What is a Certified Copy of My Decree of Divorce, and Why Would I Need One?
Welcome back to client school. So you just received copy of your decree of divorce, signed and entered by the judge. Congratulations. It’s over. You are now divorced.
You may now need to make changes to titles, accounts, insurance policies, and other things that will require you to prove you are divorced.
Sometimes, you may need to register a copy of your decree in a different state. And having a certified copy often comes in handy if you need to enforce your custody or parent-time rights and law enforcement officers ask to see a copy of your court orders. And most of the people or agencies who need a copy of your decree won’t simply accept a photocopy or a digital image of it. They require what is known as a certified copy, and in some cases, as an exemplified copy.
A certified copy of a court record is dated, signed, and stamped by the Clerk of Court certifying that the copy is a true copy of the original court record. It does not certify that the primary document is genuine, only that it is a true copy of the primary document. If a person or agency needs an authenticated copy, that’s called an exemplified copy.
An exemplified court record is an authenticated copy of a certified copy. To authenticate a copy, the judge certifies that the court is a court of record and that the clerk’s signature appearing on the certification is original.
The Clerk of Court then certifies that the judge is a judge and has control over the court records. The Clerk of Court also states that the judge’s signature is genuine. An exemplified record may be required in order to record a judgment or decree in another state.
To obtain a certified copy or a certified and exemplified copy, of your Decree, go to the courthouse that issued your Decree. Bring I.D. with you and at least the top sheet of a copy of your Decree, if you have a regular (non-certified) copy already. If you don’t have any copy of your decree, know your court case number because that is the way the court will look up your case to print out the copy of the decree to be certified and/or exemplified. Once you give the court clerk your case number and the clerk finds your Decree, you can pay for the certified and/or certified and exemplified copy and get a copy right then and there within minutes.
As of February 2017, when this post was published, the fee for a certified copy of a document is $4 per document plus 50 cents per page, and the fee for an exemplified copy of a document is $6 per document plus 50 cents per page. So if your Decree is 11 pages long, you would pay $9.50 per certified copy, $11.50 per certified and exemplified copy. It’s wise to get yourself a couple certified copies of your Decree. Keep one safe at home and another in your car for when you need them.