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What is Included in a Divorce Certificate?

At times, it is necessary to seek copies of divorce records for either a legal dissolution of your own marriage or even someone else’s. Reasons for doing so may include simple genealogical research or even proving that you are no longer married to your ex-spouse. Divorce records include official divorce certificates and divorce decrees, which contain different types of information. Here, you’ll discover what information is typically included in a divorce certificate, where to find it and who can access this information.

Your Divorce Certificate is Part of the Final Divorce Record

This certificate, in conjunction with the divorce decree signed by the judge presiding over a divorce, constitutes a couple’s final divorce record. Official copies of these records are given to the attorneys representing the petitioner and respondent, as well as these two parties directly. Often, the state government will hold a copy of the certificate while the decree is held with the county offices where the divorce occurred.

What Information Is Found in the Certificate?

These certificates generally only include verifying information such as the names of the petitioner and respondent and the date and location where the final divorce decree was signed and filed. Some certificates may also include the names of the representing attorneys and the presiding judge.

Often, this general information is enough for a researching party to simply confirm or deny the occurrence of a divorce, or determine what specific local government office they should contact for further research. However, much of the information found at the county level will not be accessible by the general public. 

Where Can I Find a Certificate of Divorce?

A certificate of divorce is considered a matter of public record, and is often held with the corresponding state’s Vital Record Office or Department of Health. If the divorce happened many years ago, the State Archives may have original copies of the certificate you need. This can often lead you to further sources of information if you’re simply gathering information about your family members or past generations.

Who Can Access These Records?

Divorce certificates do not contain very personal identifying information such as social security numbers, addresses or even specific arrangements decided upon during the divorce. Because of this, the general public can usually access a certificate of divorce and request a copy for a fee. Many times, the corresponding state office can be contacted to provide a mere verification of a divorce when given the date and parties’ names involved.

These certificates can be found in the proper offices if you visit them in person, or the information included in them may also be accessible via the Internet. Depending upon your reasons for requesting the certificate and the information you need to gather, it may either provide the necessary answers to your questions or lead you to the correct office to find them.



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