How to Find a Divorce Decree in New York State

By Jackie Whalen - Updated April 06, 2017
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There are two types of divorce records in New York state: divorce decrees and divorce certificates. Divorce decrees are filed in the county court where the decree was issued and must be requested in person; divorce certificates - available for divorces granted after January 1, 1963 - and can be ordered by mail, telephone or online from the New York Department of Health. Only the husband and wife involved in the divorce, or a person with a court order, can obtain a divorce certificate or decree copy.

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In Person

To retrieve a divorce decree in person, visit the clerk of the county court where the decree was issued. If your divorce occurred in New York before January 1, 1963, this is your only option. Divorce certificates were not issued before that date, so telephone, internet or mail orders are not available.

By Telephone or Online

If your divorce occurred after January 1, 1963, you can order a copy of your divorce certificate by calling 1-877-854-4481. The New York State Department of Health is partnered with a company called VitalChek for all phone orders. The total cost to receive a divorce certificate by phone is $68.00 as of April 2017. The certificate itself is $45.00, plus VitalChek's charge of $8.00 per transaction, plus a $15.00 priority handling charge. You will receive your certified copy within 5 to 7 business days of placing your order. If your divorce occurred after January 1, 1963, you can order a copy of your divorce certificate online directly from VitalChek. The total cost to receive a divorce certificate online is the same as the cost for phone orders.

Order by Mail

Ordering a copy of your divorce certificate by mail is also an option, if your divorce occurred after January 1, 1963. You can download and print the appropriate form from the Order By Mail page of the Department of Health's website. The fee is $30.00 for regular processing and you will receive your copy within 6-8 weeks. For regular handling, mail your form to:

New York State Department of Health Vital Records
Section Certification Unit
P.O. Box 2602
Albany, NY 12220-2602.

The fee for priority handling is $45.00 and you will receive your copy within 2 to 3 weeks. For priority processing, mail your form to:

New York State Department of Health Vital Records
Section Certification Unit
800 North Pearl Street
Menands, NY 12204.

About the Author

Based in Buffalo, N.Y., Jackie Whalen has been writing since 2007. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in religious studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is currently a third-year law student.

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