Obtaining Marriage and Divorce Records
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What is a Marriage or Divorce Record?
The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), under the Center for Disease Control (CDC), collects certain information concerning marriage and divorce in its population surveys. This includes:
- Information on out-of-wedlock births
- Marital status of the population
- Summary counts of marriages and divorces
The main information that the NCHS collects is the total number of marriages and divorces. The NCHS has also gathered information on cohabitation, marriage, divorce, and remarriage in its surveys. For other marriage and divorce statistics, you may also contact the U.S. Bureau of the Census.
Where Can I Obtain Marriage or Divorce Records?
There should be an official certificate or your marriage or divorce on file in the locality where you were married/divorced. It will be filed in either a State vital statistics office or another local office.
How Can I Obtain My Marriage or Divorce Records?
If you want to get a copy of your records, you should write to or visit the vital statistics office in the locality where you were married/divorced. You should follow these steps:
- Write to the vital statistics office in the locality where you were married/divorced
- Remember that some state offices may not have your marriage or divorce records. For example, in Arizona, you must contact the clerk of the Superior Court in the county where the marriage license was issued or where the divorce was granted
- For each copy that you ask for, make sure your check or money order is made out for the correct total amount (you may wish to call the office to make sure how much you need to pay)
- All names and addresses should be typed or printed in the letter
What Information Do I Need to Include?
You should include:
- The bride and groom's full names (or husband and wife's)
- The date of the marriage/divorce/annulment
- The place of marriage/divorce/annulment
- The type of final decree (for divorce records)
- The reason why you need a copy of the records
- Your relationship to the couple (if you are not the husband or wife)
Do I Need a Lawyer Experienced with Marriage/Divorce Records Issues?
An attorney would be able to tell you how to obtain marriage/divorce records and may provide guidance on how to deal with government agencies. However, the process is fairly straightforward as long as you know the locality where the marriage or divorce took place.
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Last Modified: 08-09-2011 01:41 PM PDT
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