New Jersey's public records law is known as the Open Public Records Act (OPRA). This law gives the public the right to access government records, with certain exceptions. It applies to records held by state, county, and local government agencies, as well as school districts, boards of education, and boards of trustees.
The purpose of the OPRA is to ensure transparency and accountability in government by allowing the public to see how their government is functioning and how it is making decisions. It is designed to allow the public to access records that are not specifically exempted from disclosure by law.
Birth records can be found at Vital Statistics and Registry Bureau of the Department of Health and Senior Services. New Jersey has records dating from 1914. These records cannot be accessed online in order to protect privacy. Both foreign and domestic adoption records are also kept in the Office of Vital Statistics and Registry.
Death records are found at Vital Statistics and Registry Bureau of the Department of Health and Senior Services. New Jersey has death records that date back to 1914.
Marriage records dating from 1914, Domestic partnerships dating back to 2004, and civil union records dating from 2007 can be found at the Vital Statistics and Registry Bureau of the Department of Health and Senior Services. Vital records cannot be searched for online due to their sensitive nature.
In New Jersey, Divorce cases are called “dissolution cases” and are recorded in the Family Division of the Superior Court at the county court level. They are held in the Clerk’s Office at the Superior Court’s warehouse in Trenton. In order to obtain the necessary public record, you will need to know the year the divorce case occurred and the year the case was filed. Before divorce records are archived, they are attainable via The Department of Law and Public Safety in the civil court records.
The Department of Law and Public Safety keeps civil court records. For both active and closed court records, you will have to contact the local courthouse to obtain civil division cases, special civil part records, criminal division records, family division records, divorce records, family cases, and special civil part cases. For statewide judgment lien records or foreclosure case records, you will need to contact the Superior Court Clerk’s Office.
The New Jersey State Police authorizes the release of criminal records via the I&ITS (Identification & Information Technology Section). There are reasonable restrictions to who may request criminal records which include: Governmental entities of New Jersey, a potential employer, attorneys-at-law or private detectives investigating relevant material, and finally, anyone needing the report for another relevant personal record request. You will have to contact the local courthouse to attain any public records you require.
For non-criminal justice purposes, the New Jersey State Police releases information through SBI (State Bureau of Identification). The same restrictions apply to background reports as to criminal records.
Naturalization records are extremely easy to access and can be found online. You can physically visit the New Jersey State Archives or visit them online.
Vehicle registration records are protected by the New Jersey’s Driver Privacy Protection Act. You can request information for vehicles registered in your own name; otherwise, an attorney, employer, insurance company or court must be authorized to gain access to vehicle registration records. To make such a request, you will have to mail the request form to the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission.
In order to request access to a vehicle Lien, you will submit a lien search request form to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.
The State of New Jersey has an extremely accessible and comprehensive website for requesting business license information. Do you need to order a status report, obtain a certificate for contracting or good standing, check business name availability or get photocopies of business records? All of these requests can be made at The Business Registration & Records in the Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services.
Tax records are organized by county and can be found online via The State of New Jersey Department of the Treasury. The New Jersey division of Taxation releases two lists of the largest uncollected tax liabilities of the state. Anyone can access the lists of the largest business taxpayers and the largest individual taxpayers of New Jersey.
Overall, the OPRA and other public records laws in New Jersey are important tools for ensuring transparency and accountability in government. They give the public the right to access government records and participate in the democratic process, and help to build trust between government agencies and the communities they serve.