There are several reasons why a person may need to prove they are divorced. The most common reason is for a person to reclaim her maiden name for her social security card, passport or credit cards. It may also be required for bank accounts, military IDs and school transcripts, or if either party wants to remarry.
A divorce records request letter will help the person get the records to prove they are divorced or to prove their marriage is annulled or dissolved. In some states, the divorce records will only be given to the ex-wife, ex-husband or their legal representative to protect the privacy of the parties and the families involved.
Divorce records are public records. This means that anyone can get a copy. In some states, two types of copies of divorce decrees are given. These are an authorized copy and an informational copy. Only specific, qualified people such as the person named on the document, that person’s parent or their legal representatives will be given an authorized copy. All others will be given an informational copy that clearly states in large letters that it is not a valid document for establishing identity. Both of these copies are certified copies.
The first step in requesting a legal document is for the applicant to find the official keeper of the record in their state of the document they want. For a divorce record, the court that made the decree may be the official keeper. The records may also be kept by the county clerk or the Department of Health and Vital Records.
The applicant can ask the clerk of court to find out if the court or record department is the keeper. For example, in California, divorce records are kept in the Superior Court of the county where the divorce was decreed. The records should be in the civil records department or the family law division. In Florida, all public records are kept in the Official Record Index that is kept by the county clerk. The applicant will need to have the title of the document and the date on which it was decreed.
Obtaining Court Records
States have different rules for obtaining court records. There is usually an official form that needs to be filled out that may be found online. The applicant needs to find out how to apply for divorce records in his or her state. Most requests can be made in person or by mail. Since it may not be convenient to go to the courthouse in person, a divorce records request letter is the best option. If the officer denies a copy of the divorce record to the applicant, he or she may request a reason for denial in writing.
In some states, the information required to make a divorce records request can be found online. It can be found with a search on the Department of Health and Vital Records or the Superior Court website at accessing court records then to locate files. The search can be conducted with the case number or district attorney case number or party name. If it is not possible to find the file, the applicant will need to visit the courthouse personally and request a search based on the information he or she has.
When sending a divorce records request letter, the applicant needs to include:
• The names of the parties divorced and their birth dates in order to distinguish them from someone who shares the same name
• The location where the divorce was decreed
• The purpose for which the copy is required
• If the applicant is a man, the ex-wife’s maiden name should also be included to help the record’s department locate the document
• A self-addressed, stamped envelope should be included
• A check for the amount of the search fee should also be included with the letter. This may be $10 - $20. The applicant can call the county courthouse to find out the amount of the fee
• The applicant’s current address, phone number and driver’s license number
• If the applicant is not one of the divorced parties, his or her relationship to the parties needs to be given
The divorce records should be sent to the applicant within a few weeks. If more than two weeks have passed without any feedback, the applicant should call the Vital Records Office or Superior Court to ensure that the letter was received.
Below is a request letter for divorce records. It needs to give all the above information in a clear and formal presentation and be as concise as possible to make it easy for the recipient to understand. If the applicant requires the documents on a specific date, it is recommended to apply several weeks in advance of that date because there are often processing backlogs in government offices. Applicants can call the office in question and ask about the waiting time. In some cases, the wait is up to six months.
Sample Request Letter for Divorce Records
Name of Applicant
Address of Applicant
City, State, Zip Code
RE: Request for divorce record case number NUMBER
To Whom It May Concern:
This is a formal request for a certified copy of the divorce decree between myself, Name of Applicant and Name of Husband that was decreed in Name of County, STATE. The following information will assist in locating the document:
The Date of the Divorce
The Type of Final Decree
I am requesting these documents to prove my divorce for a job application to Name of Company. I have enclosed a check for AMOUNT to cover the request fees. Thank you for attention to my request. I have enclosed a self-addressed stamped envelope for your convenience.
Signature of Applicant
Printed Name of Applicant
List of Enclosures: Check, Self-addresses Stamped Envelope