Review Your Divorce File

All divorce files are public records, at least until California changes it and places them under lock and key. If your case is taking longer than you think it should to get resolved, there are any number of reasons why it may be a good idea to go to the courthouse and review your divorce case file. The procedure varies from state to state and even from county to county, so I won’t be able to tell you how to get access in your court. Just ask when you go there. Sometimes your case file may be checked out temporarily (typically if the judge is working on it), so you may have to return a few days later.

If you review the file, you’ll probably want to make copies of one or more documents. Courts often charge exorbitant fees to make copies, so take a digital camera and a friend who can hold the pages in the file while you snap each picure. Review each picture to make sure you’re able to read the text you wanted to capture (you may even want to practice at home or at work before you go to the courthouse to make sure you know how to focus and frame the camera correctly).

When you’re at the courthouse, you have the right to review your file, but don’t expect the court staff to be able to answer your questions about it. State courts everywhere are underfunded and understaffed for their workload, and the court staff are seldom allowed to provide any useful advice. Save your questions for your lawyer.