Getting a copy of divorce papers filed in the United States is a fairly routine process. The uniform policy across America is the recording of a divorce decree by a court clerk in the city, town, county, and state records and for the divorce information to be given to the appropriate state’s vital statistics office.
How To Get a Copy of Divorce Papers in The United States
Copies of non-certified divorce papers are available to both parties in the divorce and to immediate family members. Only the named husband or wife in a divorce is allowed to request a certified copy of the divorce papers. A certified decree will have a court or state embossed seal that can be used for legal matters that require proof of a final divorce decree such as a re-marriage, an estate settlement, or for the distribution of a will.
Individuals seeking a copy of divorce papers need to apply to the vital statistics office in the state where the divorce was granted. A request for a copy of a divorce can be made by phone, online, by mail, and in person. A state’s requirement for supporting documentation, any applicable state processing fees, and any state-specific forms cannot be provided online and will need to be hand-carried or mailed in. The office mailing address and location for each state can be found at http://vitalrec.com/divorce.html. Most states will want justification for the request. If there is no block on a form for an explanation; a written or typed letter can be attached to the form request.
The person asking for a copy of the papers will need to be prepared to provide some basic information about the divorce. This request for data may include:
Full names of both the husband and the wife
- Wife’s maiden name
- Date of the divorce (or time frame of the divorce)
in either month of a particular year or a time span of a few years
Municipality where the divorce was granted
What relationship the requester has with the divorced parties
What is the reason for requesting a copy
Non-certified copies can be utilized as documents to replace lost or misplaced divorce decrees; to show that the divorce was finalized; or for family lineage and historical files.
Mailed requests may take 4 to 6 weeks to complete, while the waiting time for in-person requests can be completed within 10 working days.