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Today, anyone can search through Pennsylvania divorce records to find information you might need for legal or personal reasons. There are free divorce records that you can search through on your own, or you can enlist the help of the state or an online search service to help you find the records you need. You need to know that Pennsylvania divorce records aren't available from the state's vital records department as in most other states. You must know the county where the decree was granted. If you don't know the county, you may try going through the following address to find it, but you'll still need to file a request with the county to obtain a copy of the decree:
Division of Vital Records
Pennsylvania State Dept. of Health
101 South Mercer St.
P.O. Box 1528
New Castle, PA 16103
The Prothonotary's office of each county in Pennsylvania has kept divorce records since 1804 and some were published in local newspapers. In the early days (1682 – 1773), a divorce could be granted by Pennsylvania legislature, but in halted in 1873 when the British Parliament forbade it. Since 1804, however, the Prothonatory's office has been the keeper of the records. The Pennsylvania state website has a listing of each county's Prothonatory address. Divorces in Pennsylvania were rare during revolutionary times, but became more commonplace after 1785.
If you're searching divorce records for genealogical reasons, you may have to spend quite a while on your search before finding the record you need if it happened before 1804. Another way to search through divorce records is by using a fee-based, online search site that will perform the search for you without having to go through the red tape of using the state or performing the search on your own. Many times, vital records can be confusing – and the legal terms might only be deciphered by a professional. Online sites employ professional record searchers who know how to find the records and present them to you in a concise and very readable report. The powerful databases and search engines that most of these sites use is also a help in finding obscure information about the divorce that you might not receive in a state search. For example, in the online report, you might find out the results of custody or settlement issues.
There are a number of ways you can begin to utilize an online site for your Pennsylvania divorce records search. Monthly memberships are usually available, if you're a legal professional or a genealogical researcher who might need the service on a regular basis. If this will be a one-time search, you'll pay a reasonable fee and usually receive a report within minutes from entering some information about the divorce. Click on the link to find out how to get started searching through divorce records – and other vital records.