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How to get a copy of a divorce certificate

Updated February 21, 2017

A divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage recognised by the state. Divorces are finalised in a state's courts. The office of vital records or the court in the state where the divorce took place will keep a copy of the divorce decree or certificate. You can order a copy of your divorce record any time. Be aware, however, that some states only maintain divorce records in courthouse, not at the state's vital records office.

Go to the office of vital records or the courthouse in the state where the divorce was finalised. This is the only state that will have a record of the divorce. State vital records offices have a website and an office in the state capital.

Fill out the form to get a copy of the divorce certificate or decree. Pick up a form in person or online from the vital records office or online from the court. Not all courts, however, will make the form available online. Include the full name of the husband, the full maiden name of the wife, the address of both parties at the time the divorce finalised, the date and place of the marriage and the reason you want the record. Be sure to sign the form.

Show proper identification at the state office or courthouse. Produce a driver's license or military ID. Submit a copy of your identification, if you're ordering the divorce record by mail. The husband or wife in the divorce are the only ones who can order a copy of the divorce record. Show proof of a legal order giving you the right to a divorce record, if you're not a party to the divorce.

Pay the applicable fee, which will vary by state. Include a check or money order when you submit the application by mail.

Tip

You may also request a copy of the divorce certificate from the court that finalised the divorce. You will also have to complete a form, show proper identification or a court order and pay all applicable fees.

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About the Author

Si Kingston has been an online content contributor since 2004, with work appearing on websites such as MadeMan. She is a professional screenwriter and young-adult novelist and was awarded the Marion-Hood Boesworth Award for Young Fiction in 2008. Kingston holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mills College.