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What does divorce certificate (U.S.) look like?

#1 Tim and Erin

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 10:30 AM

Still getting paperwork together to send K-1 application....

My fiance (USC) thought he had a certified copy of his divorce decree, but it turns out that what he obtained from the court house is just pages from the court order. Can someone give me a description of what his divorce decree will look like, so I can tell him? Even a picture of one would be helpful. :thumbs: I've explained to him that it needs to have an official seal, and a date that the divorce became effective.
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#2 Otto

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 10:38 AM

These pages from the court order are (or is) the divorce decree - somewhere on these pages (toward the end I believe) will be the court ordered divorce decree (lines of text to that effect). There isn't a certificate showing divorce (not that I'm aware).

Mine was (from Arizona) - I used a sticky arrow to highlight the portion where the divorce was declared (so they don't have to sift through the whole often-boring text to get to the good part.)

Edited by Otto und Karin, 31 January 2010 - 10:39 AM.

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#3 evilmonkey

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 10:42 AM

Still getting paperwork together to send K-1 application....

My fiance (USC) thought he had a certified copy of his divorce decree, but it turns out that what he obtained from the court house is just pages from the court order. Can someone give me a description of what his divorce decree will look like, so I can tell him? Even a picture of one would be helpful. :thumbs: I've explained to him that it needs to have an official seal, and a date that the divorce became effective.


goto google.com type "divorce certificate [insert your state here]" click search and then click images. You will see plenty of examples :)
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#4 pushbrk

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 10:49 AM

Still getting paperwork together to send K-1 application....

My fiance (USC) thought he had a certified copy of his divorce decree, but it turns out that what he obtained from the court house is just pages from the court order. Can someone give me a description of what his divorce decree will look like, so I can tell him? Even a picture of one would be helpful. :thumbs: I've explained to him that it needs to have an official seal, and a date that the divorce became effective.


A divorce decree is a court ordering (decreeing) a marriage is terminated. What you're looking for is the indication that what he has is a certified copy of the order decreening the divorce is final.
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#5 Amit-N-Melody

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 10:51 AM

My divorce papers look exactly like that, A bunch of gibberish on what the 2 parties agree to, and then on the last page it was stamped on the back, then they wrote in the date it was offical and signed it.... My total divorce decree is 14 pages long, if you would like I could take a pick of the stamp and email it too ya... inbox me if you want to see mine
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#6 AandD

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 11:02 AM

A divorce decree is a court ordering (decreeing) a marriage is terminated. What you're looking for is the indication that what he has is a certified copy of the order decreening the divorce is final.



I was not issued the document I needed for my divorce as part of my divorce proceedings. I had documents that said it was final, but they did not contain the words "Absolute Decree" on the top...and I got an RFE.

I had previously gone to the courthouse and asked if the papers I had represented all the documents for the divorce, a clerk told me I had all the papers I would get.

Turned out I did not ask the right question.

After I got the RFE for this single document I went back to the courthouse and said that USCIS requires it say "Absolute Decree".

The clerk said "oh..in that case you need to specifically request that document for immigration purposes "

I got the RFE in the mail around 2:00 pm....had the needed document by 3:00pm..back to VSC in two days...and approval 14 days later, which it seems is the minimum they are allowed to turn an RFE around, as they stated as such in the letter, and it turned out to be the case.

We had two 'touchs' shortly after they reveived response to RFE and I suspect they actually processed everything at that time and just waited the 14 days to send.

Anyways...just be sure it says "Absolute Decree" or you will be assured of an RFE..it looked like a standard reply...so I bet this is a very common reason for RFE!!
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#7 Tim and Erin

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 11:46 AM

I was not issued the document I needed for my divorce as part of my divorce proceedings. I had documents that said it was final, but they did not contain the words "Absolute Decree" on the top...and I got an RFE.

I had previously gone to the courthouse and asked if the papers I had represented all the documents for the divorce, a clerk told me I had all the papers I would get.

Turned out I did not ask the right question.

After I got the RFE for this single document I went back to the courthouse and said that USCIS requires it say "Absolute Decree".

The clerk said "oh..in that case you need to specifically request that document for immigration purposes "

I got the RFE in the mail around 2:00 pm....had the needed document by 3:00pm..back to VSC in two days...and approval 14 days later, which it seems is the minimum they are allowed to turn an RFE around, as they stated as such in the letter, and it turned out to be the case.

We had two 'touchs' shortly after they reveived response to RFE and I suspect they actually processed everything at that time and just waited the 14 days to send.

Anyways...just be sure it says "Absolute Decree" or you will be assured of an RFE..it looked like a standard reply...so I bet this is a very common reason for RFE!!



Did yours have an official looking seal anywhere on it? Mine does. (Ontario, Canada)
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#8 JimVaPhuong

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 11:50 AM

I've been divorced twice, in two different states. The divorce decrees from each divorce look completely different, but both look like typical court filings. One of them says "Judgment and Decree of Divorce" on top, but the more recent one just says "Judgment" at the top of a box, and then has a check mark in the box labeled "Dissolution". Below a bunch of other check boxes is a line that reads "Date marital status ends:", followed by stamped date from the court clerk.

There is no standard divorce decree in the US. Each state can use whatever format they choose, and some states even vary depending on which court in the state granted the divorce. I think it just needs to be obvious to the USCIS adjudicator that the document is an order from a court dissolving the marriage, and that it be stamped to show that it's a certified copy from the court.
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#9 Tim and Erin

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 12:26 PM

There is no standard divorce decree in the US. Each state can use whatever format they choose, and some states even vary depending on which court in the state granted the divorce. I think it just needs to be obvious to the USCIS adjudicator that the document is an order from a court dissolving the marriage, and that it be stamped to show that it's a certified copy from the court.


Yes, that is what I've told him. I wonder if he'll be able to get that certified copy at the court house or if he'd have to send away to "Vital Statistics" or wherever to get it. Could take weeks..."sigh." :unsure:
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#10 JimVaPhuong

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 01:07 PM

Yes, that is what I've told him. I wonder if he'll be able to get that certified copy at the court house or if he'd have to send away to "Vital Statistics" or wherever to get it. Could take weeks..."sigh." :unsure:


This is usually handled by the court clerk's office in the county where the divorce took place. For my first divorce, I was able to get all of the information I needed from the website of the county. They wanted a written request, including the docket number, a self-addressed stamped envelope (to send the divorce decree back to me), and a check for $3. It took about two weeks, all together. A state's office of Vital Statistics might have a record of the divorce, but I doubt they'd have the original court order. Those usually stay at the courthouse.

The divorce occurred back in the mid 1980's, and the original document had been replaced by a microfiche copy long ago. I received a print of the microfiche copy, which was stamped and signed by the court clerk at the bottom. USCIS accepted it without any problems.
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#11 Lisa and Ian

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 09:29 PM

Yes, that is what I've told him. I wonder if he'll be able to get that certified copy at the court house or if he'd have to send away to "Vital Statistics" or wherever to get it. Could take weeks..."sigh." :unsure:


Have him call the county clerk where the divorce took place and tell them he needs an official stamped copy of his divorce decree. They'll be able to tell him what to do next. This should be a really quick turn-around.
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