Are Delaware Vital Records Open to the Public?
In compliance with Delaware's public record laws, most vital records are considered confidential. Access is often restricted to either the subjects named on the record, members of the named subject’s immediate family, and legally authorized representatives of the named subject. However, older vital records are more accessible. Delaware vital records become public after a period of at least 40 years from when the record was created.
What are Delaware Vital Records?
Delaware vital records are a collection of documents containing information about the significant life events of persons within state limits. This includes records of marriage, death, birth, adoption, separations, pregnancy terminations, divorces, and others. In Delaware, these documents are generated and maintained by the Department of Public Health, operational at both state and county level.
How to Obtain Delaware Vital Records Online
Interested parties who wish to search for and possibly obtain Delaware vital records online may request them from the local county health department or state equivalent. While these offices do not maintain databases where these records can be searched, requests for the records can be made online. In order for a Delaware vital records request to be processed, inquirers will be required to provide information related to the record such as the:
- Type of record being requested
- Name of the subject on the record
- The date the vital event occurred
- The city and/or county the event occurred
- The reason the record is being requested
- Requestor details and relationship to a subject named on the record
How Do I Obtain Delaware Vital Records?
Interested parties who wish to obtain vital records in Delaware are required to provide an official valid photo ID. Requestors may also be required to provide proof of their relationship to the subject named on the record.
Publicly available vital records are also managed and disseminated by some third-party aggregate sites. These sites are generally not limited by geographical record availability and may serve as a convenient jump-off point when researching specific or multiple records. However, third-party sites are not government-sponsored. As such, record availability may differ from official channels. To find a record using the search engines on third party sites, the requesting party will be required to provide:
- The location of the record in question including the city, county, or state where the case was filed.
- The name of someone involved providing it is not a juvenile.
What is the Difference Between a Certified Copy and an Informational Copy?
Informational copies of vital records are usually plain text copies of the record and cannot be used for legal purposes while certified copies of vital records in Delaware may be used for legal purposes and as such contain certain security features so as to prevent their unauthorized duplication or counterfeiting.
Are Delaware Marriage Records Public Information?
Access to Delaware marriage records is typically restricted to named parties on the record and a parent, child, legal guardian or legal representative of the named parties. However, marriage records older than 50 years are seen as public marriage records and therefore open to the general public. Marriage records include a marriage license, marriage certificate, and same-gender marriage certificate. Record seekers can obtain copies of marriage and same-gender marriage certificates online, by mail, and in-person from the Office of Vital Statistics. In contrast, marriage license lookup can be done online, by mail, or in-person at the County Clerk of Peace Offices. Unfortunately, a record seeker can not conduct a free marriage license records search to obtain certified copies of marriage licenses in Delaware.
How Do I Obtain Delaware Marriage Records?
Interested parties who wish to obtain marriage records in Delaware may do so at any of the Delaware Vital Statistics Offices located across the state. Requestors will be required to complete either an application for a certified Delaware marriage certificate or an application for a certified same-gender marriage certificate. These forms may also be submitted via mail. Copies of these records cost $25 each. Alternatively, an individual can obtain marriage licenses by conducting a marriage license lookup online, by mail, or by visiting the Clerk of Peace Office in the county where the marriage occurred. A requester can conduct free marriage license records search to view marriage licenses in the state, but certified copies costs between $25 and $50 (for online applications).
Interested parties also have the option of obtaining marriage records online through a third-party website. This method is particularly advantageous to requestors who are unable to access vital records either in person or via mail. It should be noted that in addition to the typical fee required for obtaining records in the state of Delaware, a service fee may also be charged when attempting to obtain a vital record online. Contact the Bureau of Vital Statistics for more information on how to find marriage records.
How to Get a Delaware Marriage Certificate
A Delaware marriage certificate becomes open to the public after 50 years. Record seekers can get Delaware marriage certificates online (from third-party vendors), by mail, or in-person from any of the Vital Statistics offices across the state. Mail-in requests require submitting an application form, official valid photo identification, and a $25 fee per copy. Applicants seeking to know how to find marriage records can visit any of the following Delaware Vital Records Office:
Jesse S. Cooper Building
417 Federal Street
Dover, DE 19901
Phone: (302) 744-4549
258 Chapman Road
Newark, DE 19702
Phone: (302) 283-7130
Thurman Adams State Service Center
546 S. Bedford Street
Georgetown, DE 19947
Phone: (302) 856-5495
Are Delaware Divorce Records Public Information?
Delaware divorce records in the state of Delaware are public information. However, certified copies of these records may only be obtained by individuals listed on the record and these individuals’ children, parents or legal representatives.
How Do I Obtain Delaware Divorce Records?
