In Massachusetts, there are different types of divorce records available, so understanding your purpose for requesting these documents is crucial. You need to choose the correct type of record for your needs whether this will be in an informational photocopy form or an attested, certified copy of dissolution of marriage. Massachusetts Health and Human Services, Vital Records, collects and maintains divorce record information that is accessible by mail or in person from the Dorchester office. Self searching for Massachusetts divorce records is also available in person at the state registry.
The State Registry in Dorchester is open to the public for self-directed searches at a fee of $9 per hour. It’s best to telephone the Massachusetts Health and Human Services, Vital Records office first as the hours the state registry search area is open to the public is subject to change. Counter service as well as mail orders are also available from this office.
For an $18 search fee, in person Massachusetts divorce records requestors will receive one certified copy of dissolution of marriage or an official statement that the particular record is not on file. The fee for mail service is $28 and this processing time is typically about 2 weeks. Fees are not refundable whether or not a record is found as the cost covers the search itself.
Other types of Massachusetts divorce records include the Certificate Nisi, with a search fee of $100, which is an attested copy, and the Certificate of Divorce Absolute, at $75. The Certificate of Divorce Absolute includes the date the divorce was finalized, while the Certificate Nisi has the details of the dissolution of marriage such as a custody agreement and property ownership.
Massachusetts Health and Human Services
150 Mount Vernon St., 1st Floor
Dorchester, MA 02125-3105
Phone: (617) 740-2600
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:45am – 4:45pm
If you want Massachusetts divorce records for information for a background check on yourself, or another person such as a potential marriage partner, a photocopy of a dissolution of marriage is usually suitable for this purpose. Yet , the details in a Certificate Nisi can also be helpful in self and dating Massachusetts background checks. Massachusetts Health and Human Services, Vital Records, or any other source of divorce documents, cannot provide private details that are not accessible by the public.
Photocopies of Massachusetts dissolution of marriage without the official, raised seal are typically not suitable for legal use such as adoption, citizenship and social security applications. Documents such as a Certificate of Divorce Absolute, with the official, raised court seal, are typically what is required. Especially as these types of Massachusetts divorce records have pricey fees, that by law, must be paid before they can be issued to the requestor, it’s best to telephone the Health and Human Services, Vital Records office to discuss your legal or informational needs before ordering.