Certified copies of divorce decrees are available from the Vital Records Office of the state in which the divorce was granted. You can submit your request by mail or in person. In some states, copies of divorce decrees are only available to the ex-husband, the ex-wife or one of their legal representatives to protect the privacy of the parties involved. Be prepared to wait a few weeks for your request to be processed. In exceptional cases you may be able to bypass the wait time by applying at the Vital Records Office in person, however this is not guaranteed.
Compose a letter outlining your request for a copy of your divorce decree. Be sure to include your full name, your ex-husband or ex-wife's full name, the date of your divorce, the place of your divorce and the purpose for which the copy is needed. It is wise to include your or your ex-wife's maiden name to help the state locate your records more easily. Include your current address and phone number, your driver's license number and the state where it was issued and date the request letter. If you are not the ex-husband or ex-wife, explain your relationship to them. Be sure to sign the letter.
Send the letter with a self-addressed stamped envelope and a copy of your government issued photo identification to the Vital Records Office in the state where your divorce was granted.
The copies of your divorce decree should be sent to you by mail. If a few weeks have passed and you have not received anything, call the Vital Records Office to ensure that the request was received.
- Keep request letters as concise and straight-forward as possible to ensure easy processing. If you need the documents for a particular date, it is best to apply well in advance as Vital Records Offices often encounter processing backlogs.
- Many states use the VitalChek network for vital records request processing. This will allow you to request copies of your divorce decree online.
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