MENU is privately owned and is neither operated by, nor affiliated with, any government agency.

Virginia Divorce Records |

Virginia Divorce Certificates

Virginia divorce documents are vital records that couples must retain during and after their divorce occurs. These documents include a divorce certificate, decree or complete divorce records, which are usually the most extensive of the three. However, each of these divorce papers serves its own purpose and is often a requirement when registrants need to submit legal proof of separation. For this reason, applicants must obtain a certified copy of divorce decree documents if they lose, damage or misplace them. Customers can order a copy of divorce papers in person, by mail or online right here. To learn more about how to get divorce papers in Virginia and to learn about the various situations that may require applicants to submit marriage and divorce records, review the information below.

How do Virginia divorce records differ?

Virginia divorce documentation includes a divorce certificate, decree and a record (or case file). A certificate of divorce simply states the names of the two people who are divorcing, as well as the place and time of the divorce. A certification of divorce is used most frequently among the three documents. A decree of divorce on the other hand includes information from the certificate in addition to details pertaining to property divisions, spousal support payments, alimony and child custody. Records of divorce, however, contain the most amount of information. Complete divorce records include information from the certificate and VA divorce decree, in addition to the files and reports used during the entire legal process. If customers lose or misplace a record of divorce, they can order a replacement divorce record online here.

Instances Requiring Virginia Divorce Documents

“When will I need my divorce papers in Virginia?” is a question registrants often ask. In most cases, residents need a divorce decree, certificate or dissolution records if they plan to change their name after legal separation or if they wish to remarry. Additionally, applicants may need to submit a copy of divorce certificate documents in the following situations:

  • When completing a driver license name change through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
  • When changing the name on a Social Security card
  • When adjusting insurance policies
  • When filing an action in court
  • When modifying access to bank accounts

A VA divorce certificate is sufficient when changing the name on a drivers license or Social Security card, but applicants may require a divorce decree copy if they need to review the terms of the divorce or if they wish to file an action in court pertaining to spousal support amounts. Customers may require a copy of a divorce record if they wish to challenge one or more agreements made during the divorce. Applicants can get a copy of divorce records here.

How to Get a Copy of Divorce Papers in Virginia

There are several ways for residents to obtain a copy of divorce decree documentation, including online, by mail or in person. However, certified Virginia marriage and divorce records are only available to eligible individuals, including immediate family members, such as parents, spouses, children, grandparents, adult grandchildren and siblings.


Online divorce records are available to eligible applicants who wish to obtain a VA divorce certificate from the comfort of their own home. When customers order divorce documents online, they simply need to complete the online application, submit credit card payment information and wait for the documentation to arrive in the mail. To get started, applicants can submit a VA divorce record request here.

By Mail

If customers prefer to apply for a copy of Virginia divorce documents by mail, they must complete an Application for Certification of a Vital Record and mail it to the Office of Vital Records in Richmond, along with payment for the applicable fee. Additionally, applicants who wish to order a copy of a divorce certificate must submit photocopies of one primary document (such as a drivers license) or two secondary documents (such as a current U.S. passport, photo ID card or U.S. Certificate of Naturalization). After customers submit their divorce records request, they can expect to receive their copy of a divorce decree within two to four weeks from the date in which the office receives the application.

In Person

For customers wondering how to get a copy of divorce decree documents in person, it is important to know that they may request copies of Virginia divorce papers at the Office of Vital Records in Richmond or through the DMV. To obtain a copy of divorce certificates through the Office of Vital Records, customers must visit the office between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday if they wish to receive same-day service. Alternately, customers may visit the office between 8 a.m. and noon on Saturdays. To obtain a copy of divorce papers, residents must complete an Application for Certification of a Vital Record and submit the form along with proof of identification and payment for the applicable fee.

Alternately, applicants may order a divorce certificate in person at a full-service DMV customer service center. To obtain divorce documents through the DMV, customers must complete a Virginia Vital Record Application, present proof of identification and pay the applicable fee.

How to Find Divorce Records in Virginia

Customers can perform a divorce record search for all public divorces occurring since 1918. Additionally, all VA divorce records become public information after 25 years of the divorce date. Anyone may access public record divorce files through the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) if they can provide all required information, such as the names of the divorced couple, the year and location of the divorce, and their relationship to the divorced couple. Applicants who want to find divorce records in VA should note that they may search divorce records online using the VDH indexing form. After residents complete a divorce search and gather the information they need, they can easily order copies of online divorce records here.