How to Find a Divorce Record in Oklahoma
Oklahoma divorce records are official documents providing details of marriages dissolved in the state. There are three general types of available divorce documents generated by Oklahoma courts, with each providing varying amounts of information. These are divorce case files or records, divorce decrees, and divorce certificates.
Divorce records are considered court records. They may therefore be searched on third-party public record websites. Divorce records can offer personal information on minors, finances, and sensitive criminal information like domestic abuse. Because of this, divorce record, certificate, and decree availability is usually much lower than other types of public records because of the personal nature of divorces. Simply put, divorce records are significantly harder to obtain and search for than other types of public records.
Are Divorce Records Available to the Public in Oklahoma?
Divorce records in Oklahoma are considered public records. Consequently, any member of the public is able to locate and view divorce records in Oklahoma except for sealed divorce records. However, members of the general public cannot receive certified copies of divorce records in Oklahoma. These are only available to:
- Divorced parties named on the records
- Adult children of the parties on the records
- Parents or legal guardians of the parties
- Authorized legal representatives of the parties
Access to sealed divorce records is restricted by the court after the conclusion of divorce proceedings. As a result, these records are not readily available to members of the general public.
To seal a divorce record in Oklahoma, an agreement must be reached between both parties to proceed with this action. A motion is then filed with the court where the divorce proceedings were held. The judge then decides whether to grant or deny the motion based on the reasons provided by the divorced parties. To obtain a court order sealing the records, the petitioners must convince the judge that doing so outweighs the need to keep court records in the public domain. A court may issue an order to seal Oklahoma divorce records:
- To protect the identities of domestic violence or abuse victims
- To protect the identities of minors
- To prevent false information that may cause undue harm from entering the public domain
- If the records contain trade secrets or concerns national security
- If the records contain sensitive business or personal information
Courts in Oklahoma are required by law to narrowly tailor such orders so that only the portions of records subject to confidentiality are sealed. As a result, courts are more inclined to grant motions to have sensitive portions of a divorce record redacted than motions to seal entire records. Partially sealed divorce records are accessible by members of the public, but the confidential sections are redacted.
Redacted and sealed records are only available to the divorced parties named in the records and their legal representatives. A third party seeking access to these records must first obtain a court order.
What is an Oklahoma Divorce Certificate?
A divorce certificate is a vital document that contains basic information about the dissolution of a marriage. Oklahoma does not include detailed information about a marriage dissolution in a divorce certificate. This divorce record provides the following information:
- Names of the divorced individuals
- Location of the divorce
- When the divorce judgment was issued
- Court case number
What is an Oklahoma Divorce Decree?
An Oklahoma divorce decree is the court-issued document that officially dissolves a marriage in the state. A copy of the divorce decree is received by both the petitioner and the respondent after the case has been completed. It represents the final judgment by the court on the case and is legally binding on both parties. A divorce decree will detail the conditions of the settlement agreed by both parties. It also defines the rights and responsibilities of the divorcees, regarding:
- Alimony payment terms
- Division of mutual property and assets
- Custody of underage children and visitation rights
- Child support payments terms
A divorce decree may also be referred to as a Judgment file. It is issued by the Court which finalized the judgment that dissolved a marriage in Oklahoma and is in the custody of the Clerk of the Court.
What is an Oklahoma Divorce Record?
An Oklahoma divorce record is the complete set of court documents created during the proceedings that resulted in the dissolution of a marriage in the state. These documents include motions, orders, reports, petitions, waivers, and any other court file related to the marriage dissolution.
How Do I Obtain an Oklahoma Divorce Decree?
An Oklahoma divorce decree is maintained by the County Court Clerk’s Office of the judicial district where the divorce was finalized. Usually, copies of a divorce decree will be sent to attorneys of the divorced parties once the final judgment has been rendered. Each party receives a copy from their attorney.
To request a certified copy of an Oklahoma divorce decree, submit a request to the County Court Clerk’s Office. Both mail and in-person requests are acceptable. Certified copies of divorce decrees are only available to eligible persons. Persons eligible to receive a certified copy of an Oklahoma divorce decree include the individuals named in the record, their immediate family, and their legal representatives. When request a certified copy of an Oklahoma divorce decree, send/bring the appropriate fees and provide the following information:
- Names of both divorced party on the record, including maiden names (if applicable)
- Date the divorce judgment was issued
- Location where the divorce was finalized
The fee for obtaining a certified copy of a divorce decree is decided by the court which issued the decree and may vary across the judicial districts.
Oklahoma provides an online tool for searching for records of all court cases that have been concluded in the state. Available case files include records of all finalized divorces except sealed ones. Records of divorce proceedings that have been finalized in the state can be searched online using the Case Search tool available on the Oklahoma State Court Network website.
Government public record search portals and third-party public record websites both may provide court records search tools, which can help find divorce records, though record availability usually varies widely. Divorce records in particular may simply not be available through either source.
How Do I Obtain an Oklahoma Divorce Certificate?
Divorce certificates are public documents usually issued by State Departments of Health. The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) does not maintain records of marriage dissolutions in the state and its Vital Records Office cannot issue divorce certificates.
Does Oklahoma Recognize Common-Law Marriages?
Oklahoma recognizes common-law marriages. To enter into an Oklahoma common law marriage, both parties must show that they are:
- Of legal marriage age,
- Currently in a mutual agreement and mutually consent to the marriage
- In a permanent and exclusive relationship
- Live together or have consummated the marriage
- Relate publicly as a married couple
Usually, couples do not set out to prove they are married under common law until the relationship has to end, a partner dies or one partner wants to leave the relationship and proceeds to get a divorce. In the event of the latter, an Oklahoma Court will need to determine if the marriage was legal in the first place before proceedings on claims like alimony can occur.
How to Find Out if Someone is Married in Oklahoma
Publicly available divorce records are also managed and disseminated by some third-party aggregate sites. These sites are generally not limited by geographical record availability and may serve as a reliable jump-off point when researching specific or multiple records. However, third-party sites are not government-sponsored. As such, record availability may differ from official channels. The requesting party will be required to provide the following information to find a record using the search engines on third party sites:
- The location of the record in question, including the city, county, or state where the case was filed.
- The name of someone involved, providing it is not a juvenile.