Are Divorce Records Public in New York?
Unlike some states, New York requires divorce records to be sealed. This means that only the former spouses or someone with a New York state court order can access those documents with proper identification, such as a driver’s license, passport, or military ID. If the former spouses are represented by attorneys, those attorneys can also access the divorce records.
A Judgment of Divorce is the document signed by a judge which outlines the general terms of the parties’ divorce. A copy of the Judgment of Divorce can only be obtained from the Office of the County Clerk in the county in which the divorce was granted. You should check with your county clerk to get accurate information as to their procedure for obtaining this document. The Nassau County Clerk, for example, will provide the Judgment of Divorce only to the former spouses or their attorneys, with a valid government issued photo ID. The fee for a regular copy is .65 per page with a minimum of $1.30. The fee for a certified copy is $1.25 per page with a minimum of $5.00.
General information about past or current divorces may be found through an online search of Supreme Court cases using New York State’s WebCivil Supreme feature on the e-Courts page. After selecting a county, using an Index Number or the name of one of the parties, the case may be found. Information to be accessed there includes the name of the presiding judge, the case history of appearances, the general outcome of each appearance, and any motions which have been filed. The next future appearance date, if any, will also be shown. Attorneys who have been involved in the case will also be named. What will not be found is access to any documents.
Family Court handles family law matters other than divorce. For general information about future appearance dates on active cases in Family Court, you can also perform an online search using New York State’s WebFamily feature on the e-Courts page. You need to first have a docket or file number, attorney or firm name, or the judge’s name and appearance date to access this information. Information on past cases is not available.
You may also contact Fass & Greenberg, LLP for assistance with accessing your divorce records, or with questions you may have about any divorce or family law procedures.