In various life events and legal processes, individuals often need certified documentation such as marriage certificates, birth certificates, death certificates, and notably, proof of divorce. After the conclusion of a divorce, individuals are given a certified copy of their divorce decree, which serves as the official proof of the marital dissolution. For further copies or other vital records, you can approach the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment. These records are obtainable in person, by mail, online, or from the state’s vital records department.
Why You Might Need Proof of Your Divorce in Colorado
While no one typically wishes to showcase their divorce decree, there are numerous circumstances when this official documentation becomes essential:
- Changing your legal name.
- If you’re planning to remarry.
- When seeking enforcement of orders in your divorce judgment, such as child support, spousal support, or division of marital assets and debts.
- Sharing custody or parenting time orders with schools or daycare centers.
- Securing financing for a home purchase.
- Applying for Social Security.
- Filing your income tax.
A certified copy of a divorce certificate will feature a raised seal and the signature of a judge. These are produced on specialized security paper and come with a fee. Conversely, uncertified copies, usually printed on standard paper, might be adequate for unofficial purposes like school documentation. Depending on the situation, you might need both certified and uncertified copies as proof of divorce during different phases of your life.
Divorce Decree vs. Divorce Record: What’s the Difference?
A divorce decree outlines the final judgments and legal commitments of both parties involved. On the other hand, a divorce record provides a comprehensive document detailing the entire hearing transcript and all case-associated files and documents. Public access to complete divorce records is generally permitted. However, only the individuals involved in the divorce and their legal representatives can secure certified copies.
The public might have various reasons to access these records. High-profile divorces might garner media attention, or someone might be researching a divorce attorney’s past performance and approach in similar cases. Sometimes, personal curiosity drives individuals to explore public divorce records. In certain scenarios, those undergoing divorce might seek redactions in their records, especially if they disclose information jeopardizing children’s privacy or safety.
Locating Historical Divorce Records in Colorado
For divorces within Colorado that occurred between 1900-1939 and from 1975 onward, records are maintained by Colorado’s Office of Health and Environment. Meanwhile, the Colorado State Archives possesses records sortable by county, and these are searchable by name and date range.
Process for locating Records
In Colorado, divorce records can be requested from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). Here’s a breakdown of the process:
1. Determine Eligibility: Divorce records are open to the public in Colorado, but only certain individuals can request a certified copy. This includes either party named on the record, immediate family members, legal representatives, or individuals with a tangible interest, like genealogists with proof of relationship.
2. Visit the Vital Records Section of CDPHE: The CDPHE’s Vital Records section handles requests for divorce records.
Address: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Vital Records Section 4300 Cherry Creek Drive South Denver, CO 80246
3. Ways to Request:
- In-Person: You can visit the CDPHE in Denver to make a request. The typical processing time for in-person requests is around 15 minutes.
- By Mail: You can mail your request. For this, you’d need to fill out the appropriate request form, include the required payment (check or money order), and mail it to the address provided above. Expect longer processing times for mail requests.
- Online or By Phone: Colorado has partnered with the VitalChek Network to provide online and phone ordering services for divorce records. There’s an additional fee for using VitalChek. Visit the VitalChek website or call their hotline to place an order.
4. Fill Out the Request Form: Whether you’re requesting in person or by mail, you’ll need to complete the appropriate request form. The form usually asks for details like the names of both parties on the divorce record, date of divorce, location (county) of the divorce, and your relationship to the individuals named on the record.
5. Pay the Fee: There’s a fee associated with obtaining a copy of a divorce record. As of my last update in January 2022, the fee for a certified copy was $20.00, and each additional copy of the same record ordered at the same time was $13.00. However, fees can change, so it’s a good idea to check the current fee structure on the CDPHE website or contact them directly.
6. Receive the Record: Once you’ve submitted your request and it’s processed, you’ll receive a copy of the divorce record. The turnaround time varies depending on how you made your request.
For the most up-to-date information, visit the official CDPHE website .