In Florida, divorce records are public documents and are available to the general population. A person only needs to request another party’s divorce records from a court clerk in the county where the divorce took place. Many websites also allow people to virtually request divorce records.
Even though Florida is a no-fault divorce state, which means that the reason for a divorce is not relevant to the court, the causation for the divorce and other information can be included in your divorce decree and records if they are evidence. Your divorce records may include information concerning:
- Criminal information (if your criminal history was discussed in relation to child custody, accusations of domestic violence, etc.)
- Other sensitive, private information
Divorce Certificate vs. Decree vs. Record
It is important to note that a divorce certificate, divorce decree, and divorce record are different in terms of the information included in the document. We will discuss the differences between the details included and the availability of each document below.
- A divorce certificate is the easiest type of divorce-related document to obtain, and it is also the most commonly requested. Yet, it is the least detailed of the documents. Divorce certificates contain details about the divorce agreement, such as when the divorce was finalized, who filed the divorce, where the divorce occurred, etc. Official copies can only be requested by the parties involved in the divorce as they may need them to change their name or remarry. However, as we mentioned, the certificate can be requested and viewed by others online.
- A divorce decree includes the same information as a divorce certificate but also includes information concerning the court’s final judgment order that makes the divorce official. Each party’s responsibilities concerning alimony, child support and custody, visitation schedules, and asset division are outlined in the decree as well as any other terms the couple agreed upon in their divorce. This document has a court case number and should be signed by a judge. Again, an official copy of this document is typically only accessible by the parties involved as well as the attorney involved in the case. Divorce decrees can also be obtained by others if they request a copy from a court clerk who handled the case.
- A divorce recordis the most detailed of these documents and includes the information included in the divorce certificate and decree. It also contains all the case information, such as filed evidence, court transcripts, testimonies, motions, judgments, terms agreed upon concerning child custody, support, etc. Divorce records are more easily accessible by the public than divorce certificates or decrees, and they can be obtained online, at the county court where the divorce occurred, or via a third party.
Can You Seal Public Divorce Records in Florida?
If you are getting divorced or have recently finalized your divorce, you may be worried about who has access to your divorce record. The information shared during your divorce proceedings may affect your personal or professional reputation if there is sensitive information shared. You can seek to file a motion to seal your divorce records.
However, sealing divorce records can be challenging. If you and/or the other party wish to seal your records, you will have to prove to the court that the information in the records could be damaging. Many reasons people use to substantiate a request to seal divorce records include:
- Either party is involved in politics or is a public figure or celebrity
- Either party or the children were victims/survivors of abuse and it is included in the records
- Either spouse suffers from an addiction or mental health condition
- Either spouse can be harmed from specific information included in the records
Information like bank account details is typically automatically redacted. However, you can also request that other information is redacted from the record if the court denies your request to seal the record.
At the Law Office of Jody L. Fisher, our attorney can help you file for or respond to a filing for divorce. Whether you are involved in collaborative divorce or a contested divorce, we are equipped to help you. Call (352) 503-4111 or reach out online to get started today.