Who Can Obtain a Copy of Divorce Decree?
Divorce decrees are public records, so, in general, anyone can request it if they pay the fee and submit the required forms. However, some U.S. states seek a personal affidavit, signed and notarized document from one of the spouses, granting permission for you to obtain a copy.
The sponsoring spouse (the U.S. citizen or a green-card holder) and the spouse seeking a green card must provide a photocopy of their final divorce decree. Also, you can provide a certified copy. You don’t have to submit the original document with your application, but you have to bring it in person to your green card interview.
When Marriage Ended for Other Reasons
If a marriage ended with a spouse’s death or by annulment, make sure to provide a photocopy of the death certificate or certificate of annulment, depending on the circumstances.
Don’t forget to bring the original or certified copies of these documents to the green card interview.
Where to Get a Divorce Decree
Divorce in the U.S.
If you filed for divorce in the U.S., the court that issued the document holds the record about it, and it could provide you with the divorce decree or obtain a copy from the vital records office.
Obtaining the Copy from the Court
You may contact the “clerk of the court” in the county where the marriage occurred.
Obtaining a copy from the vital records office
The other way is to contact the “county clerk’s office” in the state where your divorce is finalized.
Here you can find government vital records offices. This government record includes marriage licenses and certifications, marriage decrees, and birth and death certificates. Also, this base of government offices shows the current fees for requesting the paperwork. Not that payment usually must be made by attorney’s check, money order, bank certified check, or bank cashier’s check.
If more than ten years have passed, the court clerk’s office may no longer have a copy of the divorce decree. You can check the vital records department, office of vital statistics, or registrar in this case. Alternatively, you can contact your state department of records or registrar.
If your marriage ended in another country and you are in the U.S., you can contact the country’s embassy or nearest consulate that will instruct you on how to get a copy of the divorce decree.
If you filed for divorce outside the U.S., search for information about the issuing authority.
If you mail a request to the state’s records department, make sure to include the names of each spouse, the date of the request and the divorce, the location, the type of final decree, and the purpose. In addition, of course, the agency will need your name and address, and you can mail a copy of your driver’s license or another identification document.
Translation of Divorce Papers
If you possess original divorce records in any other language than English, you will have to obtain a certified English translation for these documents.