How to Obtain a Divorce Decree From California

By Anna Assad

A divorce decree, the final order from the court that officially ended the marriage, is needed for various reasons, such as to verify the divorce terms and to prove the divorce is final. Losing the original divorce decree makes proving the divorce terms or end of the marriage more difficult. Either former spouse has the right to get a certified — or official — copy of the divorce decree from the California county superior court that issued the decree.

A divorce decree, the final order from the court that officially ended the marriage, is needed for various reasons, such as to verify the divorce terms and to prove the divorce is final. Losing the original divorce decree makes proving the divorce terms or end of the marriage more difficult. Either former spouse has the right to get a certified — or official — copy of the divorce decree from the California county superior court that issued the decree.

Step 1

Visit the California county superior court that issued the divorce decree. Bring your photo identification, such as a valid state license or passport.

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Step 2

Tell the court clerk you need a certified copy of the divorce decree, and ask for a copy request form. Though the forms vary by county, you typically need the following information: the names of both parties to the divorce, the date the divorce was filed, and the date the decree was issued. Sign and date the form. Give the form and your identification to the court clerk.

Step 3

Pay the clerk the fee for the copy. Fees vary by California county. Keep the divorce decree in a safe place.

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A divorce decree is a document prepared by the court that specifies the terms and conditions of the divorce. Typically, it is kept on file at the Office of the County Clerk in the county where the divorce proceedings occurred. It is important to have a copy of your divorce decree as it is the formal legal document that declares your divorce finalized and, where appropriate, contains the court’s determinations as to division of marital property, child support and visitation, and spousal support. You need a copy of your divorce decree to remarry, obtain a legal name change, or remove a former spouse’s name from any joint loans or bank accounts.

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