How to Obtain a Docket Number of a Divorce

By Jeff Franco J.D./M.A./M.B.A.

With so many state, city, county and other local courthouses having jurisdiction to hear divorce cases around the country, the process of obtaining a docket number for a divorce case depends entirely on the rules of each court. However, despite the lack of uniformity of court rules across jurisdictions, obtaining a docket number isn’t difficult at all.

With so many state, city, county and other local courthouses having jurisdiction to hear divorce cases around the country, the process of obtaining a docket number for a divorce case depends entirely on the rules of each court. However, despite the lack of uniformity of court rules across jurisdictions, obtaining a docket number isn’t difficult at all.

What Are Docket Numbers

Whenever someone decides to initiate divorce proceedings, the courthouse where the plaintiff files the divorce petition or similar document creates a new file and assigns it a unique docket number. Some jurisdictions refer to the docket number by a different name, such as case or index number, but its purpose is always the same. Just like your Social Security number identifies who you are, a docket number will identify a specific divorce case. To insure documents are filed correctly, the docket number is usually listed on every single document that either spouse files with the court. Whether you need the docket number for your own divorce or the divorce of someone else, there are a number of ways you can obtain it.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Online Court Database

Many state courthouses allow you to obtain a docket number for a divorce case on their respective websites. The website of the Superior Court of California in Santa Clara County provides a good example of a user-friendly database to search for a docket number. By indicating the type of court case, which in many jurisdictions is the family court, and the names of either or both parties, the system will provide you with the docket numbers you need. As a result, it’s beneficial to check the website of the court hearing the divorce matter first since it’s likely the most convenient and quickest method for obtaining a docket number.

Contact Court Clerk

If your courthouse doesn’t maintain an online database of divorce case docket numbers, the website is likely to provide instructions on how to obtain it. In New Jersey, for example, you must contact a customer service number and ask a representative to conduct a docket number search. However, you must know the specific court, names of the parties and approximate year the divorce occurred. In the event the court will not provide a divorce docket number over the phone, you may have no other choice but to make your request in writing or in person.

Using Docket Numbers

If you are a party to the divorce, you need the docket number for your case to file documents with the court or review your own file. In some jurisdictions, having the docket number doesn’t entitle you to view an actual divorce file unless you are a party to the divorce or an attorney representing either spouse. For example, Delaware County, Pennsylvania is one jurisdiction that limits access to divorce files to unrelated parties and only allows the general public to view divorce decrees – but nothing else inside the file. New York courts are even more restrictive, denying the general public access to any divorce file unless they are a party to the divorce, an attorney that represents either party or possess a notarized letter from someone authorized to access the file.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How to Find Previous Divorce Documents in Colorado

References

Related articles

How Can a Petitioner Drop a Divorce?

If you file for divorce and later change your mind, you can ask the court to drop the case. The legal term for this action is "dismissing" your petition for divorce before it is finalized. The procedure for dismissal will depend on your state's laws as well as your spouse's response to the request. Since filing for divorce does not change your marital status, the effect of a dismissal is simply a removal of the case from the court's docket.

Reasons for Change of Venue in Colorado Divorce Law

In Colorado, venue for family law actions, such as divorce, is generally located in the county where the defendant lives or where the defendant is officially served. For example, if both a plaintiff and defendant live in the same Colorado county, venue is proper in the county where they live. By contrast, if the defendant is not a Colorado resident but can be served with court documents while he is visiting Colorado, venue is proper in the county where he was served, regardless of whether the plaintiff lives there.

How to Get Old Divorce Papers

Divorce is a public legal proceeding, which means old divorce paperwork is generally public record and accessible by anyone. The best source for old divorce paperwork is the public records archive in the courthouse where the divorce was filed. All documents filed with the court in a divorce case will be permanently archived by the court clerk. Some state courts even provide online access to old divorce files.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How to Get Copies of a Divorce Decree in Texas

If you need a copy of a Texas divorce decree, you must request it from the district clerk at the courthouse where the ...

How to Get a Copy of a Divorce Online in New Jersey

Certified divorce documents are often needed for various financial transactions and other legal matters. The New Jersey ...

How to Obtain Divorce Records in Philadelphia

Your safe or safety deposit box should contain important documents such as your will, real estate title documents and ...

How to Find Divorce Records for the State of New Jersey

In New Jersey, the process for finding and requesting divorce records depends on the date of the divorce. The New ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED