Several types of divorce records in North Carolina are available by request to eligible applicants and their families. These divorce documents include a decree, divorce certificate or a full record/case file. These marriage and divorce records are often a requirement when couples need to submit proof of legal separation. When applicants need to obtain a copy of divorce papers, they may submit a request online, in person or by mail. If customers wish to get a copy of divorce certificate documents in person or by mail, they must submit an application to the State Office of Vital Records under the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), or they may find divorce records by visiting the Clerk of Court for the county in which the divorce was filed. Alternately, customers can get a copy of their divorce record online here. To learn more about how to find divorce records in North Carolina, and to discover the importance of getting a copy of divorce documents, review the sections below.
Types of North Carolina Divorce Documents
NC divorce papers include a certificate, decree of divorce or a complete record. Each of these marriage and divorce papers act as proof of legal separation, but certain legal entities may request one type of divorce record over the other. A divorce certificate, for instance, contains the least amount of information, as it states that a couple is divorcing, along with the time and place of the separation. However, divorce certificates are the most common of the three documents, as they are often a requirement when completing a legal name change or when remarrying. Applicants can order a copy of their divorce record here.
A divorce decree copy, however, contains additional information, including the specific terms of the separation, custody agreements, spousal support or alimony information and payment amounts. NC divorce records are the most comprehensive of the three dissolution of marriage documents, as they include files and reports from the entire separation process. Since a record of divorce contains the most amount of information, it also acts as a case file.
When do I need my divorce papers in North Carolina?
Residents often need to submit NC dissolution records whenever they wish to change their legal name after a legal separation, or if they plan to remarry. In some instances, a specific divorce document may be needed, but in most cases, a certificate of dissolution will serve as sufficient proof of the legal separation. For instance, certificates of divorce or a certified copy of divorce decree may be a requirement in situations such as the following:
- Completing a name change through the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
- Changing the name on a Social Security card
- Challenging a decision in court
- Modifying bank accounts or insurance policies
After a legal separation, applicants can request a copy of their NC divorce record here.
How to Get Divorce Papers in North Carolina
Customers who wish to order a copy of divorce papers in North Carolina may request a certified or uncertified divorce record, depending on whether they need the document for legal purposes or not. Certified divorce documents are a requirement when completing legal transactions (such as a name change), as they contain the State Registrar’s signature and a raised Vital Records seal. However, a certified divorce search is only available to certain eligible family members, such as the individuals listed on the original NC certificate of divorce, or the direct ancestors or descendants of those individuals. All divorce certificate applicants must submit proof of eligibility and identity before they may obtain a certified copy. Furthermore, an uncertified divorce record search is available to customers who do not meet the eligibility requirements for obtaining a certified document. However, these public record divorce searches are for informational purposes only.
There are several ways to obtain an uncertified or certified copy of divorce decree documents, certificates, or other divorce records in North Carolina. As such, eligible applicants may search divorce records online, in person or by mail. To learn more about how to get a copy of divorce papers, review the methods below.
Certified online divorce records are available to eligible family members who can provide proof of identity and eligibility. If applicants need to obtain a copy of a divorce decree but they cannot provide proof of eligibility, they must order an uncertified copy. When ordering an NC divorce record online, customers must complete an application, provide credit card information and wait for their certificate to arrive in the mail. To get started, customers can order a divorce record online here.
If customers cannot order divorce records online or if they prefer to submit a request by mail, they may complete an Application for a North Carolina Divorce Record (DHHS-VR-DMD) and submit it to the Mail Service Center in Raleigh. When completing the divorce certificate application, customers must provide the name of the husband or wife on the original document, the legal date of separation and the city or county in which the dissolution took place. Additionally, divorce record applicants must include proof of identification and payment in the form of a check or money order made payable to NC Vital Records. In most cases, mail-in divorce document applications take six to eight weeks to process, unless applicants pay an additional fee to expedite the request.
If customers wish to receive their NC marriage or divorce document sooner, they must write “expedite” on the outside of the mailing envelope. In most cases, the Office of Vital Records processes expedited divorce decree requests within three to five days from the date in which the office receives the application. Alternately, customers may apply for a divorce record online or in person if they wish to obtain their document even sooner.
For customers wondering how to get a copy of divorce decree documents in person, it is important to note that they may submit a certificate of divorce application at the Office of Vital Records in Raleigh, or they may visit the Clerk of Court for the county in which the divorce was filed. If they choose to order their NC divorce documents through the Office of Vital Records in Raleigh, it is important to keep in mind that the office only retains divorce records as old as 1958. However, the Clerk of Court retains records prior to 1958.