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Understanding UK divorce records

In 1858, the Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes was established in London, marking the beginning of divorce records as we know them today. These records include case files, Law Reports, and even old newspaper accounts. Ancestry’s extensive database offers access to divorce files spanning 1858 to 1918. Exploring these records can provide a wealth of information about marriages, children, and the grounds for divorce. Delving into the historical context allows us to appreciate the significance of these records in understanding family histories and societal changes over time.

Understanding UK divorce records

In 1858, the Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes was established in London, marking the beginning of divorce records as we know them today. These records include case files, Law Reports, and even old newspaper accounts. Ancestry’s extensive database offers access to divorce files spanning 1858 to 1918. Exploring these records can provide a wealth of information about marriages, children, and the grounds for divorce. Delving into the historical context allows us to appreciate the significance of these records in understanding family histories and societal changes over time.

  • How to find divorce records with known information

    If you have specific details such as the case number and court, obtaining divorce records becomes more straightforward. Getting a copy of your conditional order or final order costs £12 if you know both the case number and the court. Begin by contacting the court, including your name, address, case number, and preferred method of payment. The court will review and process your request, and upon receipt of payment you can expect to receive the copy of the divorce record within a week. This is a relatively affordable and efficient process for obtaining divorce records.

  • Searching for divorce records without case numbers

    For those who do not have the case number but know the issuing court, there are still avenues to explore. Ask the court to search their records by providing the estimated date of the divorce case. The court will search five years of records before and after that date. In cases where the date is unknown, the court will search the last ten years of records. To initiate the search, send an email or letter to the court with your name, address, and preferred payment method. The fee for this service is £45 for each ten-year period searched. This option allows you to find the divorce records without knowing the case number.

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Finding divorce records when the court is unknown

If you are uncertain about the court that handled your divorce, you can turn to the Central Family Court for assistance. Fill out Form D440 and submit it to the provided address. The Central Family Court will undertake the search for the final order on your behalf. This service incurs a fee of £65 for each ten-year period searched. While this option may be slightly costlier, it still offers a comprehensive solution when the issuing court remains a mystery.

Can I search for my divorce records online?

Due to the 100-Year Rule to safeguard privacy and conserve confidentiality, only limited divorce records are available to access online. Useful resources include:

Additional resources and considerations

In addition to the methods mentioned, you can explore alternative resources like the Parliamentary Archives and old newspapers, which may contain detailed accounts of historical divorces. However, keep in mind that accessing more recent files might be restricted by the 100-Year Rule to safeguard privacy.

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