There are times when major changes to a family or legal situation require certified proof; for example, a marriage certificate, birth certificate, death certificate, and proof of divorce. After a divorce, you’ll receive a certified paper copy of your marital dissolution to serve as proof of divorce. You can also request additional copies of this and other vital records such as birth certificates, death certificates, and marriage certificates through the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment either in person, through the mail, online, or directly from the state’s vital records department.
Reasons You Might Need Proof of Your Colorado Divorce
Unlike an heirloom marriage certificate, you probably don’t wish to frame a copy of your divorce decree to hang on the wall; however, there are times when you need to have this tangible proof of your divorce.
You’ll need proof of your divorce for any of the following reasons:
- To change your name
- To remarry
- To get legal reinforcement of orders in your divorce judgment such as child support, spousal support, and the division of marital assets and debts
- To share child custody/parenting time orders with your child’s school or daycare
- Financing a home
- Filing for Social Security
- For income tax filing
Certified copies of a divorce certificate include a raised seal and a judge’s signature. They are printed on special security paper and currently cost $17.00 per copy. Uncertified copies are typically printed on ordinary copy paper. You may need the certified copy for legal purposes and the uncertified copies should suffice as proof of your divorce for school and other unofficial purposes. You may need both types of copies as proof of divorce at various times of your life.
What’s the Difference Between a Divorce Decree and a Divorce Record?
While a divorce decree contains the final judgments and legal obligations of both spouses, the divorce record is a more complete document with the hearing transcript and all files and documents in the case included. Like most court proceedings, full divorce records are open to public access and viewing, but only the spouses in the divorce and their attorneys may obtain certified copies.
There are many reasons the public might wish to access divorce records. Some divorces of high-profile individuals may be newsworthy events. In other cases, individuals seeking a skilled Denver divorce lawyer may wish to peruse previous case files to see how a prospective lawyer handled a similar case or to weigh the attorney’s track record of success. Even nosy neighbors may access public divorce records. In certain circumstances, divorcing spouses may request that parts of their divorce record be redacted, especially if it reveals identifying information that could place children’s privacy or safety at risk.
Finding Historical Divorce Records
Colorado’s Office of Health and Environment keeps divorce records for divorces that took place in the state between 1900 and 1939 and from 1975 to the present. The Colorado State Archives holds records for divorces by county in a database that’s searchable by both name and timespan.