In today’s day and age, everyone wants easy access to important documents online. This goes for divorce papers too, though there are a number of different types of online divorce papers.
Here are some basics on how to get divorce papers online
Petition for divorce
A petition for divorce is basically a request that the court grant a divorce.
In many states, the government will offer free online divorce papers, including the petition and related documents. A couple simply has to fill out a form and then the court can review it and grant the divorce. A simple form can also be used for more complicated divorces in some states. Illinois, for example, has a series of standardized printable divorce papers (forms) that every court across the state is required to accept.
This standardization can really help divorcing couples save money.
The petition is basically just the starting point for a divorce. It gets the request in front of a court, and begins the process of dividing a couple’s assets, caring for their children, and dividing their assets. Once the process is over, this initial request is not terribly important. You can often still get copies from the court, but they are not usually needed.
The end result of the divorce process is a divorce decree.
This is the order a court will issue that will terminate the marriage. At the same time, it will usually also make ruling on child care and property division. The divorce decree can remain important for a very long time. Couples are sometimes ordered to pay child or spousal support. The decree is a legal document that a person would need to enforce those obligations.
Divorce decrees are usually only stored by the court that issued them. Depending on the situation, getting a copy can be a real challenge. When it comes to decrees, you might not be able to get divorce papers online. Consider Massachussets as a fairly typical example. To get a copy of your divorce decree, which they call a judgement of divorce, you need to fill out a form and have your docket number handy.
If the record is “impounded,” meaning not available to the public, then you need to physically go to court that has it.
Most people looking for a copy of divorce papers online are actually looking for a divorce certificate. This is just like a record of a birth, death, or marriage. The document does not have many details, but it officially establishes that a couple is divorced. The document may be needed to do something like buy a house without your ex-spouse.
Can you get divorce papers online?
The bottom line is that in many states do allow you to get divorce certificates online.
Most have outsourced the provision of these documents to a third party. The most popular is probably VitalChek, which is used by many state and local governments across the country. You can request documents online in a matter of minutes, and you can get some of the divorce papers online immediately. The service typically costs less than $100.
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