Which Documents are Considered Public Records?

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Many people would be surprised by how much of their personal information is available to anyone who wants it. A large portion of the American population is unaware of the kind of information that is kept in public records. The court system along with various other parts of the government retain documents that contain personal information. In some cases, it will be necessary to pay a fee in order to access these records; however, the information is still available.

What exactly is a Public Record?

The definition of a public record varies depending on the state. Different states have different laws governing public records, but there are certain records that are available to everyone in most places. Most public records include:

Records of Marriage and Divorce

This record will include the names of the married individuals along with where they were married and the name of the person who married them. Divorce decrees are the documents that annul a marriage and will include the names of the married individuals, where they were married and the number of children they have.

  • Birth Records

These include an individual’s name along with the date and time of their birth. The parents’ names are also included in the record.

  • Death Records

These records include the date and time of death as well as the cause.

  • Voter Registration Records

These include all the information that an individual provides when they register to vote such as their name, address and date of birth.

  • Records of Bankruptcy

The information in the records of a bankruptcy case may be viewed by anyone unless they are sealed. This information is regularly collected by credit reporting agencies and revealed to the public.

  • Records of Sex Offenders

The law mandates all states to make this information available to the public.

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