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Divorce decree search

When do you need this service?

You need our divorce decree search service if you require an original court-sealed copy of your own (or someone else’s) divorce decree absolute, or final order dissolving a civil partnership.

  • You want to remarry or form another civil partnership and need evidence that you are legally entitled to do so
  • You want to find out whether your spouse or civil partner has obtained a divorce or dissolution without your knowledge
  • You want to find out whether a friend or relative or someone else has been divorced or has had a civil partnership dissolved
  • You are tracing a family tree

Central Index

A central index of all decrees absolute of divorce and final orders dissolving a civil partnership granted by the courts of England and Wales since 1858 is kept at the Central Family Court in London. This is a public record and you can make a search relating to your own or any other marriage or civil partnership. You can obtain an official written result of the search, as well as a copy of any decree absolute of divorce or dissolution granted to the parties concerned.

What do we do?

We will prepare the necessary application form based upon your answers to our questionnaire. We will tell you what the court fee is, which will depend upon the number of years to be searched. We will then carry out the search on your behalf by postal application to the court. 

Possible Outcomes

Once the search has been completed there are a number of possible outcomes.

Firstly, the result of the search may confirm that no trace of a decree absolute of divorce or dissolution has been found from the information supplied.

Secondly, the result of the search may confirm that a decree absolute of divorce or dissolution of civil partnership has been granted, and that the original proceedings took place at the Central Family Court. If so, a copy of the decree absolute or dissolution will be sent to us with the result of the search.

Finally, the result of the search may confirm that a decree absolute of divorce or dissolution has been pronounced, but that the proceedings took place in a different Family Court, in which case the Central Family Court will write directly to the appropriate court. This court should post a copy of the decree absolute to us within a couple of weeks.

We will send you the official result of the search, whether it is positive or negative, plus any related decree absolute of divorce or dissolution if applicable.


josiah-lake gardiner is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.