Florida has a long history of having an open records policy. This started back in 1909, when the state adopted Chapter 119 of the Florida Statutes, also called the Public Records Law. It ensures that any records that a government agency receives or produces during the course of its work are public records, unless they are specifically exempted by the state legislature. A Government-in-the-Sunshine Law was passed in 1967, making most meetings of government agencies at the state and local level available to anyone that makes a request. The Attorney General’s office regularly releases a Government-in-the-Sunshine manual, updated annually, that provides comprehensive guidelines for working with public information in the state. The following are some of the more common types of questions people have about Florida public records.
Are birth records public in Florida?
Florida birth records are confidential for 100 years from the date of birth. Birth certificates for births that occurred within the last 100 years are available only to parents, legal guardians and to people that have been granted access by a court order in Florida.
How do you get a copy of your birth certificate in Florida?
You can fill out an online application form requesting a copy of a birth certificate at the Florida Department of Health (DOH). You will need to provide proof of eligibility, such as being the registrant on the certificate (for birth records), being the parent, guardian or legal representative of the registrant, or supplying a court order that makes you eligible for access to the record.
Where can you find Florida birth indexes?
Florida does not maintain birth indexes and they did not have statewide registration of births until 1899.
Are death records publicly available in Florida?
Anyone can request a death certificate in Florida without the "cause of death" from the state DOH. To get a certificate that includes the "cause of death" requires meeting eligibility requirements (spouse, relative, legal representative, etc.). After 50 years have passed from the date the death was recorded, the "cause of death" becomes public record and is available to anyone.
How do you get a copy of a Florida death certificate?
You can order death certificates online at VitalChek. They are the only vendor that the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics (BVS) has contracted for death records. You can also order in person or by mail at the state BVS. Another option is to order the death certificate directly from the local health department in the county where the death occurred.
Are marriage records public in Florida?
Marriage records are public information in the state of Florida and are available to anyone that requests them.
How do you get a copy of a Florida marriage certificate?
You can order a Florida marriage certificate either in person or by mail through the Bureau of Vital Statistics of the state DOH. If you want to order a marriage certificate online, you can do so at VitalChek (officially contracted by the Florida DOH).
Are Florida divorce records public?
Civil court cases, documents and proceedings are public records in Florida. This includes divorce records unless they have been sealed.
How do you get a copy of a divorce certificate or decree in Florida?
You can order a dissolution of marriage certificate that is acceptable as evidence that a divorce or annulment was finalized from the Bureau of Vital Statistics of the state DOH. These can be ordered for divorces that occurred after June 6, 1927. Dissolutions prior to June 6, 1927 need to be ordered from the clerk of circuit court where the divorce occurred.
Are court records public in Florida?
Civil and criminal court records are considered public records in Florida. There are a few specific instances where court records may be closed and not available to the public.
Where can you find court records in Florida?
You can request court records in writing through the clerk of the court for the court that handled the case you are interested in. Some courts provide online access. You can find contact information as well as the websites of all the courts in Florida at the Office of the State Courts Administrator.
How do you find out who owns a property in Florida?
You can find out who owns a property in Florida by doing a property title search at the local tax assessor’s office for the county the property is located in. You will need to know either the address or the lot or parcel number of the property.
How do you check for criminal records in Florida?
You can check to see if someone has a criminal record at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. They offer an online Florida criminal history record check through their Division of Criminal Justice Information Services. There are no restrictions on who can order a Florida criminal background check, but there is a fee associated with each search.
Florida is pretty dedicated to maintaining its reputation of being a very open state when it comes to public information, making sure anyone needing access to such records has, in some cases, more than one access route. This access is as convenient as possible, and the records available are well maintained and are usually up to date.