How to Locate Divorce Records in Bucks County, Pennsylvania
By Jayne Thompson
Updated July 24, 2018
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Under Pennsylvania's right-to-know law, every citizen has the right to access public records. This includes the final decree in a divorce case. In Bucks County, dockets are available through the Office of the Prothonotary which is a branch of the family courts. The Prothonotary's office has a legal duty to record and microfilm divorce actions in the county.
Search for and order copies of divorce records from the Bucks County public access web viewer, which is maintained by the county Prothonotary's Office.
What Divorce Records Can You Get?
Generally, only the final divorce decree is available as a public record. This document, signed by a judge, represents the final outcome in a divorce action. While the decree will list the parties involved and verify the legal status of a divorce, it will not generally include sensitive financial documents, healthcare records, or identifying information for a child or victim of domestic violence. Only the parties to the divorce action are entitled to see sensitive documents. You can retrieve these through the clerk of the court where the case was filed after presenting your identification.
How to Perform a Bucks County Public Access Search
The Office of the Prothonotary keeps an online database of Bucks County court records which anyone can search. Navigate to it from the Prothonotary's homepage. If you know the case number, click "case search" from the list of options in the left navigation bar. Fill out the case number and any other details you have, such as the date of the divorce and the assigned judge. If you don't know the case number, click "case party search" in the left navigation bar and input the names of at least one of the parties to the divorce. Click the "search" button. This will pull up a list of relevant cases. Click on an entry to view the case you want.
Ordering and Viewing Copies
Clicking on the case will display a list of documents associated with the matter. To order documents through the Bucks County web viewer, click the documents you need and add them to your cart. You'll be charged $1.00 per cart plus $0.10 for each page you order. The county will also add a processing fee of $1.50 or 2.39 percent of the transaction value, whichever is higher. Be aware that paying the fee gives you access only to a full copy of the document. If you need an official or "certified" copy, you'll need to apply via the Bucks County Office of Open Records.
Filing a Right-to-Know Request for Bucks County PA Divorce Records
The Bucks County Office of Open Records is responsible for enforcing the state's right-to-know law. It serves as another resource for getting copies of divorce records that have been filed by the family court. To use the service, you'll need to file a right-to-know request by mail, fax, e-mail or in person. The standard application form is available on the Bucks County Open Records website.
List as much information as possible to enable staff to identify the records you're looking for. For example, you might list the names of each spouse and the year of the divorce. The fee is 25 cents per page plus $5.00 for each document you wish to have certified. The Office has five business working days to provide your records, or up to 30 days if the records are located off-site or they need to be redacted to remove sensitive information.
A former real estate lawyer, Jayne Thompson writes about law, business and corporate communications, drawing on 17 years’ experience in the legal sector. She holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Birmingham and a Masters in International Law from the University of East London.