How to Get a Certified Copy of a Divorce Decree From Kern County, California

By Teo Spengler - Updated October 15, 2018

The divorce is long over and you remember every agonizing moment of it just like it happened yesterday. Yet, other people and government agencies weren't there and didn't experience it. That's why you may be asked to prove the fact of your divorce, in certain circumstances. The easiest and best way to do this is to have a certified copy of your divorce decree. If you were divorced in Kern County, you can get certified divorce records from the Kern County superior court records.

Kern County Divorce Records

You can't keep a divorce a secret, and it's difficult to imagine why anyone would try to do so. Although the details of your divorce may be private, the fact of it is public. In California, anyone can get informational copies of a divorce decree from the California Department of Public Health that testify to the fact of the dissolution. These documents are called "Certificates of Record" and include the names of the parties to a divorce, the county where the divorce was filed and the court case number. These are not a certified copies of a divorce decree, however, and don't even specify whether the divorce went through.

Certified copies of actual divorce decrees are available only from the Superior Court in the county where the divorce was filed. These are available to the parties themselves or certain other individuals with close family ties or good cause. If you were divorced in Kern County superior court, you'll want to go back there to obtain the certified copy of the divorce decree from Kern County.

Certified Copy of a Divorce Decree

A certified copy of a divorce decree is more than a photocopy of the court document. It is an official copy, made by a court officer in the place where the official document is kept. That officer makes sure that it is a true copy and, to prove its authenticity, the officer stamps the copy with an embossed seal of the court or the state.

You may require a certified copy of your divorce decree when you need to show the facts of your divorce for government benefits. For example, if you are making a claim for Social Security benefits through your ex-spouse, you may need a certified copy of the divorce decree. In some places, you may also need the document if you want to remarry. If you were divorced in Kern County, you'll have to work with the Kern County superior court to get a certified copy of your decree.

Kern County Divorce Papers

If you went through a divorce in Kern County, you can obtain a certified copy of your divorce decree only from the Kern County superior court. You'll want to contact the superior court to get the ball rolling. The primary Metropolitan Division of the Kern County Superior Court is located at 1415 Truxtun Avenue, Bakersfield, CA 93301. That is a good place to ask for information about exactly where you should file the request for the document.

The clerk is going to need fairly detailed information about your divorce. To expedite things, bring the date of your marriage, the date of the divorce and the divorce case number. If you don't know the case number, you can pay the clerk a fee to look it up for you. You will also have to bring identification, like a California driver's license and/or a passport to prove your identity. The clerk can usually provide the certified copy to you the same day you make the request. But don't forget to bring a means to pay the fee. This includes a per-page, copying fee plus another fee, currently under $20, for a certified copy of the judgment of dissolution.

About the Author

Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.

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