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How to Find a Divorce Record in Georgia
Divorce can be defined as reversal, annulment, or dissolution of marriage. Only citizens of Georgia may file for a divorce in Georgia. This action is legally recorded by the Superior Court of Georgia and kept track of by government bodies in three ways. Citizens who want to gain access to these documents are advised to research the record in question, as learning the nuances of each different record type can expedite the search process.
Divorce records are considered court records. They may therefore be searched on third party public record websites. Divorce records can offer personal information on minors, finances, and sensitive criminal information like domestic abuse. Because of this, divorce record, certificate, and decree availability is usually much lower than other types of public records because of the personal nature of divorces. Simply put, divorce records are significantly harder to obtain and search for than other types of public records.
What is a Georgia Divorce Certificate?
A divorce certificate states the names of the divorced parties and where and when the divorce was finalized. General facts on a Michigan divorce record can be checked by requesting a divorce verification. It is commonly solicited when one of the parties desires to change the name that exists on their drivers license or order a marriage certificate. Normally, this type of record is only accessible by the two parties who were divorced and by the lawyers that supervised the court proceedings, although some states allow the public to view these records.
What is a Georgia Divorce Decree?
Like a divorce certificate, this type of record is typically only available to the two people who were divorced, and their attorneys. A divorce decree comprises all the terms and judgments of the divorce, including custody details, property issuance, spousal payments such as child support and alimony amounts, and scheduling. The decree is signed by the judge who managed the case and should include a court case number.
What is a Georgia Divorce Record?
A divorce record holds the most amount of information out of the three types of documents. Oftentimes, attorneys recommend that divorced parties keep these records when issued to them. Parties will use these records when challenging the terms or decisions contained in the record. A divorce record functions as the case file that documents the divorce, because it contains all of the information from both the divorce certificate and the divorce decree, as well as every file and document created as a result of the divorce court process. Divorce records can be requested and obtained similarly to other public records. However, a certified copy can only be obtained by one of the involved parties demands differing levels of identification and fees.
Are Georgia Divorce Records Public?
Visiting or otherwise contacting the Superior Court Clerk in the Superior Court of the county where the divorce was filed is the primary method to gain access to a Georgia divorce record. If a requesting party desires to confirm that a divorce has taken place, The Georgia Office of Vital Records within the Georgia Department of Public Health can search for this as long as the divorce happened between June 1952 and August 1996. Verifications of divorces before 1952 and after 1996 must be accessed from the Clerk of Superior Court in the particular county that the divorce transpired. The clerk of court is responsible for executing searches for both in-person and alone requests for divorce records. The superior court of the county where the divorce was filed is where actual copies of the divorce record can be found. Additionally, be sure to note that it is not possible to request a divorce verification by email or by telephone. According to Georgia law, all vital record search requests must be physically signed and submitted.
How Divorce Records are Obtained
For a Georgia citizen to find and obtain a divorce record, certain parameters must be obeyed.
- Check to see if the sought-after record is one that took place between June 1952 and Aug 1996. Records in this period can be reported by the Georgia Office of Vital Records.
- If the record was created in that time period, the interested party must fill out a divorce verification request and provide the Georgia Office of Vital Records with a valid photo ID (photocopy or presented in-person.)
- A search fee of $10 can be charged. These requests may be made in-person, or by mail after collecting the appropriate forms from the court or the court’s website. Response time can take between 8 and 10 weeks if the request is made by mail.
- If the divorce took place outside of this time period, the search must begin with the Clerk of the Superior Court in the county where the divorce was filed and/or finalized.
- Follow instructions on the website for the superior court, or visit or call them at the addresses provided online. Follow given instructions, make sure divorce record request forms are filled fully and legible, and be sure to include any requested fees to expedite a record search and retrieval.
Government public record search portals and third party public record websites both may provide court records search tools, which can help find divorce records, though record availability usually varies widely. Divorce records in particular may simply not be available through either source.
Similarly to some other states, Georgia does not have a central database for managing and obtaining divorce records. Although a number of Georgia state counties possess online portals to search for these records within that particular county, it still may be required to visit the county clerk in the county where the divorce happened. Divorce records remain one of the most difficult public records to obtain due to the personal nature of the legal action, and that many divorce records become sealed shortly after creation.
What Do I Need to Get a Georgia Divorce Record?
A person requesting a divorce record must provide:
A completed and signed request form.
A photocopy of valid photo ID, which can be one of the following:
- Georgia driver’s license, driver’s license issued by another U.S. State, or territory
- Georgia Identification card unexpired or expired for not more than one year
- A new Georgia weapons carry license
- A U.S. Passport or foreign passport
- A U.S. Veteran’s Identification or Military Identification
- A Consulate Card
- A debit card with photo
- An employer ID card
- A school, University, or college ID card
- DMV ID card
- Department of Corrections ID card
Georgia Divorce Record Request by Mail
If the requesting party mails in a divorce record request, the approximate wait time is 8-10 weeks. A separate completed request form is needed for each record requested. Mail a completed copy of the request form to:
Georgia Office of Vital Records
1680 Phoenix Boulevard, Suite 100
Atlanta, GA 30349
Georgia Divorce Record Request In-Person
When requesting this document in person, the files will likely be received on the same day. Baring state holidays, the Georgia Office of Vital Records is open from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Mon to Fri. They are located at the same address as above.
What is the Cost of a Divorce Verification?
Georgia law requires prepayment prior to a record search or verification or service can be provided. These payments and fees are not refundable once a service has been rendered. Requested documents are sent using first class mail. A search fee costs $10.00 and incorporates a single certified copy. Further certifications of the same record, if ordered at the same time, cost $5.00. A search that covers more than one year is another $10.00. Accepted forms of payment by mail include check or money order by mail. In person, requesting parties can pay with check, money order, credit, debit, or even cash.
Does Georgia Recognize Common-Law Marriage
Georgia does not recognize common-law marriages created after January 1, 1997. Common law marriages created in Georgia before January 1, 1997, must meet specific criteria, namely:
- The couple must cohabit in a State that recognizes common-law marriage.
- The cohabitation must be for a protracted period (not specified in any State).
- The couple should be identified as married by family, friends, and within their community. This also means they bear the same last name and file joint tax returns.
- The couple should have an intention of getting “married.”
Although common-law marriages do not require a license or ceremony, such marriages can only be ended through a divorce, like a licensed marriage.