A divorce decree is a court order ending a marriage. A divorce certificate is a vital document proving a divorce occurred. How you get copies depends on which document you want.
When you need a divorce decree or a divorce certificate
The decree establishes specific terms of the divorce. You will need a copy of it to get legal or government help enforcing decisions about:
- The division of a couple’s assets and debts
- Spousal alimony or maintenance
- Custody, visitation, and child support
Many state vital records offices provide a divorce certificate. The divorce certificate gives both people’s names and the location and date of the divorce. It may be all you need to:
- Change your name
How to get a copy of a divorce decree
Contact the clerk of the county or city where you got divorced. They will tell you how to order a copy, the cost, and what information you need to supply.
How to get a copy of a divorce certificate
Contact the state vital records office where the divorce took place to learn if that state issues divorce certificates. They will tell you the cost, what information you need to supply, and how to get a copy online, by mail, or in person.