Welcome to the State of California 

Obtaining Certified Copies of Marriage & Divorce Records

Note: Before submitting your application to CDPH Vital Records, please view our processing times to make sure they are acceptable for your needs. If not, you should submit your request to the County Recorder’s Office in the county where the marriage license was issued, or the Superior Court in the county where the divorce was filed.

If you are using our state application form - but are submitting your request to a county office for processing - please first check with the county office to confirm their certified copy fees, as they may be different from the State fees. Refer to the "Directory of County Vital Record Offices" link below for county contact information.

Note: The California Department of Public Health Vital Records does not collect or maintain information about whether a marriage was between individuals of the opposite sex or the same sex.

CDPH Vital Records only accepts orders submitted by mail.  Please follow the 6 Steps listed below to place your order with CDPH Vital Records.

Step 1 – Determine whether the marriage or divorce record you want is available from CDPH Vital Records
  • Public Marriage Records.  

         a.  1998-1999 and 2011-Present:  These requests can be processed by our office, but it can take up to 6 months for the marriage record to be recorded at the         county level and available in the state database.  For the first 6 months after the marriage, please submit your request to the County Recorder's Office in the county where the marriage license was issued.

         b.  1949-1986:  Due to the increased and urgent need for certified copies of birth certificates as proof of identity, CDPH Vital Records is experiencing lengthy delays in the processing time for these marriage years.  Since our processing time for these marriage years can easily exceed 6 months, you should submit your request to the County Recorder's Office in the county where the marriage license was issued. 

         c.  1905-1948, 1987-1997, and 2000-2010:  Due to budget cuts and the time-consuming process of searching marriage records for these years, we cannot process these requests.  For public marriages that occurred during these years, you will need to contact the County Recorder's Office in the county where the marriage license was issued.

  • Confidential Marriage Records.  Certified copies of confidential marriage records are only available from the County Clerk’s Office in the county where the confidential marriage license was issued.  Only the two individuals named on the marriage certificate can obtain copies of confidential marriage records.
  • Divorce Records.  Certified copies of actual divorce decrees are only available from the Superior Court in the county where the divorce was filed.  CDPH Vital Records can only issue a Certificate of Record - and only for divorces that occurred between 1962 and June 1984.  A Certificate of Record includes the names of the parties to the divorce, the county where the divorce was filed, and the court case number.  A Certificate of Record is not a certified copy of the divorce decree, and does not indicate whether the divorce was ever finalized in court.  Our processing times can easily exceed 6 months. 

For more information about obtaining these records from the county, contact the county offices directly.  Contact information can be found on the following web pages:

 Recorders’ Offices
 
California Superior Courts

Step 2 – Determine whether you can obtain an authorized copy or an informational copy

In the State of California, authorized copies of vital records can only be obtained by the individual named on the record, parents of the individual named on the record, and certain other individuals or entities specified in law.  All other requestors can only obtain informational copies.  All copies issued are “certified copies.”

 

Step 3 – Download pamphlet for obtaining certified copies of marriage and/or divorce records

Pamphlet for Obtaining Certified Copies of Marriage Records (PDF)Opens a new browser window.

Pamphlet for Obtaining Certified Copies of Divorce Records (PDF)Opens a new browser window.

 
Step 4 – Download and complete the application form if ordering a public marriage record or Certificate of Record for Divorce from CDPH Vital Records

Application for Certified Copy of Public Marriage Record (PDF)Opens a new browser window.

Application for Certified Copy of Divorce Record (PDF)Opens a new browser window.

 

Step 5 – Determine certified copy fee  

A certified copy fee must accompany all requests for copies of vital records.  Requests received without the appropriate fee will be returned to the sender.  Make your check or money order payable to CDPH Vital Records.  Checks must be drawn on a United States bank.  Money orders must be drawn on a United States bank or issued by the United States Postal Service.

PLEASE DO NOT SEND CASH BY MAIL.  CDPH cannot be held responsible for fees paid that are lost, misdirected, or undelivered. 

If no record is found, we will issue a Certificate of No Public Record and retain the fee for the search according to State law. 

Vital Records Fees

 

Step 6 – Mail your request to CDPH Vital Records

Include completed application form and check or money order for the certified copy fee.* 

PLEASE DO NOT SEND CASH BY MAIL.  CDPH cannot be held responsible for fees paid that are lost, misdirected, or undelivered. 

Mail to:

California Department of Public Health
Vital Records - MS 5103
P.O. Box 997410
Sacramento, CA 95899-7410

If using a courier service, and the courier service does not deliver to a Post Office Box, please use the following address:

California Department of Public Health
Vital Records - MS 5103
1501 Capitol Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95814 
 

Note:  Before submitting your application to CDPH Vital Records, please view our processing times to make sure they are acceptable for your needs.  If not, you should submit your request to the County Recorder’s Office in the county where the marriage license was issued, or the Superior Court in the county where the divorce was filed. 

If you are using our state application form - but are submitting your request to a county office for processing - please first check with the county office to confirm their certified copy fees, as they may be different from the State fees.  Refer to the "Directory of County Vital Record Offices" link below for county contact information.

*Note: Fees are deposited upon receipt.

 
 
Last modified on: 8/29/2014 4:17 PM