What Is a Divorce Verification?
By Ciele Edwards
After you dissolve your marriage, there will likely come a time when you will need to prove that you are divorced. A divorce verification is an official government document that serves as proof that you are no longer legally married. The form of divorce verification you request and the method for obtaining it will vary depending on the state where you were divorced.
A divorce verification letter differs from a divorce decree in that it does not detail the terms of your divorce. Rather, a divorce verification letter merely documents that you and your former spouse are no longer married. If you have a copy of your divorce decree, this also serves as verification that your marriage was legally terminated.
Obtaining Divorce Verification
While each state has its own requirements for individuals requesting verification of their divorces, most states will allow you to request the document online. You can also pick up a divorce verification letter in person. You must pay a fee which will vary depending on your state.
Each state provides divorce verification through a different department. Some states, such as Illinois, provide divorce verification notices through the Department of Public Health while others do so through the state vital records office. Contact the county clerk if you are not certain which department to contact when ordering verification of your divorce.
Not all divorces are eligible for divorce verification. Some states provide verification letters only for divorces that occurred before or after a certain date. Texas, for example, will provide divorce verification letters only for divorces that occurred after 1968.
Some states, such as California, will issue a certificate of record proving that a divorce was filed. A certificate of record, however, does not prove that a divorce was ever finalized; thus, may not serve as sufficient proof that the divorce occurred. When requesting divorce verification, take care that you are requesting a formal record that the divorce was finalized rather than a record of the case filing.
If you are not eligible for a divorce verification or prefer to use your formal divorce decree as proof that your marriage was terminated, you will naturally need a copy of the decree. If you do not have one, you must contact the court that issued the divorce decree. While the divorce itself is a matter of public record, a divorce decree contains sensitive private information. Thus, you will need to provide proof of your identity – often in the form of photo identification – before the court will provide you with a copy of your divorce decree.
- Texas Department of State Health Services: Verification of a Marriage or Divorce
- Illinois Department of Public Health: Application for Verification of Dissolution of Marriage Record Files
- California Department of Public Health: Obtaining Certified Copies of Marriage and Divorce Records
- New York State Department of Health: Divorce Certificates
Ciele Edwards holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and has been a consumer advocate and credit specialist for more than 10 years. She currently works in the real-estate industry as a consumer credit and debt specialist. Edwards has experience working with collections, liens, judgments, bankruptcies, loans and credit law.