Divorce Records in the UK – History of Divorce in the UK
While the idea of the divorce is certainly not a new concept, divorce records in the UK did not begin to be officially recorded until 1858. In order for person to obtain these documents, they will first need to request a search from the CIDA, or Central Index of Decrees Absolute. Doing this will require a person to download a form from the Courts Service website and post it to the Principal Registry of the Family Division. Official records previous to 1858 are not available but an individual may be able to find secular documents by doing a search of the British Library.
In each divorce case, whether it was successful or not, there is a case file created. This file contains both the original petition and response and any relevant certificates such as marriage or birth certificates. The case file may also contain copies of decrees and even evidence. While the majority of case files are likely to be lacking the majority of the less formal documents, there are still examples available of what are known as ‘full files’. An individual looking for divorce records in the UK should understand that very few of the actual case files managed to survive after 1937.
Divorce Case Files and Current Law
During recent times, case files are destroyed 20 years after a divorce. A person can apply to the relevant court in order to gain permission to see what is contained within the file if it is within 20 years since the divorce was finalized. It should be readily apparent to anyone doing a search for divorce records in the UK that older records are much harder to find than those created within the last 20 to 30 years. The catalogue makes it easier for people to do a search if they are looking for a particular type of divorce petition.
How to Read a Divorce Record
Abbreviations used in divorce records in the UK will designate whether the divorce petition was done on the husband or the wife’s behalf. The records will also have abbreviations designating whether there was an actual divorce, a judicial separation, a nullity, or restitution of conjugal rights.
UKDivorceRecords.co.uk Can Help You
Before an individual goes through the effort necessary to find divorce records in the UK, they may first want to try our service. We can provide a person with quite a bit of information that can at least aid them in their search, if not answer their questions altogether.