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Michigan Court Records

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What Are Michigan Divorce Records?

Michigan divorce records comprise all informatory documents that contain details of a divorce. Such documents may be vital or court records that are issued by the state. In Michigan, there are 6.9 divorces per 1,000 women that are above 15 years old. Michigan has a no-fault divorce policy, which allows either party to seek a divorce

with or without the consent of the other partner.

Under the state’s law, a partner only needs to indicate that “there has been a breakdown of the marriage relationship to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved.”

Marriage in the State of Michigan may end in one of these three ways:

  • Divorce
  • Separate maintenance (also known as legal separation)
  • Annulment

A divorce and separate maintenance are quite similar, as both lead to the separation of both parties. In separate maintenance, the couple remains married but without certain marriage obligations to each other. Assets, child support, and debts may be divided, but the marriage remains.

A divorce is finalized when a judge signs a Judgment of Divorce document indicating the dissolution of the marriage. The record of the judgment is documented by the Clerk of Courts in the county where the divorce was finalized. In Michigan, the dissolution of a marriage without children typically takes between sixty days to nine months. If children are involved, the finalization of the divorce may take between six months and a year.

The records contained in documents related to family court include both marriage and divorce records. Both types of records contain information that is considered very personal to the parties involved, and it is recommended that those parties maintain these records with care in order to make changes in the future. The personal nature of these records results in both being considerably more difficult to find and obtain when compared to other types of public records. In many cases, these records are not available through either government sources or third party public record websites.

Are Divorce Records Public In Michigan?

Michigan divorce records are documented as public records under the state’s Freedom of Information Act FOIA. This act permits members of the general public to make requests for divorce records in the state. However, divorce records that are sealed from public access may not be obtained except by authorized persons. Divorce records may be sealed if it contains certain sensitive or confidential information about the bearer that could jeopardize their reputation, financial security, or safety.

After a divorce process is completed, the court where proceedings took place delivers the divorce records to the state for record-keeping. The public may access divorce case information as well as informatory documents containing basic non-confidential information on the divorce case.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

What Are The Types Of Divorce Records Available In Michigan?

The divorce records provided by the State of Michigan include divorce decree and divorce certificate.

A divorce decree is a document that reveals the court’s final verdict on a divorce case. After the divorce process is finalized and the termination of a marriage is official, the judge will sign a Judgment of Divorce document. This document outlines the rights and obligations of both parties to each other after the divorce. It also summarizes other necessary information about the divorce. Divorce decree records are maintained by the Office of the Clerk of the Court where the hearing took place.

A divorce certificate is a form of divorce record that contains only necessary non-confidential information about a divorce action. The divorce certificate is a vital record issued and maintained by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. It is not the same as an actual divorce decree, and it is easier to access. Divorce certificates are not obtainable until at least 90 days after the divorce occurred. The following information is included on a divorce certificate;

  • The date the divorce became official
  • The names of the parties involved
  • The court where the divorce was finalized
  • The court case number

How Do I Get Divorce Records In Michigan?

Generally, the process of retrieving divorce records in Michigan varies from county to county. However, in most cases, requestors are required to complete a request form and submit it at the court where the divorce was finalized. Information required during the process of a request includes the year of the divorce, the names of each party, and the court case number.

Divorce records may be accessed in any of the following ways;

  • View electronic copies of accessible divorce records via the public access platform at the court where the divorce was finalized.
  • In-person request for paper copies at the court where the divorce was finalized.
  • Mail-in requests addressed to the Office of the Clerk of the Court or the court’s records management office.

Certified copies are provided at $15 for a search of three years, and a $5 charge may apply for the provision of extra copies. Depending on the method of request and the county where the court is located, request fees may vary. Alongside the request form, a self-addressed stamped envelope may be required to complete a mail-in request.

To determine the exact location and contact address of any court in the state, use the court locator tool available on the Michigan Judiciary official website.

Citizens may also order copies of divorce records on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS)website. Available records date back to 1897, and payments are made using a credit card. The application form may also be printed, completed, and sent to the Vital Records office located at

333 S Grand Avenue, 1st Floor,

Lansing MI 48933

The office is open to the public between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on all working days, excluding State holidays. Requesters are required to submit a request by 3:00 p.m. for same-day service. For more information, the customer service may be reached via mail at VRCustomerService@michigan.gov or call the Eligibility Unit at (517) 335–8666, press option #3.

The payment of a $34 base fee is required to obtain a copy of a divorce record. Other charges that may apply including;

  • $16 for each additional copy
  • $12 for each additional year to be searched
  • Additional $12 if a ‘RUSH’ service is needed.

While divorce and marriage records may be searched through government sources and organizations, the availability of these documents cannot be guaranteed. This is also true of their availability through third-party websites and companies, as these entities are not government-sponsored; therefore, record availability may vary further. Also note that marriage and divorce records are considered extremely private due to the information the records contain, and are often sealed. Hence, bearing in mind that these factors determine the availability of any type of marriage or divorce record.

Who Can Obtain Divorce Records In Michigan?

Copies of divorce records in Michigan are available to any member of the public. These public copies are redacted divorce records containing no sensitive or confidential information about the parties. However, divorce decrees are privileged records only provided to authorized persons, including:

  • The actual parties involved in the divorce case
  • The defense attorneys that took part in the court proceedings

Are Michigan Divorce Records Available Online?

Michigan divorce records are maintained by the Vital Records Department of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). However, MDHHS does not make the records directly available on the department’s website.

Divorce case information may be obtained via the court records portal of some courts’ websites. Note this information does not represent the complete record of a divorce and does not indicate if the divorce was finalized. The information offered on such portals is relevant in requesting the actual divorce record from the Clerk of Court office.

In cases where a court case information portal is not provided on the court’s website, requesters may visit the Office of the Clerk of the Court where the divorce proceedings took place.

How Do I Seal My Divorce Records In Michigan?

Parties to a divorce in Michigan are allowed to file a motion to seal the record from public access. The motion identifies a justifiable reason why the court should seal the divorce records. Copies of divorce records maintained by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) are sealed upon successful appeal to the court.

Before a judge approves the sealing of divorce records, both parties will highlight the negative impact the openness of the record may have on their reputation, children, finances, and careers. Generally, a judge will be disposed to sealing a record contains confidential or private information that may expose both parties to danger.

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