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Why Do I Need a Copy of My Divorce Decree?

There are a number of reasons why you should keep your divorce decree safe. To learn more, read on and reach out to our skilled Morris County NJ divorce lawyers.

Why might I need my divorce decree?

One thing you will always want to hold on to is your divorce decree. This is an official document that grants your divorce. In the state of New Jersey, these divorce decrees have a gold seal sticker on them, and you may be asked for this “gold seal copy” for several reasons. It is very crucial that you save this document and keep it secure, as you are likely to need it for more than one post-judgment matter. Some of the most common situations you will need it to include the following:

1. Resume your maiden name
After your divorce, if you would like to resume your maiden name, the divorce decree will be the document that allows you to do so. The judge will ask you about your intentions in resuming your maiden name. Ultimately, once a judge sees that it is an appropriate request, he or she will sign the divorce judgment that includes the full name you wish to resume, the last four digits of your social security number, and your birth date. Once you have the gold seal document, you can go to the Social Security office to start the process of switching your name back. You will have to use this document not only at Social Security, but also at the DMV, and to acquire an updated passport. You may also need it to change your name on your credit cards, although many times the credit card companies will receive a photocopy of the divorce decree.

2. Refinance a home
If you are keeping the marital residence following a divorce, you will likely have to refinance the home in order to clear your former spouse’s name and obligation from the mortgage. In order to do so, most mortgage lenders will ask to see the divorce decree as proof that you are actually divorced and not trying to pull the wool over an unsuspecting spouse’s eyes. Your lender may also want to see your Marital Settlement Agreement to decide if any specific terms must be met prior to supporting your loan.

3. Re-marry
If you choose to take the dive and re-marry, you will need your divorce decree when you apply for your marriage license. The state will want to notice that you are actually divorced and not just separated from a former spouse before they decide to issue you a new marriage license. As bigamy (being legally married to more than one person at the same time) is illegal in New Jersey, it is a critical step in the process of becoming married to another person.


At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, LLC, our seasoned divorce and family law attorneys ensure that through the process of resolving your family matter, you feel empowered, not overwhelmed. Providing unwavering support, undivided attention, and unflinching advocacy, our team invests in your cause, working tirelessly to pave your path toward a brighter tomorrow. If you need an experienced legal team to guide you through your divorce, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark L.L.C today.