the names of the two persons, the date and location of the divorce, along with all judgments and agreements made by the end of it. It is also signed by a judge and contains the case number. The information listed should include alimony, distribution of property, custody of children, and child support.
What are Arizona Divorce Records
Divorced parties will often request a full divorce record when they want to legally dispute the obligations stated within it. This is why it is often advised by attorneys to keep these records after a divorce. A divorce record contains the most amount of information than the two other types of document. They include all transcripts and files created from the proceedings, and act as the case file for a dissolution of marriage case. Members of the public can request and access Arizona Divorce Records through the County Clerk’s Office in the county where the divorce was finalized.
How to Obtain Arizona Divorce Records
There is no state-wide maintenance of divorce records, so the majority of divorce case records can be accessed through the Clerk of Superior Court in accordance with the county the divorce occurred. Some divorce decrees, if finalized before the year 1950, are maintained by the Arizona State Archives. The state archives office is not open to the public, but it is possible to call the office or send in a request form to find out if they are holding the sought-after document or documents. If the divorce took place after 1950, it is likely that the records are being kept in the Clerk of Superior Court. Many of these courts provide resources for obtaining divorce records online, but it may be more beneficial to request Arizona divorce records by mail or in-person through the county clerk.
Government public record search portals and third party public record websites both may provide court records search tools, which can help find divorce records, though record availability usually varies widely. Divorce records in particular may simply not be available through either source.
What Do I Need to Conduct an Arizona Divorce Records?
In order to access a divorce record, the requesting party must provide certain details about themselves and the case they are requesting information about. These details may include the following:
- Government-issued identification
- A case number
- The names of the parties who participated in the divorce
- The specific documents being requested (certified, uncertified, decree, or full record)
- The year that the case was filed or the exact date
- A phone number or e-mail address in case the court clerk has any questions about the request
Government public record search portals and third party public record websites both may provide court records search tools, which can help find divorce records, though record availability usually varies widely. Divorce records in particular may simply not be available through either source. The Arizona Judicial Branch provides an online portal for court records, including divorce records. Unfortunately, this only provides information contained in 177 out of the 184 courts in the state. It is recommended to communicate with the Superior Court Clerk directly or by mail.
How to Get Arizona Divorce Records by Mail
Arizona divorce records can be accessed by mail by mailing in a request including all information listed above into the county clerk’s office in the courthouse where the divorce was heard and finalized. Usually, it is required to also submit a photocopy of a government identification along with the written request, along with a check or money order of the determined amount. It is also possible to fill out and submit the online request form and have the records sent through the mail. Note that these forms may vary between counties, and should be researched on a case-to-case basis.
How to Get Arizona Divorce Records In-Person
To gain access to and obtain divorce records in-person, it is also required to ascertain which county courthouse the divorce took place in. Once the requesting party has determined which county clerk’s office to visit, they should make sure to have access to all the information that may be required. In-person requests are generally fulfilled on the same day.
Paying for Access to Arizona Divorce Records
The costs and methods of payment for obtaining divorce records vary depending on county and the form of record that is being requested. Generally, the fee for uncertified copies of court records is $.50 per page, not including any research fees. Records requests made through the mail have a $7.00 shipping fee and are processed within 7 to 10 business days from when the request was made. Delivery time is dependent on mail service. If requested by mail, the clerk’s office will check or money order payable to the Clerk of Court. If requested in-person, they will also accept debit or credit cards. Often, for legal purposes, it may be necessary to obtain certified copies of divorce records. If this is the case, it must be stated in the request that the party wishes to acquire a certified copy. A certified copy of a divorce record warrants a $30.00 charge.
How to Find Out if Someone is Divorced in Arizona
Publicly available divorce records are also managed and disseminated by some third-party aggregate sites. These sites are generally not limited by geographical record availability and may serve as a reliable jump-off point when researching specific or multiple records. However, third-party sites are not government-sponsored. As such, record availability may differ from official channels. The requesting party will be required to provide the following information to find a record using the search engines on third party sites:
- The location of the record in question, including the city, county, or state where the case was filed.
- The name of someone involved, providing it is not a juvenile.
Does Arizona Recognize Common-Law Marriage?
Arizona recognizes common-law marriages created in states that support this type of union. While the exact criteria for establishing a common-law marriage vary from state to state, some of the common requirements include:
- The couple must have lived together for a protracted period
- The couple must have legal rights to be married
- The couple should have an intention for marriage, and should have identified to friends and family as being a married couple.
In Arizona, such arrangements do not become common-law marriages. Where a long-term relationship that isn’t marriage causes concerns over issues like sharing of properties upon death or break-up, the couple may consider drawing up a domestic partnership agreement to define the rights and responsibilities of both partners in the relationship.