Are Divorce Records Public Information?

For the most part, divorce records are public records under Washington law. For example, you can order a certified copy of a divorce certificate from the Washington Department of Health for any divorce that took place in the state of Washington. If you request a divorce certificate in person or by mail, you must pay a $20.00 fee. If you request a divorce certificate online or via telephone, you must pay a $31.50 fee. If the divorce took place prior to 1968, however, you will have to get a copy of the divorce certificate from the Clerk’s office in the county in which the divorce occurred.

You can access Washington state court records online, including divorce records. You also can visit the court in which the divorce case was filed in order to view the complete official court records or order copies of records. However, there are some records that might be contained within the official record of a divorce case that are confidential under Washington law. If you view or get a copy of the official court records related to a divorce, you would not be able to access some documents, including the following:

  • Confidential Information Form
  • Sealed Financial Source Documents
  • Sealed Health Care or Medical Records
  • Retirement Plan Orders
  • Notices of Intent to Relocate
  • Vital Statistics forms
  • Law Enforcement Information forms
  • Foreign Protection Order Information forms
  • Certain family law and guardianship reports, such as parenting evaluations or guardian ad litem reports

If you are an interested party and want to gain access to restricted family law documents, you must file a Motion and Declaration to Access Records with the court in question. The court will make a decision on your motion following a court hearing on the motion. If your motion is successful, you will have to submit an order to the court in order to access the records.

Divorce proceedings can vary greatly from case to case, and some cases are much more complex than others. No matter what issues arise in your divorce proceedings, however, we are here to help. The lawyers at Ashby Law have handled countless divorce cases throughout the years, as well as all other family law-related matters. Contact an experienced Washington divorce attorney today so that we can explain your rights and responsibilities related to various divorce and family law matters in the state of Washington.

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