Re: Divorce Records New York #general
A. E. Jordan
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You can visit the Kings County Clerk's Office at 360 Adams
Street, Brooklyn, and review the index cards that indicate whether
there is a divorce or annulment record
If there is, the card will give you an index number and may
indicate whether a divorce or annulment was granted.
That's all the information you can get easily. If you want to get the
actual file, access is restricted by New York state law
I am feeling compelled to reply again to clarify the general information
so other people who might want to work on divorce files in Brooklyn
can know what my experiences have been at the court.
I was there about two months ago for the last time and have been there before.
There are index cards for the probate files but I have never seen index
cards for divorces. They are in a different area of the building
(probate vs. divorces) and the divorce files are on microfiche
(at least for the earlier years into the 1930s or later).
You go to the counter and you have to give them a photo ID and they give
you the fiche cards and you can stand at the readers and search the
listings which are alphabetical by the family name. Mostly they are in date
order but there are some early years which are out of order and the clerk
helped me figure it out because the notes were sort of cryptic.
If you find the case in the index you can also access the minutes of the
court which shows when the hearings were scheduled and the outcome.
So you can see if and when the court granted a decree. This portion is in the
public record for anyone to see.
The files themselves are sealed for 100 years. In theory after that you
should be able to access them but I say in theory because a large
portion of the court's records were destroyed in a warehouse fire recently.
The court is still struggling to establish exactly what was lost but a
large portion of old files were destroyed if they were in off site storage.
(Thankfully the probate files are all on site and were not damaged.)
from the minutes I have been able to see if the case was contested or ifthere were even hearings or if it was the forerunner of the modern
day no fault divorce. I recently saw an interlocutor divorce >from 1913
which was in effect a situation where the two parties tell the court we
can not stay married and the court made them wait six months and then
if they still said the marriage did not work the court granted the divorce.
In other cases I have in New Jersey for example seen divorces were cruelty
and drunkenness were accused as means for the divorce. Since in those
cases it was not no fault each side made up some wild stories that
sounded like a soap opera.
On the divorces it also is worth exploring if either party ever remarried.
If they admitted to being divorced the clerks generally asked for the
details of the divorce. So on the later marriage licenses you may find the
date the divorce decree was granted as well as the name of the court
that granted it. By the nature of the acct I do not think they had to report
Someone suggested that it might only have been a religious Get and not
a divorce in the courts. That would be ok if they parties were not
going to remarry but to remarry as I said they have to prove they