What can you find in these records? Obviously the dates and location of the divorce proceeding, the date and location of the marriage, the woman’s maiden name, names of minor children, and the reason for the divorce. The reason can not only provide another part of your ancestor’s story, but also may lead to more clues, especially in the case of desertion, where you may be able to find the location that the “deserting” party moved to.
WARNING: Some of the information in the Divorce Petitions may be difficult to read. There may be shocking claims, especially related to your ancestors’ physical and emotional cruelty, or other behavior. Be prepared.
In most cases, I did not include the links to County Courts, where most divorce records are now processed and the documents held. But these divorce documents for most states are partially held in either state archives or county clerk records. So you may wish to avail yourself of these county clerk an court archives, especially those that can be searched online.
Note: Please be aware that if you find a desired divorce record in an index, that the holder of the actual materials (e.g., archive, county court, etc.) may charge a small fee to send you a copy of the material itself.
Note: Some of the links listed below take you to a FamilySearch Collection of digital images. Near the bottom of the page under Film/Digital Notes is the name of each sub-collection. If there is a camera icon at the right of the name (in the Format column) then the collections’ images are browsable. If there is a camera with a key icon, it is only available at a Family History Center or affiliated library. If there is a film reel icon, then it is only available in microfilm format, not digital. Make sure that you are logged in to the site, so that the collections that are browsable from anywhere will be displayed.
Below are links to the state’s divorce record and index collections that are available for free online.
(Updated March, 2021; recently added links are in BOLD):
- Adair County, Divorce Cards, 1917-1919
- Benton County Divorce Index 1906-1925
- Benton County, Divorce Records, 1906-1925
- Carroll County Decree of Divorces and attachments, 1891-1908
- Cedar County Divorce Record Indexes
- Clayton County Divorce Index 1906-1914
- Clayton County Divorce Index 1914-1920
- Des Moines County Chancery Record, v. A-C, 1839-1855
- Des Moines County Divorce Records, 1835-1950
- Fayette County Records of Divorce, 1906-1980
- Grundy County Divorce Records Index 1904-1946
- Hancock County Divorce Record Index (1901-1986)
- Henry County Record of Divorces, 1907-1992
- Ida County Newspaper Index (Divorce references)
- Iowa County Miscellaneous Records, 1877-1932
- Iowa State Divorce Records, 1906-1937
- Iowa, Divorce Records, 1938-1952
- Jackson County Divorces
- Jackson County Divorce Records, 1848-1865; Index, 1906-1984
- Johnson County Divorce Records, 1851-1953
- Johnson County Probate Records, 1851-1914
- Madison County Divorce Indexes
- Madison County, Divorce Records, 1855-1938
- Muscatine County Divorce Records, 1907-1950
- Muscatine County, Divorce Applications Index 1840-1907
- Page County Divorce Indexes 1900-1921
- Plymouth County Divorces
- Pocahontas County Record of Divorces, 1907-2001
- Polk County Probate Records (includes divorces), 1852-1967
- Pottawattamie County Divorces
- Pottawattamie County Divorce Records, 1906-1956
- Ringgold County Divorce Records, 1893-1911
- Story County Divorce Index 1854-1924
- Vinton Eagle Divorce Notices 1855 – 1880
- Wapello County Divorces, 1906-1951
- Wayne County Divorce Records, 1907-2012
- Webster County Divorces, 1856-1924
Good Luck and Happy Hunting!
For other Free Iowa Links, click on the category of interest: