The California Department of Public Health, Vital Records, is the main registry of divorces in the state. This office has both authorized and informational copies of California divorce records. An authorized copy of dissolution of marriage is issued to a person named on the record, members of his or her immediate family or a partner or spouse of one of the two individuals. Authorized copies are also issued to law enforcement, adoption or other agencies permitted access to this information.
The informational version of California divorce records will contain the same information, but is meant for release to individuals who don’t qualify to receive the authorized copies. This type of California divorce record will clearly show the words “informational, not a valid document to establish identity.” In addition to providing different types of divorce documents to requestors, the California Department of Public Health, Vital Records, can also verify that a certain dissolution of marriage record is on file in what county superior court.
The Vital Records office only accepts mail order requests for California divorce records. The supreme court in the county where the divorce was granted may accept in person records requests. Divorce confirmation checks made by Vital Records apply only to dissolution of marriages that occurred in California between 1962 and June, 1984. For divorce records outside of those dates, the California county court in which the divorce took place must be contacted.
A confirmation called the Certificate of Record includes both names of the divorced couple, the county where the dissolution of marriage occurred and the court case number. This type of verification may take a long time to process – even over 6 months. It is best to telephone the Vital Records office as expedited delivery, for an additional fee, may be available.
Fees will vary on verifications, but the current price of a Dissolution of Marriage Certificate is $13. Checks or money orders should be payable to the California Department of Public Health, Vital Records. Cash should not be sent through the mail as the request will not be processed. The fees cover the cost of the search for California divorce records whether or not a record is found, so this cost is non-refundable.
California Department of Public Health
PO Box 997377
Sacramento, CA 95899-7377
Phone: (916) 558-1784
California law holds that the requestor of divorce records must pay the appropriate fees before receiving the search results. The laws between access to authorized and informational types of divorce records in California must be upheld and requestor information such as the relationship to the persons named on the document is required. Both names on the divorce record should be provided to Vital Records by the requestor as well as the court file case number and county where the dissolution of marriage occurred, if known. Confidential California divorce records are protected by federal statutes so that the identity of the persons named on these documents isn’t revealed through public access.