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Navigating Divorce Proceedings in Canada: Evidence Access & Privacy

Accessing Divorce Records in Canada

Divorce records are vital pieces of information that document not only the termination of a marriage but also the agreements made between estranged spouses regarding property, assets, and custody of children. These records are kept by the Central Registry of Divorce Proceedings in Ottawa, and in some cases, they may be accessed by the public.

In this article, we will discuss the public access to divorce records in Canada, the circumstances under which they may be sealed, and the steps involved in requesting access to these records.

Public Access to Divorce Records

In Canada, divorce records are generally considered public records. This means that they are accessible by anyone who wants to view them.

The primary location for accessing these records is the courthouse where the divorce was granted. Most courthouses keep a public index of divorce records that are searchable by name.

If you know the name of the person whom you’re seeking information about, you can go to the courthouse and request access to the record. In some cases, however, the information in the divorce record may be sensitive.

For instance, it may contain information about child custody or disputes over property and finances. In those situations, the court may grant an order to seal the record, which means that it is no longer accessible to the public.

Sealing of Divorce Records

Sealing of divorce records is usually granted on a case-by-case basis. It is only done if the information contained in the record poses a significant risk to the safety or privacy of one or both parties involved.

An example would be if there was a concern about domestic violence or stalking. In such cases, a court order must be sought to seal the record.

Another reason why divorce records may be sealed is if one of the parties involved requests it. For example, if an individual has remarried and doesn’t want their new spouse to know about their previous divorce, they may seek to have the record sealed.

In most cases, this type of request is granted based on a judicial direction.

Requesting Divorce Records

To access a divorce record, you need to make a request to the court where the divorce was granted. The request usually involves filling out a form and providing identification.

The form is then submitted to the court registry, where it will be processed. Once the request has been approved, you will be granted access to the record.

It is important to note that there may be certain restrictions on who can access divorce records. For instance, if the record contains sensitive information, such as child custody arrangements, only the parties involved, their legal representatives, or the court may have access to it.

Additionally, some provinces, such as Ontario, require a consent form before releasing the information to anyone other than the parties involved.

Divorce Records in Alberta

In Alberta, divorce records are considered public records and anyone can access them. They are kept in a central repository at the Alberta Courts, and they can be viewed at any of the court locations throughout the province.

However, there are some requirements that must be met before access to someone else’s divorce record can be granted. Accessing Someone Else’s Divorce Record

If you want to access someone else’s divorce record in Alberta, you will need to obtain their consent or a judicial direction permitting you to do so.

This means that you need to obtain a signed authorization from the individual in question, allowing you to access their record. Alternatively, you can obtain a judicial order that grants you permission to access the record.

Requirements for Accessing

Divorce Records in Alberta

There are some legal requirements that must be met before accessing someone else’s divorce record in Alberta. These requirements are set out in Family Practice Note 10 (FPN 10), which provides guidelines for accessing court records.

According to FPN 10, access to court records will only be provided to lawyers, legal representatives, and the media. If you are a lawyer or a legal representative, you must have a valid file number and be acting on behalf of your client.

You will be required to present identification and sign an undertaking agreeing to the terms and conditions of accessing court records. If you are a member of the media, you must provide identification and evidence that your request is related to a news story.

You must also agree to abide by the terms and conditions of accessing court records.


Divorce records are valuable sources of information that are often used by individuals for various reasons. Whether you need to access your own records or someone else’s, it is important to understand the legal requirements and procedures involved.

In Canada, divorce records are generally public records, but there are some restrictions in place to protect sensitive information. If you are unsure about how to access divorce records in your area, it is advisable to contact the court registry for guidance.

Evidence in Divorce Proceedings

Divorce proceedings can be complicated and emotionally charged affairs that require evidence to support the claims made by one or both parties. In Canada, the type of evidence that can be presented in a divorce proceeding is governed by the Divorce Act.

In this article, we will discuss the types of evidence presented in divorce proceedings, the relevance of spouse conduct, and protections before divorce proceedings.

Types of Evidence Presented in Divorce Proceedings

There are several types of evidence that may be presented in a divorce proceeding. Some of the common types of evidence include:

Abuse: If one spouse has subjected the other to any form of abuse, including physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, evidence of this can be presented in the divorce proceedings.

The evidence presented can include medical records, police reports, and witness testimony. Adultery: If one spouse has committed adultery, evidence of this can also be presented in the divorce proceedings.

Evidence can include pictures, text messages, or social media posts. Hidden Assets: If one spouse is suspected of hiding assets, such as bank accounts, properties, or investments, evidence to support this claim can be presented in divorce proceedings.

This can include financial statements, property records, or witness testimony. Income: In cases where there is an issue regarding spousal or child support, evidence of a spouse’s income may be presented in divorce proceedings.

This evidence can include tax returns, pay stubs, or employment records.

Relevance of Spouse Conduct in Divorce Proceedings

The Divorce Act provides that the court should only consider those factors that are relevant to the issues in dispute in the divorce proceeding. This means that conduct that is irrelevant to the divorce, such as a spouse’s sexual orientation or extramarital affairs that do not affect the welfare of the children, should not be presented as evidence.

The court will only consider conduct that is relevant to the issues at hand. For example, if the spouse’s adultery led to the breakdown of the marriage or resulted in emotional harm or loss of financial resources, then it may be relevant for consideration by the court.

In such cases, evidence of adultery may be presented, and the court may take it into account when making a decision regarding child custody, spousal support or division of property.

Protections before Divorce Proceedings

Before commencing divorce proceedings, it is important to take certain precautions to ensure that one’s privacy and security are protected. In Canada, individuals can apply for initials or restricted access in legal proceedings to protect their identifying information from becoming public.

A Restricted Access Application (RAA) can be filed with the court to request that a party’s personal information be removed from any court documents that will be made public. This is particularly useful in divorce cases where the divorce is highly sensitive, and the parties want to protect their privacy.

Additional Information

Court Transcripts

In divorce proceedings, court transcripts can be vital sources of information that document the proceedings and are used to appeal decisions. These transcripts can be obtained from the court registry and can be requested by filling out a form and paying a fee.

In some cases, a court order may also be necessary to obtain the transcripts.

Public Records in Canada

In Canada, public records are governed by the Access to Information Act, which gives the general public the right to access records held by government institutions. This includes divorce records, which are considered public records and can be viewed by anyone who requests access.

While some personal information may be removed or restricted through the RAA, most information can still be accessed. Location of

Divorce Records in Alberta

In Alberta, divorce records are located at the courthouse where the divorce was granted.

Individuals seeking to access their divorce records should go to the courthouse where their divorce was granted. If the year of the divorce is unknown, assistance can be obtained from the courthouse staff in locating the relevant records.


Evidence is an important aspect of divorce proceedings and can be used by both parties to support their claims. Understanding the types of evidence that can be presented, the relevance of spouse conduct, and the protections that are available before divorce proceedings commence is essential for protecting one’s privacy and security.

When seeking access to public records and court transcripts, it is important to follow the proper procedures and regulations set forth by Canadian law. In conclusion, divorce proceedings can be complex and emotionally charged, requiring evidence to support claims made by one or both parties.

Types of evidence include abuse, adultery, hidden assets, and income. The relevance of conduct is governed by the Divorce Act and is only relevant if it affects the welfare of children or has caused emotional harm or financial loss to a spouse.

To protect identifying information and privacy, initials or a Restricted Access Application can be initiated. Additionally, public records are available under the Access to Information Act, while court transcripts can be accessed for a fee or court order.

Understanding these processes can support all parties involved in navigating divorce proceedings with greater ease.

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