Pennsylvania Divorce Records
Divorce records become available after a judge has finalized the dissolution of marriage. A divorce certificate is a useful document to keep in your files because it enables you to move forward after your marriage has been dissolved legally. When you wonder, “Where can I get a copy of my divorce papers?” you most likely are looking for the certificate because there are legal matters you need to take care of. In Pennsylvania, marriage and divorce records can only be found in the county court where the event took place and the documents were filed. Therefore, a copy of divorce papers will need to be requested through the county clerk's office where your divorce was granted. However, you can read additional information on the process in the sections below.
How to Get Divorce Records in Pennsylvania
If you are wondering how to find PA divorce documents, then you first need to locate the county courthouse where the dissolution was finalized. A copy of divorce decree and other dissolution paperwork cannot be obtained from the state or third-party sources. You should ask the courthouse how to get divorce papers so it can inform you of the way you can submit your request, which is usually online, by mail or in person. Regardless, a public record divorce search can be conducted with the county before you submit your request so you can verify you have the appropriate location and information.
You may be able to order a copy of divorce certificate documents through certain county clerk offices, but not all courthouses will provide this option. If they do fulfill a divorce record search request online, then you will be required to fill out a request through its online platform and pay a service fee using a major credit card. If you are wondering how to get a copy of divorce papers by mail, then you will still have to contact the county clerk to obtain a copy of the request form and verify the mailing address. This may involve picking up an application or going online. The requests for a Pennsylvania certified copy of divorce decree are to be sent back to the appropriate county clerk's office.
To have the county clerk find divorce records in person, call the office ahead of time to see if you need to book an appointment. Certain courthouses are extremely busy and cannot accommodate walk-in services. Obtaining a divorce decree copy or divorce certificate in person requires you to bring valid photo identification, such as a state-issued ID card, and the payment of the service fee. Check with the clerk in advance to see what forms of payment are acceptable.
Types of Pennsylvania Divorce Documents
Before you search divorce records in Pennsylvania, you should determine which kind of document you need. A copy of divorce papers can refer to a certificate, decree or the complete divorce record. A divorce certificate is found through a divorce search of public records and contains general information such as the names of the divorcees, the date of the marriage, the date of the divorce and the number of children between the two. These divorce records serve most legal purposes and private purposes such as personal record.
A decree of divorce can usually only be requested by one of the parties involved in the divorce. A divorce decree copy states the same information as a divorce certificate and lists more detailed information regarding any settlements of the divorce. For example, a certified copy of divorce decree might provide details on the amount of alimony or child support a former spouse is required to pay. You will need to know how to get a copy of divorce decree terms if your former spouse reneges on the dissolution agreement. You may need to use the information in your decree as proof of financial responsibility when learning how to apply for Medicaid and other government assistance programs. Although a divorce decree is suitable for official purposes, it is best used for private purposes since it contains more information that is personal.
Official divorce records can refer to the documents kept on file by the court, which are files of all paperwork associated with the divorce including paystubs that may have been used to determine child support payment or statements signed by the divorcees. A typical divorce record search will not provide access to court divorce records. However, both parties involved in the divorce may request the files for legal purposes only.
Find out why you will need a copy of your divorce certificate when signing up for health-related programs including Medicare by downloading our free and comprehensive guide.
Uses For Divorce Records in Pennsylvania
As previously mentioned, divorce records are useful and sometimes essential when you need to begin the process of separating your life from your former spouse. A certified divorce certificate allows you to settle debts with creditors and lenders separately if the accounts were initially opened together. Furthermore, a divorce certificate is required to be presented when a divorcee wishes to remarry and attempts to apply for a marriage license.
Additionally, you may need a copy of a divorce certificate during the process of how to change your name on your driver's license or Social Security card. This is especially important if you filed joint taxes when you were married and now need to file under your new name. In any case, always keep at least two copies of your divorce papers in your files, so you have them prepared when you need them.
For more details on changing your name and address on your driver's license and vehicle registration information after a divorce, download our detailed Pennsylvania DOT guide.