Obtaining Certified Documents

The Tribunal asks that the Petitioner provide certified marriage licenses and divorce decrees. This is necessary because:

  • The marriage license tells the Tribunal where the marriage took place and who married them. If one of the parties to the marriage is Catholic, we need to see if he/she was married in the Catholic Church. The place of marriage may be a factor in the type of case that needs to be filed. These documents must be certified so we know the information was not altered.
  • The divorce decree tells the Tribunal that the particular civil jurisdiction has declared the married between the parties to have ended. This is important because if the parties petition for an annulment before the civil decree of divorce has been obtained, the Tribunal could be sued civilly by the other spouse for alienation of affection. Also, it is evidence that there is no hope of reconciliation. The document must be certified because the Tribunal must be assured that the information contained in the decree has not been altered. In addition, the Tribunal cannot accept an abstract of the decree of divorce. This is because the Tribunal needs to know if the parties have lived up to the obligations required by the civil court. Abstracts do not include that information.

In order to obtain certified marriage licenses or divorce decrees, please contact the county where the marriage took place. Most, if not all, counties in the United States have a website that contains the proper contact information for such records. If you are having difficulty obtaining these documents, try the following websites: