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Obtaining Marriage and Divorce Records

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What Is a Marriage or Divorce Record?

The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) collects certain information concerning marriage and divorce in its population surveys. This information typically 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.

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 the parties were married or 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 someone want to get a copy of marriage or divorce records, they should write to or visit the vital statistics office in the locality where they were married or divorced. Consider taking these steps: 

  • Write to the vital statistics office
  • Remember, that some state offices may not have marriage or divorce records.
  • For each copy that is asked for, make sure your check or money order is made out for the correct total amount
  • 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
  • The date of the marriage, divorce, or annulment
  • The place of marriage, divorce, or annulment
  • The type of final decree
  • The reason why the records are needed
  • Relationship to the couple, if requesting party is not the husband or wife

Do I Need a Lawyer?

A family lawyer would be able to tell you how to obtain marriage or divorce records and may provide guidance on how to deal with government agencies.

Photo of page author Matthew Izzi

, LegalMatch Legal Writer and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 09-26-2014 10:36 AM PDT

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