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How to authenticate or apostille a US divorce decree or divorce certificate?

Updated: Jun 9, 2022

A certified divorce decree works for just about any purpose within the borders of the United States. When you are asked to provide a divorce decree for legal purposes overseas, then you will need to get your divorce decree/divorce certificate certified (authenticated or apostilled).

  • A divorce decree is an official document from the court that grants the termination of a marriage. It includes specific details of the divorce.

  • A divorce certificate is issued by a state vital records office. It shows that a divorce occurred but does not state all the same information as a divorce decree. You can save time and money by determining which document you need before requesting a copy.

So, you may ask how do I know if my divorce decree/divorce certificate needs Authentication or Apostille? It depends on which country your divorce decree/divorce certificate needs to be presented to.

If the destination country is a member of the Hague Convention of 1961, your document falls under the Apostille process (following Step 1-2); if it's NOT a member of the Hague Convention of 1961, your document is required to go through the Authentication process (following Step 1-4).

Step 1: Get a certified copy of your Divorce Decree or Divorce Certificate


A certified copy of your divorce decree usually carries:

  • A raised, embossed, impressed or multicolored seal

  • The registrar’s signature

  • The date the certificate was filed with the registrar’s office

U.S. Divorces


Get a Copy of a Divorce Decree

Contact the "county clerk's office" or "clerk of the court" for the county or city in which the divorce was granted.


Get a Copy of a Divorce Certificate

Contact the state vital records office in which the divorce was granted.


Overseas Divorces


If the divorce occurred in another country and you're in the U.S., contact that country's embassy or nearest consulate. They can tell you how to get a copy of the divorce decree.


United States law does not require U.S. citizens to register a foreign divorce decree at an embassy. But if the country in which your divorce took place is a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Authentication of Documents, you may bring your divorce decree to a U.S. embassy or consulate to have it certified.

Step 2: Get it authenticated or apostilled by the Secretary of State


For Hague Convention Countries, get it certified with an apostille by the Secretary of State. For divorce decree is a state-issued document, it does not require additional certification by the U.S. Department of State or legalization by a U.S. embassy or consulate overseas to be recognized in a participating country. You are all set!



For Non-Hague Convention Countries, get it certified with authentication by the Secretary of State. Go to Step 3.

Step 3: Get it authenticated or apostilled by the Department of State


Have your divorce decree authenticated by the US Department of State.


Step 4: Get it legalized by the embassy of your destination country


Contact the embassy of your destination country to get the divorce decree legalized.



 

American Notary Service Center Inc. provides fair, fast, confidential, and professional document notarization and certification services for our clients. We also provide various assistance services to small businesses led by socially and economically disadvantaged groups. Our service helps small businesses obtain federal government contracts, gain a foothold in the market, and boost their sales. For more information, please visit our website at www.usnotarycenter.com, and contact us by calling 202-599-0777 or by email at info@usnotarycenter.com.

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