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The final decree, of the decree of divorce, is an official document. It’s something that makes official – the divorce. It’s signed by a presiding judge, and it will list the parties involved. It officiates all the decisions made, regarding child custody, division of assets, and other affairs. If you’re a party to the divorce, it’s extremely crucial you keep a copy of the decree in a safe place. It will probably be requested in the future by agencies, and businesses of you, in order to verify your marital status. In most cases, the court will provide you with a certified copy of the decree. It’s quite easy though, to get another copy if you need it. If you aren’t a party to the divorce, many courts will require additional paperwork before releasing a copy of the decree to you.
County Clerk’s Office
The court where you file the divorce, is required to keep a copy of the divorce decree in it’s records. Depending on where you live, it will keep an electronic and hardcopy. By state law, the court is required to keep the decree on file for a period of 7-10 years. If you need a copy, you should go to the clerk’s office of the court, once you have an idea of where the decree is located. You will need identification, as well as the case number. If you don’t have this number, the clerk can search by the party, the date, attorney, or judge. If you aren’t a party to the divorce, the court can require you to have a notarized letter, or signed affidavit from one of the parties.
Department of Records
If the clerk no longer has the records in custody, you must apply to the department of vital records, or registrar, in the county where the divorce took place. If the county records department doesn’t have it, you need to contact the state department of records. You can find the info online. If you aren’t a party to the divorce, you’ll need to find a signed and notarized permission from one of the parties.
If you can track down a copy of the decree, and had an attorney represent you in the case – you can contact this attorney for a copy of the divorce decree. Attorneys keep files on hand for many years. If your attorney doesn’t have the file, you may be able to contact your ex-spouses attorney.
As a last resort you may be able to get a copy of the divorce decree online. Various online services help you locate the decree. They typically charge a fee for this service.
If you need help, speak to one of our NYC divorce lawyers for a free consultation.