In the United States, a divorce decree is an official document that includes all the technical details about the completion of the divorce process, either in court or through settlement.
If your case went to trial, your divorce decree will state the terms of the judge’s decision and will act as a judgment that both parties must obey. If you did not go to trial but settled your case, the divorce decree will contain the terms of the settlement.
So, if you are interested in knowing more about this subject, continue reading this article.
What is a divorce decree for?
The main purpose of a divorce decree is to ensure that the divorce is legal. The document grants the power to legally claim all the obligations that the parties agreed to in the process; it also disposes of the signature of a judge in a court of law or applicable authority.
On the other hand, the divorce decree includes some of the agreed terms regarding:
- Child support.
- Child custody and visitation.
- Property division.
It may also contain information on things like:
- Life and health insurance.
- The restoration of the wife’s maiden name.
- and the division of the debt.
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How to get a copy?
Once the court releases your divorce decree, you can request a copy. There are different options to do it, such as:
- VitalRec is an online database of legal files. Go to their website, write the required information: first name, last name, your state, and then click on ‘Search now’.
- Now you will see on the screen all the available documents, and to get access to them, you will need to create an account.
- Another suitable database is the Archives Records website, as you may see below.
- Write your first name, last name, specify your state and type of document, and click on ‘View Records’.
Visit your county clerk’s office
Both the different types of vital records, as well as the current fee for requesting copies, can be viewed on the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
To obtain a certified copy of a divorce decree, you will need to contact the clerk of court or the county clerk’s office in the county or city where the divorce was granted.
Generally, a copy can only be served on one of the two parties to the divorce or their attorneys.
What if I got divorced abroad?
If your permanent residence is inside the United States, but your divorce was abroad, you will need to contact the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate to request a copy.
Also, it is possible to take the decree to a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for authentication or certification if the country where you got divorced is a member of the Hague Convention on Authentication of Documents.
For your convenience, you can also get death certificates, marriage certificates, and other documents from the sources mentioned above.
If you are unable to obtain a certified statement from a government agency, you must instead provide a notarized personal affidavit. In this article, you can read an easy guide to make one.