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How To Obtain A Copy Of A Divorce Decree

It probably wasn’t an easy paper to get, but it’s not too hard to get a replacement copy of your divorce decree.

Nobody will ever tell you getting divorced is easy. The emotional, psychological, and financial stress is real. Add kids into the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for years and years of tough times. However, when things aren’t working out, divorces are always better than staying unhappy. So, no matter how hard it was to finalize, your divorce can be an important step forward.

What Is A Divorce Decree?

The divorce decree is the official legal document that proves the termination of your marriage and includes the details of the split. No matter how long you’ve been in and out of court or back and forth with your lawyer, it’s this decree that refers to the court’s final ruling and judgment.

Typical issues determined in this decree are alimony or spousal support, debt, custody, child support, visitation rights as well as division of property. The decree also includes important personal details proving the divorce has been finalized, including names, addresses, birth dates, case number, judge, court information, and the official ending date of the marriage.

It comes in handy more often that you think, whether it’s for legal purposes (like getting remarried) or personal reasons (like proving to the person you’re dating that you’re officially divorced).

What Is A Divorce Certificate?

A divorce certificate is also a legal document that proves your divorce, but it’s simpler. The certificate is maintained in your state’s Vital Records office, and contains just the basics to prove you are divorced. The personal information on this document include names, dates, and the place of the finalized divorce. Sometimes this might be enough for your purposes. Certificates can be used for proving divorce to creditors, for obtaining passports or licenses, as well as to legally allow you to remarry.

Divorce Decree vs. Divorce Certificate

Know which one you need before you seek out a replacement document. Additionally you can check with your lawyer to see if they have a copy before going through the process of requesting a new document yourself.

How Can You Obtain A Copy Of Your Divorce Decree?

  • Contact the clerk of the county court where the divorce was filed.
  • Expect to pay a fee for the copies.
  • You must specify whether you need a certified copy, or an informational copy (these are usually for family history only and don’t hold up for identification purposes)
  • Locate the contact information for county clerk’s offices by state online.

How Can You Obtain A Copy Of Your Divorce Certificate?

  • Contact the Vital Records office in the state where the divorce was filed.
  • Locate the Vital Records office by state online.
  • Expect to pay a fee for the copies.
  • Follow directions for your specific state, as directions vary. Often you can make a request online.

It’s best to keep a copy with your important IDs, which may include your birth certificate and Social Security card, as well as legal documents (Power Of Attorney, Will, Medical Directives), since you never know when you or your family might need it.

  • Personal Organization
  • Family Organization
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