Who has legal access to your record(s)?

Colleen A. Fontana, State Registrar
State Office of Vital Records
July 28, 2014 

As defined in Rhode Island General Law (RIGL) 23-3-23 Disclosure of Records, only the following people have legal access to a birth, death, fetal death and/or marriage record until the record becomes a public record (100 years for births, fetal deaths and marriages and 50 years after date of death);

  • The person whose record is recorded (birth and marriage records)
  • His or her issue (child, child’s child, etc)
  • Parent or Guardian (must have original proof of guardianship)
  • Spouse (or legally registered partner)
  • Grandparent
  • Sibling
  • Others in the conduct of their official duties:
    • Attorneys
    • Title examiners
    • Members of legally incorporated genealogical societies
    • Funeral Directors (death records only as part of the funeral service)
    • Informant listed on a death record
    • Persons requiring information for the determination or protection of a personal or property right
    • Court Order

It is unlawful for any person to permit inspection of disclose information contained in vital records, or to copy or issue a copy of all or part of any vital record except as listed above and/or as defined in regulations. All requests are subject to the same fees.

Please note:

  • Other restrictions/rules may apply in our ability to provide you with a specific record, such as, but not limited to,
    • If there is no father on the birth record, then only the child, if 18 years or older, or the mother/legal guardian has legal access to that birth record per RIGL §23-3-23 (c)
    • The record may be in the midst of being corrected either voluntarily or through a court order
    • The record is damaged and needs to be re-created
  • We do not provide any information over the telephone and/or via the internet.

Rhode Island Department of Health, Three Capitol Hill, Providence, RI 02908-5097 www.health.ri.gov