Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

How Long to Keep Your Divorce Papers

Posted on

Obtaining a divorce is often a difficult journey, and when it’s complete, you’re left facing a new future with entirely new guidelines – along with divorce papers.

One of the last things on your mind may be how long to keep divorce papers, but the truth is that storing them safely for now and into the foreseeable future – along with your marriage certificate and key financial documents – can play an important role in how well you handle the mechanics of your post-divorce life.

If you are facing a divorce or have questions or concerns about your divorce terms, reach out for the help you need from an experienced Pennsylvania divorce attorney.

Keeping Divorce Papers

Ultimately, your divorce papers can help you take a critical step forward into your new life by enforcing the terms of your divorce decree, including:

Additionally, having your divorce decree on hand can help you skirt other administrative headaches, such as changing your name on accounts and documents. It’s important to note that having at least one copy of your divorce decree with the court’s seal on it ensures that you have an official copy, which you may be required to provide.

Your Marriage License and Divorce Decree

By ensuring that your marriage license and your divorce decree are both accessible to you, you have the ability to prove exactly how long your marriage lasted, which can be important for a variety of reasons. Two prime examples include:

  • If you are ever audited by the IRS, you may need to establish when you were married and when you were not.
  • If you were married for at least 10 years, you might be eligible to receive Social Security benefits that are based on your ex’s records and will need to prove the duration of your marriage to do so.

Child Support and Spousal Support

Two divorce-related matters that tend to cause the most problems are the consistent receipt of child support and spousal support – as applicable. If your ex fails to keep up with their court-ordered payments, having your divorce decree, which illustrates the terms of both your child support and spousal support – along with your careful records of when you did receive payments and when you did not – makes it far easier to demonstrate exactly what you are owed and how far off your ex is in terms of making these payments.

Having the necessary documentation can help you avoid the need for the court’s intervention, which is very likely to be a lengthier, more cumbersome, and more expensive process.

The Division of Your Marital Property

Many divorces dictate a change in ownership of assets, such as in relation to the family home or to financial tools. Having your divorce decree, including your settlement agreement, in hand can help you make quick work of – or less cumbersome work of – this process. The fact is that not only is divorce challenging, but its aftermath is as well. Having the documentation you need can put you ahead of the game.


There may come a time when you will need to ask the court for a modification based on significant changes that have occurred since your divorce was finalized. If you have your divorce papers handy, you won’t need to scramble to find them or acquire them as you move forward with the modification process – and you can avoid the expense and hassle of procuring new copies from the court clerk.

Additional Financial Documentation

In addition to concerns about subjects such as how long can you hold divorce papers, it’s important to put some thought into other kinds of documentation.

During the discovery process, both sides – you and your divorcing spouse – were required to provide the other with financial information and documentation. These documents are proof of your financial situation at the time of your divorce, and having them organized and available to you can come in very handy if you need to seek a term modification – or if your ex is seeking a term modification – at a later date.

Modifications are based on significant change, and having this information at your fingertips can make proving or disproving significant change far less challenging.

Consult with an Experienced Pennsylvania Divorce Attorney Today

If you are facing a post-divorce modification or believe you may need one, the practiced Pennsylvania divorce attorneys at Luschas, Naparsteck, & Crane, LLP, have a wealth of experience successfully guiding challenging cases like yours toward advantageous outcomes, and we’re here for you too. Because your rights are important, don’t delay in contacting us online or calling us at 570-799-8809 for more information.

Divorce Paper FAQs

What do you do with a marriage certificate after divorce?

After a divorce, it’s perfectly normal to want to put it all behind you, including your divorce papers, but not so fast. The truth is that this documentation can play a pivotal role in what comes after divorce, and having an official copy at the ready helps to ensure that you are well prepared for whatever comes your way.

Where should I store my divorce papers?

It’s not only important to have your divorce papers and financial documentation available to you, but it is also necessary to know how to access them when you need them. The best policy is to keep these papers in a safe, designated spot, and your safety deposit box may be the best option.

My ex is seeking a modification. Do I need an attorney?

Pennsylvania courts will consider post-divorce term modifications in instances when the circumstances that supported the original term have changed significantly. Examples include child support and spousal support modifications based on changes in income and child custody modifications based on schedule changes. Either type of modification can significantly affect your life, your finances, and your rights as a parent, which makes having a trusted Pennsylvania divorce attorney in your corner indispensable.

Get in touch with us today to get started with your FREE case review. We’re only a call, click, or short drive away.