How to Find a Divorce Record in NJ once the Divorce Proceedings are Completed?
When a divorce proceeding has been completed and the Family Part of the New Jersey Superior Court has issued a divorce judgment, the case is considered closed.
These cases, called “dissolution cases,” are then archived. Dissolution documents for each New Jersey county are archived in each county’s County Clerk’s office of each county for a period of many years. At this time, the documents are transferred to the Superior Court of New Jersey Records Center. The Dissolution Files Inventory houses records on a county by county basis, and each county differs in the most recent year for which data is archived. For example, the most recent year for which there are archived dissolution cases at the Superior Court of New Jersey Records Center for Camden County is 2014, while Essex County’s most recent archives are divorce cases closed in 2011. More recent dissolution case data is housed at the county’s Superior Court facility.
Divorce Records are Public Documents
All information in court documents on divorce become public record upon completion. The New Jersey Open Public Records Act P.L. 2001, c 404 states that public members are entitled to records deemed public, and the Act outlines the procedure for accessing such public documents. As such, information regarding the parties involved and the process can be accessed by uninvolved third parties. However, given the deeply personal nature of the data addressed in a divorce proceeding – such as financial records, testimonies regarding personal matters, and even information about children of the divorce – information from divorce documents are much more difficult to obtain than other public records.
Even though all court divorce documents are available to the public upon the case’s termination, some information can be redacted. According to the New Jersey Open Public Records Act section 47:1A-5, personal security information such as social security number, phone number, credit card number, driver’s license number, and minors and domestic abuse victims’ identity is redacted before being released to the public. Sealing a record, preventing it from public dissemination, requires both parties’ agreement and is a much more difficult task to have the court approve than redacting specific parts.
What types of public records are contained in dissolution files?
There are several types of documents that divorce case archives include. The most read6ily available document is the divorce certificate. This document plainly states that the divorce was finalized by the Family Part of a New Jersey county Superior Court. Because they are straightforward proof of divorce and required for a person to legally change their last name or file a new marriage certificate, a divorce certificate is quite simple for the couple to obtain and still easier for a third party to obtain than some other documents involved in the legal separation. A third party attempting to attain a divorce certificate may be charged a fee.
A divorce decree is a much more extensive record of the finalized divorce than a divorce certificate. The decree includes such specifics as to the location of the divorce and specifics such as the official judgment and agreements settling the case. This means information like allocating assets such as properties, alimony agreements, child custody arrangements, and even scheduling details. The Superior Court of New Jersey Records Center is responsible for keeping track of and distributing these records as it sees fit.
Finally, the most extensively informative documents that can be obtained are the complete New Jersey divorce records. In addition to the information disclosed in the certificate and decree, the divorce records contain all such finalized information and transcripts and documents generated and submitted throughout the entire course of the divorce proceeding. The complete divorce records are provided to each spouse upon closure of the dissolution case; however, they must apply and pay a fee for any third party to access such records.
Contact a Wall NJ Divorce Attorney Today
As noted above, recent divorce cases are housed at the County Clerk’s Office, while later documents are archived at the Superior Court of New Jersey Records Center. Generally, the cost of obtaining a document from the Center is ten dollars.
Peter J. Bronzino and his experienced attorneys represent clients in Ocean County and Monmouth County communities, including Neptune, Asbury Park, Toms River, Brick, Jackson, Wall, and all of Eastern New Jersey in all divorce and legal protections matters.
To schedule a consultation with a member of our firm today to discuss your case, please fill out our online form or call our Sea Girt or Brick offices at (732) 812-3102 today to discuss why working with a qualified attorney may be the best option.