How Do I Get a Copy of a Divorce Decree That Is Twenty Years Old?

By Jalisa Summerville
Each county outlines specific guidelines and procedures for obtaining copies of a divorce decree.

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A divorce decree is a legal document prepared by the courts and signed by a judge that outlines the terms and conditions of a divorce. The county clerk of court's office usually files and maintains the document in the county where the plaintiff filed for divorce. If you need to obtain a certified copy of a divorce decree from 20 years ago, in some cases the clerk of court might be able to retrieve your case or file number on the computer and locate the decree on microfilm or microfiche.

Gather information related to your divorce. In most instances, you will need a valid photo ID or a phone or utility bill that displays your current address, the names of both parties, the file or case number and the date of the divorce.

Contact the county clerk of court's office where you filed for divorce and inquire about the steps needed to obtain a divorce decree issued 20 years ago.

Ask about eligibility requirements, as some agencies only release divorce decrees to the individuals identified on the document, immediate family members or an authorized legal representative, such as an attorney. Also, ask about what specific personal identification documents are needed to submit your request and fee amounts.

Complete any required paperwork, if applicable. For example, in Manchester, New Hampshire, applicants must complete a request for a divorce decree online before submitting the request by mail. You might be required to include your contact information, the reason for your request and the location and date of your divorce on the form.

Pay fees. In most cases, you will need to pay fees to obtain copies of your divorce decree. Although fees may vary by county, they usually range between $15 to $30 for the first copy and between $10 to $20 for each additional copy.

Deliver your paperwork and fees to the clerk of court's office to obtain the divorce decree. Depending on your particular county clerk of court, you can opt to submit a request via phone, e-mail or postal mail.

About the Author

Jalisa Summerville is a social worker and former high school occupational English teacher who began writing in 2006. She has written grants for nonprofit organizations serving underprivileged children. Summerville holds a Master of Social Work from East Carolina University.

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