How to Find Divorce Records in Alabama


Make Sure You Have These Necessary Divorce Documents for Safekeeping

Every 13 seconds, there is a divorce in the U.S. This adds up to 277 divorces per hour, 6,646 divorces per day, 46,523 divorces per week, and 2,419,196 divorces per year. Many of these people would love to simply put the past behind them, but this is not always the reality. When it comes to situations like remarriage, many states and countries require a copy of the divorce papers in order to issue a new marriage license. It is also important to keep copies of divorce-related financial paperwork for tax purposes and when you are paying or receiving child or spousal support. Below is a list of the papers you will want to keep after a divorce:

  • The final judgment of divorce (divorce decree)

The final judgment of divorce papers, or the divorce decree, is a formal order from the court that grants the termination of the marriage. If a divorce is contested and ends up in a trial, the judge will issue a judgment that is confirmed when the decree is signed and dated by the family court judge and the clerk of court. It also contains the final disposition of divorce-related issues, which can include custody and visitation, child support, spousal support, and the division of assets and debts. It is important to get at least one copy of the divorce judgment that has a court seal to verify its authenticity. Down the line, you might be required to submit the sealed copy to certain agencies like the Social Security Administration or your state’s division of motor vehicles.

  • Appraisals

There is much more that goes into a divorce than family matters. If you have been through a divorce, then you know there are many assets that need to be divided, including division of property. When you get a divorce, an appraisal of the property held by one or both partners is usually needed in order to determine the value of the real estate that might need to be divided as part of the divorce property settlement. This specific kind of appraisal is usually called a divorce appraisal. Other assets that usually need to be appraised include retirement accounts like pensions and 401(k)s. If the non-owning spouse is entitled to a portion of a retirement account, the court will order preparation of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to protect their interest. For these types of cases, it will be necessary to keep track of the appraisal documents in order to make plans to divide the assets.

  • Financial documents

Divorces involve steps like mandatory preliminary disclosures or a divorce discovery process. During these processes, spouses need to exchange any information and documents that are relevant to the divorce. These documents are primarily financial and will be necessary to divide property and to set an amount for financial support. Relevant documents might include tax returns, canceled checks, bank statements, and credit card statements. It is important to keep track of this financial paperwork for tax purposes and for purposes of paying or receiving child or spousal support. You will want to be prepared for the possibility that one spouse might seek a modification of that support, and having the paperwork demonstrating the financial situation at the time the order was set will make that step easier.

  • Other items

If you were required to provide your marriage certificate to the court during the divorce, you will want to get it back. If the marriage lasted ten years or more, the chances are higher that the spouse will be able to collect the other spouse’s Social Security. If this is the case, the Social Security Administration will need a copy of the marriage certificate to verify the duration of the marriage. It will also be helpful to keep copies of the court orders issued during the divorce. This typically involves temporary child or spousal support and temporary custody or parenting time. If issues surrounding these topics come up in the future, it will help to have these documents readily available.

Locating Your Divorce Records in Alabama

While it is ideal for you to hold on to all these records before they become necessary, we understand that in the midst of a long divorce process, you might lose track of some items. When it comes to financial documents, you will need to contact the individual financial institutions that you work with. For example, if you want to get a record of your financial situation at any given time in the past, you will need to work with your bank for copies of this information.

When it comes to documents specifically related to the divorce, like divorce certificates, divorcees in Alabama can access these documents by submitting a request to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH). The Center for Health Statistics has kept track of all divorces in the state since January of 1950. Divorce records from before this time are available in the Offices of the Clerks of the Circuit Courts in the state. If you have misplaced your divorce certificate, you can request it from the ADPH by submitting applications online, by mail, and in person.

The ADPH charges $15 to search for a divorce certificate and to provide a certified copy of the record. If a record cannot be found, a “failure to find” certificate will be issued. A refund will not be issued if the record is not found. Another additional copy of the same record, ordered at the same time, will be another $6. If you are completing a mail request for a divorce certificate, you should file a completed Vital Records Request Application form and a check or money order to search and copy fee payable to the State Board of Health. You can send the completed form and payment to:

Alabama Vital Records

Alabama Department of Public Health

P.O. Box 5625

Montgomery, AL 36103-5625

What Do Lawyers Do with Documents?

When you work with a skilled family law firm like Shaw Family Law, L.L.C., it will be much simpler for you to keep track of your legal documents. We will make sure that you are aware of what is happening every step of the way, which will make it easier for you to remember which documents you need to organize. We will also make it easy for you to present us with the documents we need for your case. Certain documents will help us plead your case throughout the process and help us produce the most favorable outcome.

The court needs to understand the financial situations surrounding the divorce in order to consider factors like child support, alimony, and property division. We will help you keep track of documents related to income, real estate, joint financial accounts, life insurance, marital debts, pension funds, and automobiles owned. Not only will we make sure you have these documents ready, but we will take much of the stress off your shoulders throughout all areas of your divorce.

To learn more about how Shaw Family Law, L.L.C. can help facilitate your divorce and the documents that come along with it, give us a call at (205) 259-7650 or contact us online.