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How to replace your lost decree absolute

James Watkins - Law on the Web

  1. 09 November 2015
  2. Wills and Probate
  3. 0 comments
Document drawer

The decree absolute is the final document that you receive when you are divorced – it finalises the divorce and legally separates yourself and your now-ex-spouse.

This might seem like a trivial document – the marriage is over, so why would you need to keep a document to commemorate it?

However, you will need the decree absolute if you need to prove your marital status, or if you get remarried. If you've misplaced it, here is how you can get your decree absolute replaced.

Contacting the court

Getting the replacement is straightforward enough – you just need to write to the court that issued the original decree.

However, you will need to pay to have the document replaced. How much you will have to pay depends on if:

  • you remember which court issued the decree absolute, and
  • you have the case number for your divorce.

If you have the case number and you remember the court

If you have the case number, it will cost you £10 to have the decree absolute replaced.

Write to the court informing them that you want a copy of your decree absolute, including your case number, your address, and a cheque or postal order payable to ‘HM Courts & Tribunals Service’.

You can find the address of the court by using our court finder.

If you don’t have the case number

You can still write to the court to request a copy of the decree absolute in the same way. However, replacing the document without the case number will cost £45.

If you don’t know which court to contact

If you don’t remember where the decree absolute was issued, you will need to contact the Central Family Court – they can track down where the decree came from and send you a replacement. This will cost £65.

You will need to fill in and send a Request for Search for Divorce Decree Absolute form, which can be downloaded here. It should be sent, along with the postal order or cheque, to the following address:

Central Family Court
First Avenue House
42 - 49 High Holborn

You could also telephone the Central Family Court on 0207 421 8594, or email them at

Can’t I just use a photocopy?

No, a photocopy will not be enough – if you are giving notice of intention to marry, you will need to provide an original copy.

How could I find these old details myself?

You should look through old documents you have to see if you have any relating to the divorce, as these will probably have the case number listed on them.

Also (assuming you are on good enough terms with them), you could ask your ex-husband or ex-wife if they have any records or old documents that might contain the case number or other details you are missing.

Need to know more about divorce? Have a look at our divorce section.

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