The divorce certificate is a vital record issued by the state government offices stating the dissolution of a marriage between two parties. This document includes information such as the complete names of both former spouses, and the date and place of the divorce.
Read below about the difference between the divorce decree and divorce certificate, what they are needed for, and how to apply for a certified copy.
For your convenience, you can process online requests through a government-approved resource that CityDirectory.us has partnered with to provide you this service: VitalChek Network, Inc. An additional fee is charged by VitalChek for this service, and all major credit cards are accepted, including American Express®, Discover®, MasterCard® or Visa®.
It is important not to confuse the divorce decree with the divorce certificate:
The most important purpose for a divorce decree is simply to ensure a divorce has been legalized by the signature of a Judge in a Court of Law, and therefore, be able to legally claim all obligations to which the parties agreed in the divorce process.
A divorce certificate may be needed for a number of purposes, such as getting a legal name change (e.g. if the wife wishes to take back her maiden name), getting remarried, applying for a permanent residence permit or Green card, getting or renewing a travel visa or passport, to show you are single in inheritance procedures, for changing beneficiaries on insurance policies, for changing savings and checking accounts or credit cards to one of the spouses name only, etc.
To get a certified copy of a divorce decree, you will need to contact the clerk of the court or the county clerk’s office at the county or city where the divorce was granted. Usually it is only possible for the two parties in the divorce or their lawyers to get a copy of the divorce decree.
If you wish to get either a simple or a certified copy of a divorce certificate, you will need to contact the Vital Records office in the state where the divorce was granted. Below you will find a list of all the offices located in your State of interest:
Alternatively, a divorce record may be obtained from the county clerk at the county where marriage dissolution occurred. Depending on the place where the request is made, i.e. in the State Archives or at a local county office, records may vary widely in date and availability.
The application procedures, fees and processing times depend on the State or place of issuance, and they can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
To avoid an incomplete or delayed application process, the information you should have at hand when contacting the vital records office per mail or when presenting yourself in person is the following:
In some counties, the applicant will be requested to provide his or her driver’s license number and issuing state.
It is also possible to order your vital records online through VitalChek, an authorized agency for the remote ordering of official copies or replacements of government-issued records. Information needed to place an order at their website is same as the aforementioned:
If your divorce occurred abroad, but your permanent residence is in the United States, you will need to contact the relevant American Embassy or Consulate to get a copy of your divorce decree. Also, if the country where the divorce took place is a member of the Hague Convention on the Authentication of Documents, it is possible for you to bring the divorce decree to a U.S. Embassy or consulate for authentication or certification.
If you want to get a copy of your divorce certificate, you may contact directly the civil registrar or court in the overseas country where the divorce was granted. If needed, the U.S. Embassy or Consulate of the foreign country in the USA may assist you on how to obtain copies of this official document.
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Administrative Procedures in other countries: