Obtaining a Copy of my Divorce Decree and Related Documents
People sometimes lose important records, including their divorce documents, or need to obtain additional copies of the same documents filed in their case. If this applies to you, you may be concerned that you have to ask your ex-spouse for a copy of the divorce decree or don’t know how to find other filed documents. The good news is that you can obtain your divorce decree and other filed documents directly from the court in which you were divorced or the Clerk of Courts in Trenton.
What courts hear divorce cases in New Jersey?
Divorce cases are heard in the Family Division in the Superior Court of New Jersey. Each County in the State of New Jersey has one Superior Court and a corresponding Family Division that hears dissolution (divorce) matters. People often file for divorce in the county in which they live immediately before filing for Divorce. Therefore, if you are looking for your divorce decree, you should contact the county where your divorce occurred. The Family Division in that county should have a record of your divorce.
What records do the courts have?
When people get divorced, there is a Judgement of Divorce that is signed by a Superior Court Judge. The Judgement serves as notice to the world that you are no longer married. The Judgment may also change one spouse’s name back to his or her maiden name. Additionally, if you and your ex-spouse reached an agreement or settled all of your matters without a trial, you would likely have signed a marital settlement agreement. The court may have a copy of this document as well. A marital settlement agreement may include a child support agreement and worksheet that sets forth the amount of support ordered.
Some documents that are requested less frequently are Case Information Statements (CIS). The Case Information Statement includes forms that would have been filled out and filed with your divorce complaint or shortly thereafter. It lists all of the expenses and assets that you had individually and together with your spouse during the marriage. This also includes your respective incomes, bonuses, and other sources of income. The CIS is what the court and the other party used in assessing all of the financial aspects of your case. The court should have these documents as well.
What happens if my divorce is considered old and documents are archived?
In some cases, the divorce may be considered “old” and the documents would be archived in a warehouse in Trenton. The time varies from county to county as to when the documents are archived. However, if you are unable to locate your documents at the county level, no matter how old the case may be, you can get a Certificate of Divorce in lieu of a judgment from the Superior Court Clerk’s Office in Trenton. The Clerk will charge a small fee for this certificate, but it will have the county, the docket number, the names of the parties, and the date of the Judgment of Divorce, as well as a seal.
Certificate of Divorce in NJ
In order to get the certificate, you will need to know the county in which your divorce took place and the docket number. It is not unusual to not know your docket number. To find your docket number, you can call the Clerk’s Customer Service Unit at 609-421-6100. You must be able to provide them with the county in which the divorce occurred, the year, and the names of the parties involved. If your case is still at the county level and has not been archived, you can contact the Family Division in that county and request the docket number and copies by providing the same information.
Consult Divorce Attorneys
You may also go back to your divorce attorney and request copies of all divorce documents. Your attorney should have a copy of the documents and may charge you a fee for copying. If you need to obtain a certified copy of the judgment, you must contact the court. If you have any questions about this process or need assistance, we can help.
At Jacobs Berger, LLC, we are on your side and we are also ready to back up your documents for a quick, safe, and easy retrieval when you need them. For more information in this regard, and a confidential Strategic Planning Session, please visit our online form or through our Morristown offices by dialing (973) 710-4366 today regarding your divorce, child custody, child support, alimony, or any other family law matter.