- About Vermont Vital Records
- Types of Records and Related Information
Statewide vital registration in Vermont began in 1857, when the General Assembly passed legislation requiring towns to report all births, marriages, and deaths to the Secretary of State. Prior to that time, some towns kept such records in order to resolve questions concerning the distribution and inheritance of property.
Vital records - particularly death records - became recognized as an important tool for studying the location and spread of epidemics. In 1896, the Legislature transferred responsibility for the vital statistics system to the newly formed Board of Health, the forerunner of the Vermont Department of Health. The Health Department has retained responsibility for vital statistics to the present day.
Since 2000, the Vermont vital records system includes nine types of vital events: births, deaths, marriages, divorces, civil unions, dissolutions, reciprocal beneficiaries, fetal deaths, and abortions.
Records for events that occurred within the past five years are maintained by the Department of Health. All others are with the Vermont State Archives and Records Administration.
Vital Records Office
Vermont Department of Health
P.O. Box 70
Burlington, VT 05402-0070
Phone: 802-863-7275, or 800-439-5008 (toll free in Vermont)
When a birth occurs, the physician, midwife, or other birth attendant is required to complete a birth certificate and file it with the town clerk in the town of birth within 10 days. For hospital births, it is usually the medical records staff who complete the birth certificate. The completed birth certificate is recorded and filed in the town where the birth took place, and a certified copy is sent to the Health Department.
Although a physician, physician assistant, or advanced practice registered nurse is responsible for filing the death certificate, the job may be, and often is, delegated to the funeral director. Most of the information needed to complete the death certificate is obtained from the family of the deceased. A physician, physician assistant, or advanced practice registere nurse however, must complete the cause of death information and sign the death certificate. The funeral director files the completed certificate with the town clerk who sends a certified copy to the Health Department.
- A Guide to Burials and Funerals in Vermont
- Request a Certified Copy of a Death Certificate
- Information for Death Reporters
Fetal Deaths and Abortions
Reports of fetal death and induced termination of pregnancy (abortion) are sent directly to the Health Department by the physician, hospital, or clinic that performs the procedure. By law, these reports are for statistical purposes only, are not public records, and are destroyed after five years.
In addition to receiving copies of vital records from Vermont town clerks, the Health Department also receives copies of certificates of all Vermont resident births and deaths that occur in other states and in Canada. This allows the Department to do statistical analyses of vital events involving Vermont residents even if the birth or death occurred outside of the state.
Health Department staff code and enter all vital records received into a computerized database, and send a data file containing some of the information from the records to the National Center for Health Statistics to become part of a national database.
When a couple wishes to marry in Vermont, they provide a town clerk with the information needed to complete the license. The couple takes the license to an officiant who signs and dates it and returns it to the town clerk. The town clerk records and files the certificate, and sends a certified copy to the Health Department.
Civil unions were established in 2000 to provide same-sex couples all the benefits, protections, and responsibilities under law as are granted to spouses in a marriage. However the marriage equality act, effective September 1st, 2009 which allows same-sex couples to marry in Vermont, discontinued the need for the separate status of "civil unions." Civil unions entered into prior to September 1, 2009 will continue to be recognized as civil unions.
- Request a Certified Copy of a Marriage Certificate
- Getting Married in Vermont - Questions and Answers to Help You Plan Your Vermont Wedding
- Completing the Marriage Certificate - Guidelines for Officiants
- Application for Vermont Civil Marriage License
Couples planning to marry in Vermont may complete this form online and bring it to the town clerk in their town of residence to obtain a civil marriage license. If neither applicant is a resident of Vermont, the application may be presented to any town clerk within Vermont.
- Request a Certified Copy of a Civil Union Certificate
- Marrying Your Civil Union Partner: Beginning July 1, 2012 same sex couples who are currently joined in a Vermont certified civil union may choose to dissolve their civil union upon marrying one another by signing items 21a and 24a on the Vermont License and Certificate of Civil Marriage. The dissolution will be effective upon solemnization of the marriage.
A divorce certificate or certificate dissolving a civil union is initiated by a lawyer or other individual handling the divorce or dissolution. The certificate is filed with the court as part of the divorce or dissolution proceedings. The court keeps the certificate until the decree becomes final, usually three months after the court hearing. When the decree is final, the court clerk signs the certificate and sends it to the Health Department for filing.
Effective July 1, 2012, nonresident couples joined in a Vermont civil union or a Vermont marriage who are legally barred from dissolving the union or marriage in their state of residence may file a complaint for divorce without having to establish residence in Vermont - provided certain criteria are met. For more information, please contact the family division of superior court in the Vermont county where the civil union or marriage certificate was filed: Vermont Superior Court, Family Division.
- Request a Certified Copy of a Divorce Certificate
- Request a Certified Copy of a Dissolution Certificate
A reciprocal beneficiaries relationship occurs when two people who are eligible to form such a relationship present a signed, notarized Declaration and Certificate of Establishment of Reciprocal Beneficiaries Relationship to the Health Department and pay a filing fee. Either party can end the relationship by paying a fee and filing a signed, notarized Declaration and Certificate of Termination of Reciprocal Beneficiaries Relationship. A reciprocal beneficiaries relationship automatically terminates by law if either party enters into a valid civil union or marriage.