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How to Obtain a Divorce Decree


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Finding Your Divorce Paper: A Simple Guide on How to Obtain a Divorce Decree 📜💔 Learn easy steps in our article to help you through it. Let’s make things simple!

When Do You Typically Obtain a Divorce Decree?

Whether you and your ex had a cordial divorce, or you battled through a quarrelsome divorce trial, at the conclusion of your divorce case, the judge is going to issue a final judgment of divorce detailing all of the conditions for your case. Many courts refer to it as judgment of divorce or Divorce Decree. Following the finalization of you divorce, the court is going issue a final decree to each of the spouses, but only following it being entered into the court system.

When you and your ex devised a divorce decree on your own, the judge is going to sign it, enter it into the system, and provide you and your ex with a certified copy.

What Takes Place If You Misplace Your Divorce Decree?

The divorce decree includes all the crucial conditions concerning child custody and/or support, spousal maintenance, division of property, and any other vital elements of your divorce.

Each of the spouses needs to retain a copy of their divorce decree in a secure location. Many spouses opt to entrust a copy with their lawyer. Whereas others place it in a safe place at their home. It’s important to retain a copy, particularly when you have children or financial support conditions. The court presumes each of the spouses are going to comply with the court order. So, you are required to get a new copy should you happen lose it.

If you misplace your certified copy of your divorce decree, you need to request a new certified copy from the court where your divorce was finalized. Many courts provide an online search tool for spouses to find their divorce documents, such the Superior Court of Arizona in Phoenix.

What Am I Going to Need to Do?

Many courts are going to require you to pay a fee, but the clerk is going to provide you with a new, certified copy after you pay it. A certified copy means that the court has verified your new copy, in which could be necessary when you’re presenting your divorce decree for legal reasons, like getting remarried.

You can also inquire about obtaining a copy of your divorce decree from the state or local vital records department where you got your divorce. Vital records comprise of marriage licenses, judgement of divorces, and birth or death records. Many states provide the option to apply for a certified copy of your decree online for a fee. Several states require a waiting period prior to you being allowed to request a new certified copy, so if you lose it thirty days following your divorce, you might need to wait prior to the state providing you with a new copy.

If you retained a lawyer for your divorce case, you are able to request a certified copy of the divorce decree from that lawyer’s office. Whereas state laws typically don’t require lawyers to keep their client files forever, a lot of them require keeping the files for a minimal amount of time.

For instance, in Michigan, attorneys need to keep their client files for a minimum of five years (six years for tax records.) Following the five years, the attorney is required to notify the clients prior to destroying your file. When you finalized your divorce and your attorney destroyed your file, you are going to need to get a copy of the decree using one of the methods mentioned in this post.

What Information Do You Need to Provide For the Replacement of Your Decree?

You are going need to provide a copy of your driver’s license or state ID and divorce case number in many cases. When you mail a request to the department of state’s records, you need to include:

  • Names of each of the spouses
  • The date of your request
  • The date of your divorce
  • Your divorce court location
  • Kind of final decree
  • Reasons why you require it
  • Your name and address
  • Your driver’s license details (along with a copy)
  • The state’s required request paperwork
  • Your signature.

When you cannot provide all of the required information, you might be required to pay an additional fee for the court to investigate the case for you.

How to Obtain a Divorce Decree Copy?

Divorce decrees are usually public records, accessible with a fee and necessary forms. Some states may require notarized permission from one involved spouse to obtain a copy. If you privately created a divorce settlement agreement, it’s likely confidential and not part of public records.


  1. Melissa Heinig, A. (2021, April 2). How to get a copy of a divorce decree. Retrieved December 30, 2021, from

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