Sourcing Divorce Records in Rhode Island
Divorce Records in Rhode Island
Since the early 1900s, most states have maintained divorce records for every divorce that has occurred. Typically, the states maintain their records in a central repository as well as at the local county courthouses. However, in Rhode Island no divorce records are kept at the state offices. Therefore, no information concerning divorces can be obtained from the state level. In Rhode Island, certified copies must be requested from the Clerk of the Family Court.
Divorce records list information about each divorced couple. Typically, this includes:
• The husband’s full name
• The wife’s full name including her maiden name
• The name of the county where the divorce was filed
• The recorded filing date of the divorce
• The actual date of the finalized divorce
• A certificate number used for identification purposes
Some states list the date of the marriage or the number of the couple’s children under the age of eighteen at the time the divorce was filed.
In Rhode Island, a written request for divorce records must be sent to the Family Court. Divorce records are filed by the husband’s last name. Therefore, provide the ex-husband’s name at the time of your request. If his name isn’t available, you can conduct a search of past and present spouses to acquire it. This type of search produces the name of the county since the addresses of all spouses will be listed.
The fees for requested searches and copies of divorce records vary across states and according to the amount of research that is required. Typical fees generally include a search for several years at a time. The following number is available to inquire after the cost in Rhode Island: 401-222-2811. This number can be used to request fees for other types of official record searches and copies in Rhode Island. The fees are designed to recover the cost of the search and copy and usually range between five and fifteen dollars.
Official searches for vital records usually take between two to ten days. The amount of information provided with the request can influence that. Genealogical searches often take longer for a variety of reasons including the year of the divorce, the availability of pertinent information, the accuracy of the provided information, the urgency of the request, and the availability of courthouse resources.
Divorce records are typically filed by the husband’s last name. Therefore, begin your search for any divorce records with the husband’s full name. If his name isn’t known, your search may take even longer. If you cannot provide the exact date of the divorce, it may be necessary to search through a number of years as well.
Do not provide information that is not requested or accurate. It will not quicken the search. If you do not have all of the information that you need, simply provide what you have. In the event of a genealogical search where little information is accessible, any available information may be needed to help identify important information. Requests for divorce records that include the greatest amount of accurate information often generate the best results.
Follow these directions for a more productive search.
1. Print or type each name and address clearly to avoid confusion. This includes the full name of both the husband and the wife. The maiden name should be included for the wife.
2. Keep your request brief and to the point.
3. Limit your request to one document.
4. Include the full names of the individuals, including nicknames and alternate spellings that may have been used.
5. Include the full address of the individual at the time of the divorce, including street, city or town, and state. If you know the county in which the divorce took place, include that as well.
6. Include the date that the divorce was finalized. If you do not have this piece of information available, include a time frame for the search. Generally, it is best to specify a short span of years for an unknown year search. You can always expand the number of years that you search, and a shorter span will lead to a shorter search. You can expect to pay an additional fee for searches such as this that require more effort.
7. Include contact information where you can be reached in the event that more information is required. Include a daytime telephone number, as well as, an evening telephone number. You may also include a fax number or an e-mail address.
8. You should include your relationship to the individual’s listed in your search request.
9. You should include the purpose of your request.
10. Print your name clearly and sign your request. Some states may also require additional identifying information on you as well, including a driver’s license number.
11. Include a SASE, or self addressed stamped envelope with your request for a speedier delivery.
12. Include the date that you mail your request with your correspondence.
When you are requesting divorce records in Rhode Island, send a written request to:
Clerk of Family Court
Garrahy Judicial Complex
1 Dorrance Plaza
Providence, RI 02903
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