How to Unseal Birth Records

By Shelby Winchell
Unsealing birth records can require court approval.

courthouse image by Michael Shake from Fotolia.com

Getting your birth records unsealed will require some groundwork. You will have to petition the court where you were born, or if you were adopted, you'll have to determine in what city your adoption was finalized and filed. Once you figure out that information, you will have to go through the legal system to access your records. If you are under the age of 18 and are seeking to unseal your birth records, you will need to get written permission from your parent or guardian before starting the process. Once a judge receives the paperwork, it may take a few weeks to a few months for the information to be processed in a court of law.

Go to the county courthouse where you were either born or where your adoption was finalized and locate the Civil Court department. If there is no Civil Court department, ask someone who works in the courthouse where sealed birth records are kept.

Ask the clerk for the necessary paperwork to unseal your birth records. If you were adopted, the paperwork is commonly referred to as the Adoption Records Unsealing Packet. When any court document is sealed, clerks are not authorized to answer any personal questions about these records until they are unsealed.

Fill out the necessary paperwork. You will need to include your full name, date of birth and explain why you are unsealing the records. Be sure to include your maiden name if you are married. If you were adopted, include your adoptive parents names and your adoptive name if it was changed from your birth name. The court may also ask if an attorney is assisting you in the process.

Get the completed paperwork notarized.

Make copies of the paperwork for your records and return it to the clerk's office for processing.

Appear before a judge to explain why you are seeking this information. Not all county courts require you to speak to a judge, but you should be prepared either way.

About the Author

Shelby Winchell has worked as a journalist for more than seven years, covering the economy, political figures and celebrities for various websites. She has a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article