Get a Copy of Your Divorce Record | Massachusetts divorce records
What is a Divorce Record/Decree?
A divorce record, also often called a divorce decree, formally documents the final binding court judgment dissolving a married couple’s legal ties to one another after divorce proceedings conclude. It contains vital details about the termination of marital status, child custody, asset distribution, spousal support if applicable, and more based on hearings.
Why Obtain a Copy of Divorce Decree?
There are many important reasons to secure certified copies of a finalized divorce decree for your records beyond closure. These may include needing legal proof of single status to remarry, resolving disputes about divorce details like home ownership transfers, estate planning, and enrolling children in schools or activities. Accessing copies early streamlines future needs.
Overview of Process
Obtaining copies of official divorce records requires contacting the specific court clerk’s office that handled your divorce case originally to request certified duplicates by mail or in-person visit. Certain steps help facilitate getting decrees efficiently.
Search for your case on masscourts.org
What You Need
To receive authorized copies of final divorce decrees, you must provide:
The unique case docket number assigned for your divorce court proceedings by the court clerk – this helps them accurately locate status and documentation.
If unknown, search online court records, call the clerk’s office for assistance finding your case, or visit the courthouse to inquire in person for the fastest identification.
Having the exact court location and both spouses’ names speed up the lookup process.
While policies can vary slightly by state, standard fees using bank checks or money orders to obtain copies of divorce documents include:
Certified bank checks, money orders, attorney/business checks, or cashier’s checks made payable to the correct state court system agency are accepted.
Costs Per Document Type
- Final Judgement of Divorce Decree or Certificate: $20
- Full Divorce Case File: Additional fees per page
- Marital Settlement Agreements: $20 first page, $0.05 per extra page
Requesting by Mail
Once you have your correct divorce case docket number, complete costs, and payment ready, follow this process:
Complete Request Form
Acquire an official records request form through the court clerk site, fill it out fully with identifying details, and then sign.
Mail with Payment to Court
Include precise payment amount per page/document outlined on the website for copies needed to the applicable court address.
Processing times vary but average 1-3 weeks until mailed copies arrive to provide legally binding proof of divorce details.
Besides mailing requests, you can obtain divorce decree copies by:
Bring the Completed Form and Payment to the Court
Visit the family court clerk’s office associated with your case during public hours with the necessary paperwork and payment amount prepared for most instant processing.
Submit at Clerk’s Office
After verification, clerks produce authorized copies directly during the visit, avoiding any mailing delays. In-person requests allow asking procedural questions too.
Checking Divorce Status
Ensure your divorce officially reaches final judgment before seeking decree copies.
Verify Case Reached Final Judgment
Search online court records portals by case number to confirm judge legally ruled on the dissolution of marriage yet under status.
If not finalized, contact your family court clerk for updates on the case progression toward final divorce decree issuance.
Steps to Access Massachusetts Divorce Records:
Accessing Massachusetts divorce records involves several steps:
- Identify the Appropriate Court: Determine which court handled the divorce proceedings. In Massachusetts, divorces are typically handled by the Probate and Family Court in the county where the divorce was filed.
- Gather Necessary Information: Collect relevant details such as the names of the parties involved, the approximate date of the divorce, and the case docket number if available. This information will facilitate the search process.
- Visit the Court Clerk’s Office: Head to the clerk’s office of the appropriate Probate and Family Court. Present the required information to the court clerk and request access to the divorce records.
- Submit Request Form: Complete any necessary request forms provided by the court clerk. These forms may require you to provide details about the divorce, such as the names of the parties and the date of the divorce.
- Pay Any Required Fees: Be prepared to pay any applicable fees for accessing the divorce records. Fees can vary depending on the court and the specific services requested.
- Review the Records: Once the request is processed, you may be granted access to view the divorce records. Review the documents carefully to gather the desired information.
- Make Copies if Needed: If permitted, make copies of the divorce records for your records. Some courts may charge additional fees for copying services.
- Respect Privacy Regulations: Be mindful of any privacy regulations or restrictions governing the access and use of divorce records. Avoid sharing sensitive information without proper authorization.
By following these steps, individuals can effectively access Massachusetts divorce records for various purposes, including legal proceedings, genealogical research, or personal records management.
Key Steps Summarized
Briefly, obtain divorce decrees by first gathering your exact family court case docket ID number and judge’s details. Calculate appropriate costs then complete clerk payment and records request paperwork fully. Mail to the court associated with divorce proceedings or visit the clerk’s office in person during business hours to procure certified copies most quickly.
Contact Info for Questions
If any confusion in locating your case status, paperwork, payments, etc., call the specific county family court clerk personnel for guided assistance in retrieving your divorce records accurately.
1-How long does it take to receive a divorce decree copy?
Timeframes to receive requested official divorce decree copies by mail range between 1-4 weeks typically after processing by clerks. In-person requests during court visits provide copies immediately instead for more urgent needs.
2-Can I get divorce records from another state?
Yes, you can request certified copies of divorce decrees issued in one state while residing in another through that court’s clerk system by mail or electronic requests following their protocols. Fees/costs may differ between states.
3-Are divorce records in Massachusetts public?
Yes, divorce records in Massachusetts are generally considered public records, meaning they are accessible to the public upon request, although certain details may be restricted for privacy reasons.
4-Are divorce records public in the USA?
The accessibility of divorce records in the USA varies from state to state. Some states treat divorce records as public information, while others may have more stringent privacy regulations.
5-How fast can you get a divorce in Massachusetts?
The speed of obtaining a divorce in Massachusetts depends on factors such as the complexity of the case and court schedules. However, Massachusetts typically has a waiting period of at least 120 days from the date the divorce papers are filed until the divorce can be finalized.
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