How to obtain NYS public records by court order

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How to obtain NYS public records by court order

Postby anima87ag » 08 Feb 2012, 11:37

Hello to all!

I now have to obtain a death and birth record from New York State. One of the records is of a deceased relative and the other person is alive, but uncooperative.

Please advise on how to obtain by court order (procedure, cost, etc.), especially if you have experienced this situation.

Mille grazie!
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Re: How to obtain NYS public records by court order

Postby kontessa » 08 Feb 2012, 13:50

Here's a link to an informative thread: http://expatsinitaly.com/phpbbforum/vie ... +order+NYS

If you need the name of the attorney that assisted the OP, you can send me a pm - it was my attorney that provided her legal assistance.

Also, I thought that NYS had changed the rules for those needing certified death records in order to apply for dual citizenship. I may be mistaken, though, but it may be best to inquire. A good contact person for NYS - Linda Ortiz.

In re to the court order...have you received an official refusal from NYS when you requested the records? You may need this in order to request assistance via court order.
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Re: How to obtain NYS public records by court order

Postby anima87ag » 08 Feb 2012, 15:20

Thank you for the informative post!

I didn't expect the process to cost $3,000. Yes, I have received refusal from a town hall in Westchester County, NY which told me that my (estranged) father is the only person that collect those two records.

Now, I might be better off spending a few hundred to file a petition at the county court to force my relative to supply the documentation...



Also, I keep hearing that I do need the death certificate (NYS) of my Italian relative which seems rather unnecessary if I already have his birth and marriage records from Italy. Would your contact Linda Ortiz know the answer to this question? Do you have her email?

Thank you again. Please reply soon!
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Re: How to obtain NYS public records by court order

Postby kontessa » 08 Feb 2012, 17:28

anima87ag wrote:I didn't expect the process to cost $3,000.


You can always try to save money by filing the petition yourself.

anima87ag wrote:Also, I keep hearing that I do need the death certificate (NYS) of my Italian relative which seems rather unnecessary if I already have his birth and marriage records from Italy. Would your contact Linda Ortiz know the answer to this question?


It may seem unnecessary, but if the consulate requires a death record, then you may have to obtain one. The consulate would provide an answer to that type of question, not an employee with the NYS Health Dept.
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Re: How to obtain NYS public records by court order

Postby Italia1963 » 09 Feb 2012, 00:51

In New York State, the courts are broken up into 10 Districts. Each District usually has a Per Diem Office where a clerk will assist in giving you information on how to proceed in starting a court case without an attorney. They can not give you legal advice, but they do provide you with directions on what forms you need to present to the County Clerk to start a case. Their are quite a few steps you have to follow and failure to follow them correctly can have your case thrown out. That is why it is best to have an attorney, but if money is an issue, as long as you follow the procedures correctly, it really is not an overwhelming task to obtain a court order on your own. Good Luck.
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Re: How to obtain NYS public records by court order

Postby Italia1963 » 09 Feb 2012, 01:02

An additional thought.... You will not be going to court to order your relative to release documents in their posession. You will be getting a court order to have either the NYS Dept. of Health or NYC Dept. of Health (depending where your ancestor died) to release the long form certified copy of the death certificate. From what I can tell from reading these forums, the courts have no reason to deny your request since it is for a legitimate purpose.
Also, I have not yet had my interview with the consulate, but it is my understanding, that the birth, marriage and death certificates are required. Remember, just because something seems obvious to you, the Consulates seem to have a different logic that requires you to prove way beyond a shadow of a doubt that these ancestors are actually yours. It seems it is only when people actually had their interviews at the consulate, that the clerk did not ask for documents for a certain ancestor...but it is best to be over-prepared.
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Re: How to obtain NYS public records by court order

Postby anima87ag » 09 Feb 2012, 14:31

Thank you so much. You advice is very useful and now I think I have hope that the documents can be released for the purpose even if my relative is in opposition.

It's also valid to note, as you said, certain documents can seem irrelevant, but no way of telling until the actual interview. Even, my parents divorce decree seem unexpected since it there marital status shouldn't matter today.

Anyhow, when and where is your interview? Please keep me posted on your outcome. I'd be very curious.
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Re: How to obtain NYS public records by court order

Postby anima87ag » 09 Feb 2012, 14:36

On one hand, your response does pertain to the death record. So, the court order is for the NYS Dept of Health. But, in the case of my father's reluctancy to release his birth record, wouldn't that be a separate case? Or can I request his birth record from NYS Dept. of Health also (even though he is alive)?


Thanks again!
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Re: How to obtain NYS public records by court order

Postby Italia1963 » 09 Feb 2012, 21:13

You do not need to do two petitions..both the birth and death certificate can be obtained through one court case.

However, during the court case, it may come up if your father is alive and if so, the Judge may ask why he has not given his approval for its release. Each Judge is different and its possible the Judge may be reluctant to give his approval for the release of a document of a person who is alive but it all depends on which Judge you have.

Have you attempted yet to obtain these documents directly from the Dept of Health? its possible they may release them to you as I do not remember if they ask on the form if the person whose record you are requesting is alive.

I'm sure other members of this forum have had similar issues with a reluctant relative and hopefully they can give better advice on how they were able to overcome this problem.
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Re: How to obtain NYS public records by court order

Postby KarenChristino » 10 Feb 2012, 00:45

Have you tried getting the Death Certificate directly from NYS (not your local town or County)? Sometimes you get very different answers. See this link which states that children have a right to obtain the D.C. in NYS -- http://www.health.ny.gov/vital_records/death.htm

And you will also have a "documented right or claim" once you file with the Consulate and they return the letter asking for that documentation.

Birth Certificates are more challenging.
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Re: How to obtain NYS public records by court order

Postby anima87ag » 10 Feb 2012, 10:46

Thank you both for your input. My father is the single person that can claim both his birth record and my grandfather's death record (see below). I am afraid I might be forced to file a petition to obtain these two records.


Also, to Karen, if you can please explain how I can get the documented claim from the Consulate before my appointment (if plausible)?

My appointment in in June at the Consulate in London and I assumed that I had to be prepared with the information by that date.




(From NYS Dept of Health)

Who is eligible to obtain a death certificate copy?

The spouse, parent or child of the deceased
Other persons who have a:
documented lawful right or claim
documented medical need
New York State Court Order
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Re: How to obtain NYS public records by court order

Postby KarenChristino » 10 Feb 2012, 17:11

Anima,

I don't know what the London Consulate is like, but in New York others have reported that they will send you a letter following your appointment and listing the additional documents or corrections you need to obtain. Then you must either submit the documents or wait for another appointment and return. Unfortunately, I don't think that can be done before your first appointment.

In NYC, they allow all "blood relatives" access to D.C.s. NYS is different than NYC, but one might interpret "documented right or claim" to be your proof through birth records or otherwise that you are the grandchild. It doesn't hurt to submit an application or write them and see what they say. I received my grandparents' marriage record from a local NYS office with no problem. I also work for a lawyer and from time to time he requests death records from the state and has never had a problem obtaining them.

Perhaps others with experience obtaining DC's in NYS may add more?
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