In addition to finding and obtaining divorce records online by utilizing the services of a third-party vendor, interested parties who wish to obtain these records may also do so by contacting the records department of the family court in the county where the divorce was granted via the following information:
New Castle County Records Department
500 North King Street, Suite 110
Wilmington, DE 19801
Phone: (302) 255-0300
Kent County Records Department
400 Court Street
Dover, DE 19901
Phone: (302) 672-1000
Sussex County Records Department
22 The Circle
Georgetown, DE 19947
Phone: (302) 855-7400
How to Get a Certified Divorce Certificate in Delaware
A requester can get a certified divorce certificate in Delaware by mail or in-person from the Records Department in the county where the divorce was granted. Certified copies of divorce records typically cost $4 while non-certified copies cost $1. This fee is exclusive of any charges incurred if these records are not obtained in person. An additional search fee may also be charged for records that have to be retrieved from state archives. Record seekers can also retrieve dissolution of marriage records by visiting the Records Department at one of its three locations.
Are Delaware Birth Records Public Information?
Delaware birth records became open to the public after 72 years. Access to records that are not open yet, is restricted to the registrant on the record, the registrant’s current spouse, adult children, parents or legal guardians and a legal representative of any of the aforementioned parties. Public birth records become accessible to all after 72 years elapse.
How Do I Obtain Delaware Birth Records?
Interested parties may obtain certified copies of Delaware birth certificates online through a third-party vendor. To order Delaware birth certificates or a replacement birth certificate, a requester has to request in person at any of the offices of vital statistics. Requestors will be required to complete an application for a certified Delaware birth certificate. The completed form may also be submitted via mail to any of the vital statistics offices. Certified copies of public birth records cost $25 each in the state of Delaware.
Is a Birth Certificate Public Record in Delaware?
Per Del.C. § 3110, a birth certificate in Delaware is confidential until 72 years after the birth occured. Access to confidential birth certificates is restricted to the record holders, their spouses, parents, children, legal guardians, and legal representatives. However, birth certificates will become accessible to everyone when 72 years elapse. A requester can obtain an original birth certificate online, by mail, or in-person from any of the Vital Statistics Offices located across Delaware. Also, an individual can get a replacement birth certificate from the Office in the event of adoption and acknowledgment or establishment of paternity.
Are Delaware Death Records Open to the Public?
Delaware death records became public information in the state of Delaware after a period of 40 years. Before these records became public, access to them was restricted to the decedent’s children, current spouse, parent, legal guardian or an authorized representative of the decedent. Death records search by name is now possible since it has become a public record. Public death records may also be issued to interested parties for purposes of genealogy. Certified copies of death records may only be obtained by parties who can provide proof of a direct, tangible and legitimate interest in the record.
How Do I Obtain Delaware Death Records?
In addition to performing a death certificate search by utilizing the services of a third-party website, copies of death records may also be obtained by completing and submitting an application for a certified copy of a delaware death certificate either in person or via mail-in at any of the three vital statistics offices located in the state. Copies of death certificates obtained from these offices typically cost $25 each. Parties who wish to obtain these records online may be required to pay an additional service charge.
Is a Death Certificate Public Record in Delaware?
In Delaware, a death certificate is confidential until after 40 years. As such, only individuals with a familiar relationship (children, spouse, and parents) with the deceased, legal guardian, and legal representatives can obtain certified copies of the confidential death certificates. However, marriage records older than 40 years are open to the public. Copies of death certificates can be obtained online, in-person, or by mail from the Office of Vital Statistics.
How Do I Obtain Sealed Vital Records in Delaware?
In accordance with Delaware state law, non-certified copies of adoption records may be accessed by adoptees that are at least 21 years old. Adoption records may also be obtained by parties who can demonstrate good cause. This includes parties who may require the records for determination and/or protection of personal or property rights. To access these records, requestors will be required to complete an adoptee application for a certified copy of original birth certificate form which may be submitted either in person or by mail at any of the state’s vital records offices. The state of Delaware also provides access to these records through a number of third-party websites. It should be noted that adoptee access to certain adoption records may not be granted if an affidavit denying the release of any identifying information has been filed by the birth parent(s) named on the record.
What are Vital Statistics Delaware?
Per DE Code § 3101, vital statistics are data obtained from reports and certificates of marriage, death, divorce/annulment/dissolution of marriage records, birth, and spontaneous fetal death. The Delaware Health Statistics Center collects data from the Bureau of Vital Statistics to promote public health and provide annual statistical reports. Interested persons can find vital statistics by calling (302) 744-4549 (phone) or (302) 736-1862 (fax). Alternatively, vital statistics data requests can be made by submitting an application form to DHSS_DPH_DataRequest@delaware.gov.