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How to get a copy of divorce papers

Whether it’s because you’ve misplaced your decree absolute in regards to your divorce, or because you don’t think you were ever given an official certificate, it is possible to get a copy of divorce papers.

There are different ways to do this depending on if you know your divorce case number or not. There are also different costs: if you know your number, getting a copy of your papers should be around £10, but if you don’t it could be as much as £65

It’s worth noting it’s only possible to get a copy of a decree absolute after your divorce has been finalised, you cannot ask the court for a copy of the decree nisi or petition for divorce.

If you have any questions about divorce, whether you’ve already been divorced and are unhappy with the settlements, or are starting the process, First4lawyers can help. With an expert team of divorce law solicitors available, you can get in touch for initial free, impartial advice.

How to get a copy of your divorce papers if you have a case number

To receive a copy of your divorce papers, you should:

  1. Contact the court that dealt with the divorce. Use the government’s finder tool if you can’t remember.
  2. Tell them the case number.
  3. Send payment of £10 by debit or credit card, cheque or postal order.

The only document you’ll be able to receive from the court is the decree absolute, which makes your divorce legal.

To pay the fee, you’re able to contact the court over the phone and provide them with your card details. If you’d prefer to pay by cheque or postal order, it should be made out to ‘HM Courts and Tribunal Services’, and sent to the court alongside your name and address for them to process the fee.

How to get a copy of divorce papers without the case number

Chances are, if you’ve misplaced your documents, you might not know the case number.

In this instance, you’ll need to get in touch with the court, and provide them with the date that you believe the divorce was made official. They’ll then search their records five years either side of this date, to look for your case.

If they can’t find the case, they’ll search the previous 10 years of records.

For every 10 years searched, there’s a £45 fee. Because of this it’s worthwhile trying to give as accurate a date as possible, to avoid the court needing to search multiple decades for the case. The court will tell you the total fee required.

To pay the fees for this service, you can either call the court and pay using a debit or credit card, or make out a cheque to ‘HM Courts and Tribunals Services’, and post it to the court alongside your name and address.

How to get a copy of divorce papers without knowing which court to contact

If you’ve forgotten which court dealt with your divorce, you can still replace the papers. You will need to deal with the Central Family Court, and tell them the estimated date that you were served the decree absolute using the D440 Request for search for Divorce Decree Absolute form.

They will search their records over a 10-year period to find your case details, but when you go down this avenue, there is a £65 fee for every 10 years searched.

To pay the fee to this court, you’ll need to fill the D440 form. If you choose to pay by cheque or postal order, you’ll need to send the form with the cheque/postal order (made out to ‘HM Courts and Tribunals Service’) to the address listed on the form.

If paying by credit or debit card, you’ll need to email the form to the Central Family Court, which should then allow you to pay the fee directly over the phone.

Do you need help with a divorce?

If you’re looking for help with any stage of a divorce, First4lawyers can help. We have a variety of online guides explaining how to carry out different parts of the application, but if you need something more personalised, you can contact one of our law specialists today and who can help answer any questions.

Note: First4lawyers offers this information as guidance, not advice. Before taking any action, you should seek professional assistance tailored to your personal circumstances and not rely on First4lawyers’ online information alone.