Are Colorado Vital Records Open to the Public?
No. Colorado state statute (C.R.S. 25-2-117) specified that Colorado vital records are not public. In compliance with the Colorado Vital Statistics Regulations, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment maintains vital records such as marriage, divorce, birth, and death records. The Department is also responsible as the custodian for adoption records and other documents on a person's life events. These documents are available to eligible persons with a direct relationship to the person named on the record. However, the requester must provide information to facilitate the search and valid identification.
What are Vital Records in Colorado?
Colorado vital records are official documents that contain details of significant life events and personal information of state residents. They include birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates, divorce records, and other related documents. They are usually used for establishing identity and are relevant during legal proceedings and genealogical research.
How Do I Obtain Colorado Vital Records?
The agency in charge of maintaining records depends on the type of vital record. Typically, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Division of Certificates and Vital Records handles records requests. The first step in obtaining a Colorado vital record is finding the correct application request form, appropriate copy, and search fees.
Under state laws, only eligible persons may request vital records. These include the person named on the record, immediate family members, and the legal representatives of these eligible persons. Otherwise, a requester must provide a certified court order authorizing access to the record. Even at that, all requests for vital records in Colorado must be accompanied by primary proof of identification, including a driver's license or a US passport. Alternatively, the requester may provide two secondary proof of identification, such as a court order and motor vehicle title.
Publicly available vital records are also managed and disseminated by some third-party aggregate sites. These sites are generally not limited by geographical record availability and may serve as a reliable jump-off point when researching specific or multiple records. However, third-party sites are not government-sponsored. As such, record availability may differ from official channels. To find a record using the search engines on third-party sites, the requesting party will be required to provide:
- The location of the record in question, including the city, county, or state where the case was filed.
- The name of someone involved, provided it is not a juvenile.
What Do I Need to Search for Colorado Vital Records Online?
Generally, requesters who wish to obtain a record must know the basic facts associated with the record that custodians can use to search and retrieve the documents of interest. These details include:
- The name on the vital record
- The date the life event occurred
- The place (county or city) the event occurred
Besides these three details, the requester must also have a reason for the record request and provide valid proof of identification.
What's the Difference Between a Certified Record and a Certified Copy?
The standard practice in Colorado is to issue all vital records as certified copies — a document that the record custodian confirms as a true copy of the original by signing the document. Certified copies of vital records will suffice for most purposes within Colorado if the purpose is to establish identity. However, getting an authenticated document is necessary when the records are required in a foreign country. An authenticated copy of a vital record is one signed and sealed by the Secretary of the State.
Are Colorado Marriage Records Public Information?
Colorado marriage records are considered private and confidential in Colorado. However, publicly available records exist for marriages documented prior to 1960. Interested persons may view these public marriage records for statistical and genealogical purposes.
How Do I Obtain Marriage Records in Colorado?
Colorado marriage records can be obtained by visiting or sending a mail request to the record custodian's office—usually the office of the county clerk and recorder where the marriage license was issued.
However, before physically visiting the office location, it is best practice to call and schedule an appointment. And on the appointment day, the requester must provide the basic information about the record as well as a government-issued ID supporting eligibility. The basic information needed includes:
- The names of the parties involved
- The date of marriage
- County of issuance
- Names of witnesses (if applicable)
How to Get a Colorado Marriage Certificate
To get a Colorado marriage certificate, contact the county clerk and recorder's office where the marriage license was issued. These certificates may also be available at the state level through the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. However, eligibility is limited to the named individuals, their immediate family members, legal representatives, or those with a court order.
Are Colorado Divorce Records Public Information?
Colorado divorce records generated between 1900 to 1939 and then 1975 to the present day are available to the public for genealogical and statistical purposes, but recent divorce records are closed from public access. District court clerks are responsible for generating and maintaining divorce records in Colorado.
How Do I Obtain Divorce Records in Colorado?
Generally, persons looking for divorce records in Colorado have three options viz-a-viz:
- Searching online databases maintained by district courts and third-party data collectors
- Visiting the courthouse in person
- Preparing and sending a mail-in request
The information needed to maximally explore the featured channels include:
- Names of the parties involved
- Case number
- Approximate date of filing
- A government-issued ID supporting eligibility
- Applicable fees
Interested persons are required to contact the appropriate clerk before visiting the courthouse. The fee schedule varies among judicial districts and must be paid in full before a record request is processed. The districts that offer the mail-in options often require that the requester prepares a written request containing sufficient information that describes the divorce record. Some clerks provide application forms for this purpose. Either way, the requester must enclose the application packet in a self-addressed stamped envelope and mail the packet to the appropriate location.
How to Get a Certified Divorce Certificate in Colorado
Colorado divorce certificates are available at the district court where the divorce was granted or the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Only the named individuals, immediate family, legal representatives, or those with a court order can obtain a divorce certificate.
Are Colorado Birth Records Public Information?
Colorado birth records are generally limited to authorized individuals, i.e., the person named on the records, immediate family members, and legal representatives of these individuals. Likewise, persons armed with a court order authorizing access may order birth certificates from the record custodian.
How Do I Obtain Birth Records in Colorado?
Birth records issued from 1905 to present are available at the county vital records office. Besides processing requests for birth records, the vital records office also handles requests for birth certificate replacement. Eligible requesters can obtain birth records in person, by mail, or by Phone: (where applicable). All requesters must provide a valid government-issued photo ID to get the birth certificate of interest.
Are Birth Certificates Public in Colorado?
No. Colorado birth certificates are not public records. The Colorado Revised Statutes §25-2-117 outlines the provisions for the disclosure of birth certificates, restricting access to the individual, immediate family, legal representatives, or those with a court order.
Are Colorado Death Records Public Information?
Colorado death records in Colorado are not public information. Ergo, unauthorized persons may not obtain these records. Only eligible persons, i.e., the deceased's immediate family members and the funeral home, may order death certificates in Colorado. Likewise, the legal representatives for the aforementioned persons and persons armed with a certified court order may obtain death records. Although death records of recently deceased persons are not available for public perusal, this is not the case with archived death records. These public death records are available for genealogical purposes, and interested persons may perform a death record search by name for the record of interest.
How Do I Obtain Death Records in Colorado?
Death records from 1964 are available at the county vital records office. Eligible persons can obtain death records by submitting a request in person, by mail, or by Phone: (if applicable). Individuals who cannot visit the county vital records office in person may send mail requests by completing a death record request form and attaching the appropriate proof of identification. The standard fee schedule is the same with birth records—$20 for the first copy and $13 for each additional copy of the same record ordered simultaneously. For a certified copy of a death certificate, the requester may be required to pay a nominal fee to cover the cost of notarization.
How Do I Obtain Sealed Vital Records in Colorado?
Vital records, including marriage, divorce, birth, and death, are deemed private and confidential. As such, they are sealed and unavailable for public inspection. Persons who wish to access these records must first petition a state judge and cite substantial reasons that outweigh the individual rights of the persons named on the vital record of interest. If the reasons are legally satisfactory, the judge will issue a court order authorizing the requester's access to the particular document of interest.
What are Vital Statistics in Colorado?
In Colorado, vital statistics are critical in public health planning, resource allocation, and policy development. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment collects and maintains this data. Essentially, it is a collation of all the deaths, births, marriages, divorces, and similar vital events occurring in the state.