How to Notarize Divorce Papers
By Beverly Bird
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Not all divorce documents require notarization. Many petitions and motions only require that you sign a certification page, attesting under oath that everything you’ve said in the document is true. Financial forms generally require a notary to confirm that it’s really your signature on the document, however. A notary is legally liable if she doesn't confirm your identity and someone else signs papers alleging to be you.
Review your paperwork. Make sure you haven’t left any sections blank, with the exception of the space for your signature. Some sections may not apply to you, such as those asking you to identify your children when you don’t have any. Write “N/A” or “not applicable” in these places. The notary will want to know that no one else is going to add information to the document after she’s signed it and has stated under oath that you completed the form.
Collect proof of your identity. Some notaries may require more than one form of ID, especially if neither has a photo on it. Acceptable identification usually includes your driver’s license, a school or employment ID, or passport. It should be of recent issue and bear your signature. In the case of a driver’s license, it should not have expired yet.
Find a notary public. Bank employees, law office employees and courthouse staff are usually notaries. Call ahead to ask about cost. Notaries usually charge a nominal fee, and some may require that you make an appointment. Courthouse staff will usually do it for free, but you might have to wait in line for a while.
Appear before the notary with your completed document and your ID. She may ask you a few questions to confirm to her satisfaction that you are who you say you are, especially if your ID does not include a photo. Sign the document in her presence. She’ll compare your signature with that on your identification and notarize the document for you.
If your document requires notarization, it will clearly state this beneath the space for your signature. There will be an area for the notary to sign, indicating that you personally appeared before her, proved your identity and signed the document of your own free will.
Beverly Bird is a practicing paralegal who has been writing professionally on legal subjects for over 30 years. She specializes in family law and estate law and has mediated family custody issues.