Information Found in a Divorce Decree
Upon any divorce becoming final and approved by the court, the presiding judge signs a divorce decree and files it with the corresponding county records office where it was granted. This decree includes very specific information regarding the divorce petition, hearing and arrangements, as well as any orders that were issued throughout the divorce proceedings. If you have ever been divorced, you may be interested to know what information is found in your decree, who can access it and why you may need it in the future.
Details of Divorce Proceedings Held with Your Local County Clerk
As part of the final divorce record in conjunction with the divorce certificate, the divorce decree is often filed with the County Clerk where the divorce was granted and finalized. As an official record of the divorce proceedings, you’ll find various information in this documentation including any division of property and debt, child custody and visitation, and any child or alimony support agreed upon and ordered by the divorce court.
Other information found in this record may include the names of the minor children resulting from the marriage, especially if they were the subject of custody and support hearings. The reasons for the divorce will be explicitly outlined in the decree, as well as responses to any at-fault claims from the petitioning party.
In addition, any orders that occurred during the divorce proceedings such as a required separation, restraining orders or other issues that were part of the divorce are included. These detailed records are often used by investigators in future legal matters when a person’s character needs to be examined.
Who Can Access the Decree
You and your ex-spouse will be able to access official copies of your decree by visiting the Clerk’s Office in person and providing the necessary identification. Your legal representative will also be granted access to these records, and many attorneys will maintain a copy of them in their own files for future reference purposes.
Due to the sensitive information included in these decrees, outside parties will generally need a court order to access them fully. However, the general public may be able to verify a divorce if they know your name and the date and location where your divorce was granted.
Why You May Need a Copy of Your Final Record
If your divorce included child custody and support arrangements, you may need confirmation of these in the future should your ex-spouse fail to meet these requirements or comply with them. In addition, if your ex-spouse ever takes a form of credit out in your name or a credit bureau mistakenly includes their new lines of credit on your report, you’ll need to prove the date of divorce with one of these official copies.
Ensuring you have a copy of your divorce decree on hand will help you to prove the final arrangements of your divorce in the future, or simply confirm the divorce took place. Although you may access them and obtain more copies in the future, the general public can not due to the sensitive information about you and any children you may have included in this document. If you don’t currently have a copy of your decree, a good place to start is at your local Clerk’s Office, or even your divorce attorney if they are nearby and handy; in the meantime, you can rest easy that these “public” records are not being accessed by parties without legally being approved to do so.