Often, once a divorce is finalized, there will be a need to obtain a few copies of the divorce records, including the final order for divorce. Common reasons are to change a party’s name, provide the records to various schools or caregivers if they contain visitation schedules, or even for genealogical purposes or for other research. Divorce records are public records, so anyone can view them and access them. All you need to do to get a copy of NJ divorce records is to follow a few simple steps.
First, you should try to view the records in question to make sure you are looking at the right copy and it is what you want. If the divorce in question occurred after 1992, then you can visit the website for the county clerk in the county where the dissolution of marriage was finalized. You will need to enter the name of at least one party on the divorce record. While you can view these documents, they cannot be printed or used for any other legal purposes, but you can write down the docket number.
Once you have the docket number, you should be able to find out which county the divorce took place in, if necessary. The Superior Court has the key on their website which will tell you the county number. So, for example, a number beginning in 02 would mean it is filed in Bergen County, New Jersey. You can find this information on their website.
You can then request NJ divorce records by contacting the courthouse where the divorce occurred. The request can be made by phone, by written request or in person. Before you can order the documents, you must have specific information to give to the clerk, including:
- The names of both parties in the divorce, as well as any maiden name, if applicable
- The county where the divorce occurred and the city in which it was granted
- The year it happened
- And photo identification
The price to obtain copies starts from $.05 per page, and most methods of payment are accepted, although cash will only be accepted if the records are ordered in person. If you prefer to request a copy online or through the mail, then you will need to fill out the Records Request Form and mail or email it to the clerk's office. You should also include a self-addressed, stamped envelope that will hold divorce papers when requesting the records by mail. This is how you get plain copies, which are available to the public at large. Only individuals of the parties listed on the divorce certificate, children of either party or their parents can obtain certified copies of the decree. Usually, a certified copy will incur an additional charge, often a $10.00 surcharge on top of the costs per page.
If you want to look up NJ divorce records from before 1992, there is an alternative process. First, records dating from 1901 up to 1992 must be accessed through the New Jersey Superior Court's index, where you will find the file number. You'll need to contact the New Jersey Superior Court Public Information Center, located in Trenton. You can call them directly, at 609-777-0092. For records from before 1900, you will have to contact the New Jersey State Archives. More information is always better, but you should at least know the court location, parties’ names and date of divorce. You can call the state archives at 609-292-6260.
If you have any questions about how to order NJ divorce records or any questions about a New Jersey divorce, feel free to give the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen a call for a consultation at 201-845-7400.