If both the husband and wife were living in Tenn at the "supposed time of divorce", then your boyfriend can contact the appropriate trial level court of record (different states have different names for this court, such as Circuit Court, Superior Court, or even Supreme Court in some states) of the county in which he lived, his wife lived, or in which they lived together prior to separation and find out from the clerk's office of such court what their process is for a records search and/or obtaining a certified copy of a divorce decree.
Technically, your boyfriend should have been served with (or otherwise received notice of) the divorce proceedings. If so, then the name of the court and the case number should be on said notice. If that is the case, then just simply contact that particular court and request a copy of the final decree/divorce decree.
If your boyfriend never was served or otherwise notified of a divorce case having been filed, then it is possible that the wife may have proceeded on the divorce by some sort of publication procedure. IF so and she remained in Tenn, then you may want to check with the clerk's office in the county in which wife resides in Tenn. If wife moved to a different state, then she may have filed a divorce by publication in that state and, so, you may need to check with that state's courts.
Another method would be to do a public records search, since divorce decrees are a matter of public record. There are companies that provide such services, including private investigators and skip-tracers. There are also some reputable companies that provide such services online -- usually at a cost of $29-49. If any divorce judgment was ever entered by a court in the U.S., it should show up in a public records search.
This response does not create an attorney-client relationship and is intended for general information purposes only.
BEFORE you proceed and apply for a marriage license in Virginia, YOU should have a copy of his final decree of divorce in your hand.....this will avoid years of problems and worry. Take the time and get the alleged final decree of his divorce from the county courthouse in Tennessee. Generally, his (wife/ex-wife) as the spouse filing for the divorce must be a resident of the state at the time the grounds for divorce took place. If the grounds took place outside the state of Tennessee, one of the spouses must be a resident for 6 months prior to filing. The divorce shall be filed in the county in which both spouses reside if they are both residents; or the county in which the respondent resides if he was a resident; or the county in which the petitioner resides. (Tennessee Code - Volume 6A, Title 36, Sections 36-4-104 and 36-4-105. If you dont know any of these locations anymore, consider having your boyfriend contact the State Dept. of Health, Vital Records Divisionl, who keeps an abstract of such vital records (birth, death, marriage, divorce on file), Use this as a starting point, but if it were me, I would use that abstract only to get to the correct court file to get the ACTUAL FINAL DECREE IN MY HAND. The state agrency can be contacted as follows below:
Tennessee Vital Records
1st Floor, Central Services Building
421 Fifth Avenue, North
Nashville, TN 37243
Good luck. I hope this answer has been somewhat helpful to you. Since I am not licensed in Tennessee, any specific question about Tennessee law would have to be directed to my brethern lawyers in Tennessee. Best- Charlie
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