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HOW TO GET A CERTIFIED COPY OF YOUR DIVORCE DECREE IN THE UK

If you are reading this, congratulations! After a probably long and painful process, you’ve read all about how to get a divorce and have managed to get it.

Don’t worry, the hardest part is over. However, you’ll soon learn that in order to start this new chapter in your life, you’ll need a copy of your divorce decree, also known as decree absolute, to prove your new status or do some paperwork.

Here is what you need to know about it to request one.


Getting a copy of a divorce decree


WHAT IS A DIVORCE DECREE OR DECREE ABSOLUTE?

The decree absolute is a legal document that proves you’ve ended your marriage. You had to apply for it after you obtained your decree nisi as part of your divorce process. It has no expiration date and serves to prove your new marital status. You’ll be asked to provide this paper if you want to remarry, cancel joint accounts, change the name of beneficiaries in your insurance policy, and so on.

Any of the two concerning parties can apply for a copy. However, if you filed for the divorce but didn’t apply for a copy - and your husband or wife wants to get one - they’ll have to wait an extra 3 months after the standard 43 days to request it.

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably used a lawyer to help you get through the divorce process. When he told you it was all over, it was because he had already received this piece of paper from the court. If your lawyer hasn’t sent you a copy, you should get in contact to request one.


HOW CAN I GET A CERTIFIED COPY OF A DIVORCE DECREE?

If you haven’t used a lawyer or you have lost your decree absolute, you can apply to the court for a certified copy. The processing time and cost to obtain it will depend on whether or not you’re aware of some information concerning your divorce, such as your case number and the name of the court that handled your divorce.


A) IF YOU KNOW THE NECESSARY INFORMATION REGARDING YOUR DIVORCE

If you hold the name of your court tribunal and case number, the process is quite straightforward. You’ll be able to find this information on the notice you received when you applied for the divorce. When you know this, obtaining the copy will cost £10 and you’ll get the copy within a week after the court gets your payment.

You must request the copy of your decree absolute by sending an email or letter containing the following information:


  • • your name and address

  • • your divorce case number

  • • whether you want to pay:

  • - by debit or credit card. You must include your phone number in your email or letter. The court will call you to take your payment.

  • - by check or postal order. You must make the cheque or postal order payable to ‘HM Courts & Tribunals Service’ and send it to the court.


B) IF YOU DON’T KNOW THE NECESSARY INFORMATION REGARDING YOUR DIVORCE

If you have lost the information concerning your divorce, it’s still possible to obtain a copy of your divorce decree. You’ll have to fill in form D440 and send it to the address shown there to ask the Central Family Court to search for your decree absolute or final order. You’ll be asked to provide an approximate date of when your divorce was filed.

Since they have to carry out a search, the cost will be higher; you’ll have to pay £65 for each 10 year period that’s searched. You can make the payment:

  • by cheque or postal order payable to ‘HM Courts & Tribunals Service’ and sent with your form.

  • by credit or debit card. You’ll need to include a letter with your form stating your phone number and requesting the court to call you to take your payment.

We hope this article has helped you learn what you need to do to request a certified copy of your divorce decree. Once you get it, you'll be able to get your paperwork sorted and move on. We wish you all the best with your new life!


[Divorce decree UK]

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