VITAL RECORDS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Q: How do I go about receiving a certified copy of a birth, death, marriage, or divorce certificate?
1. Call our office at (262) 548-7863 to schedule an in-person appointment
2. You may also download an application form from our Waukesha County website and mail the completed signed application with a copy of your valid government photo ID (Driver’s License, Passport, State ID) along with payment by check or money order.
3. We also have a “same day” drop box option where you can drop off a completed application form, include a copy of your driver’s license with payment in the gray drop box located outside of our office door. Please indicate on your application form if you would like to pick it up the same day. It must be in our drop box no later than 2:30pm for same day pick up.
Q: What is the fee to obtain a certified copy of my birth, death, marriage, or divorce certificate?
A: The fee is $20 for the first copy and $3 for each additional copy payable by cash, check or credit card.
Q: What kind of identification do I have to bring?
A: You must provide either one (1) form of a government-issued identification document listed below:
United States issued driver’s license, United States issued identification card, Passport-United States or foreign issued, US Military Identification
OR two (2) forms of the documents listed below:
Check book/bank statement with current address and name, Health insurance card, Utility Bill, Paycheck or earning statement, school ID, Car Registration, Court Documents with current address, and/or social security card
Q: My birth, death, marriage, or divorce took place in a county other than Waukesha. Can you issue my records?
A: As of January 2, 2020, we are able to issue/search vital records for ALL Wisconsin counties for the following:
Birth Certificates: From: 10/1/1907 to present
Marriage Certificates: From: 10/1/1907 to present (Not to be confused with a Marriage License, you will need to apply for the license in the County Clerk's office).
Death Certificates: From: 9/1/2013 to present
Divorce Certificates: From: 1/1/2016 to present (Divorce applications for divorces occurring prior to 1/1/2016 must be requested from the Wisconsin State Vital Records Office in Madison. You may contact them at (608) 266-1373).
Tribal Marriage or Divorce: From: 1/1/2016 to present
NOTE: If the vital record event occurred prior to the above statewide issuance dates, the record will need to be purchased in the county where the event took place.
Q: Who can obtain certified copies of my birth, marriage, death and/or divorce record?
A: CERTIFIED copies of a Birth, Marriage, Death and Divorce record may be obtained by the following:
• The person listed on the record
• Immediate Family members including: Parents, Maternal Grandparents, Paternal Grandparents(only if father is listed on the certificate), Siblings, Current Spouse, a Child, or a state registered Domestic Partner
• A Legal Custodian or Guardian(must provide documentation)
• A representative authorized in writing by the person listed on the record, or an immediate family member/legal guardian
**The written authorization must state the individual’s name who is making the request, the full name and relationship to the individual on record, and the signature of the person on record or of the immediate family member giving authorization.
• An Attorney (They must show their bar card and driver’s license).
• An individual who can show tangible proof that the record is needed to protect the interest of the person on record (examples include Power of Attorney paperwork, a Will, Life insurance, etc).
• A Funeral Home for “death certificates” only
UNCERTIFIED copies of a Birth, Marriage, Death and Divorce record may be obtained by ANYONE. You will have to fill out an application and pay the same fee as a certified copy.
Q: There is an error on my birth or marriage record. Can you correct this for me?
A: No. We are not able to amend a birth and/or marriage record. The State Vital Records office has the authority to make the changes but they may require additional documentation to do so. We can send a request to the State Vital Records office and inform them of the error. The State office will either send you an amendment packet or contact you directly for more information. You can also call the State Vital Records Customer Service line at (608) 266-1371.
Q: How do I go about adding my child’s father on the birth certificate? Can you do this?
A: No. We cannot add a father to a birth record. You will need to contact the Child Support Division to ask about establishing paternity. They can be reached at (414) 615-2586.
Q: Is this where I apply for my marriage license?
A: You will apply for your marriage license with the County Clerk’s office in the county that you live in.
Q: If I applied for my marriage license in Waukesha County, but got married in a different county, do I mail my marriage license to Waukesha County for processing?
A: No. The marriage license that was signed by you, your officiant, and witnesses MUST be turned into the county where you got married for processing. After the license has been processed, you may go to any county in the State of Wisconsin to purchase your certified copy.
Q: If I was married in a different country but live in Waukesha, will my certificate be registered with Waukesha County and/or the State?
A: No. You will need to contact the country where you got married in order to obtain certified copies of your marriage certificate. If you would like to know if your marriage will be recognized in the United States and what documentation may be needed, contact the office of the Attorney General in your state of residence. For the State of Wisconsin, you can call the Wisconsin Department of Justice at (608) 266-1221.
Q: I just got married, why doesn’t the marriage certificate have my new name? How do I change my name?
A: The marriage certificate will always reflect your current or maiden last name prior to getting married since this is the name you held when you applied for the license. The name change will take place with the Social Security Office. You will need to fill out an application form to do this. You can visit their website at https://www.ssa.gov/onlineservices/ or call them at (866) 220-7885 for more information.
Q: How many copies of a birth, marriage, death, and/or divorce record do you recommend?
A: We strongly encourage 2 or more certified copies in case you need to mail one away for passport, health insurance, name change or any other reason. No one should ever keep the certified copy but when/if you have to mail it away we can’t guarantee that it will come back to you.
Q: How long will it take to get my vital record?
A: If you make an appointment with our department, the process will take approximately 15 minutes. If you mail in your request, it may take up to two weeks for you to get your vital record.
Q: Can I get a copy of my divorce decree here?
A: No. You will need to contact the Clerk of Courts (Family Division) in the county where the divorce took place. For Waukesha County divorce decrees, you can call (262) 548-7544.
Q: What is the difference between a death certificate with the Extended Fact of Death vs the Fact of Death?
A: The “Extended Fact of Death” will show the cause of death. This is typically needed for life insurance purposes. The “Fact of Death” will NOT show the cause of death.