Difference between Divorce Decree and Divorce Certificate

Difference between Divorce Decree and Divorce Certificate

After you divorce, you might be unclear about some divorce documents. Each of the divorce papers serves for a different purpose. 

You get your “Divorce Decree ” from court, but a “divorce certificate”  is not issued by a court. 

What is a Divorce Decree ?

Divorce decree is a court document It is a final judgment from divorce court.

A divorce decree contains information about your case which includes spousal support, child support, custody,visitation, property division,and other information. 

Most divorce decrees are perfect. It contains all of the agreed upon information in your case, such as how you will divide your debt, who is responsible for getting life and health insurance, whether the wife can take her maiden name again or not.

You receive the divorce decree at the end of your case.The divorce decree can only issued by the court. If your case went to trial,your divorce decree will indicate the terms of the judge’s decision and will act as a judgement that both parties must obey.

If you didn’t go to trial but settled your case then, the divorce decree will contain the terms of the settlement. The decree still acts as a final judgement, but you and your former have decided upon the terms of your own divorce without the court’s input. 

Finalizing your case takes the decision out of the hands of the judge so long as the decision is not outrageous or one sided.If it’s  one sided ,the judge will usually handle to help you work out the terms of your settlement. 

How to obtained a copy of your Divorce Decree ?

You can usually get a certified copy of your divorce decree at the courthouse in the court clerk’s office. 

You will need to check with your state. Because some states have divorce decrees in the county clerk’s office.

Generally only the people who were involves in the divorce, or their representatives or lawyers,can pick up the decree. 

What Happens after you get your Divorce Decree ?

After you receive your divorce decree, you’ll want to make sure you are obeying the decree and that your former spouse is too. 

For instance, your former spouse has agreement created by the decree, such as to pay spousal support, child support or acquiring insurance policies. 

You are responsible for making sure your former spouse is obeying with the decree. 

Again if your ex spouse must pay all or part of the marital debt,you’ll want to make sure whether your ex is doing that or not.  Else, you could still be held responsible for the debt.

When you get your divorce decree,  make sure that you:

  • Read the decree for accuracy
  • Ask your attorney if you have any  questions.
  • If you’re not happy with the judgement, immediately file an appeal.
  • Change your will. 
  • Change beneficiaries on your insurance policies 
  • Update emergency contacts for your child’s school. 
  • Change your power of attorney. 
  • Cancel or change credit cards. 
  • If your former spouse is violating the decree, then bring her back to court.
  • If you need to change spousal or child support later, then bring the case back to court.

What is a Divorce Certificate ?

Divorce certificate is completely different document from a divorce decree. 

Your state’s health department or bureau of vital statistics issues the certificate.But not prepared by the court.   

Unlike a lengthy, A divorce certificate is a simple document as compared to divorce decree,that shows:

  • You are divorced
  • The names of both former spouses
  • The date of the divorce 
  • The place of the divorce 

Use of a Divorce Certificate 

Not all states issue a divorce certificate .It is used for limited purpose.You can use it for:

  • Getting a name change .
  • Showing proof of divorce. 
  • Getting a travel Visa.
  • Unless your name change is not on the certificate, it is helpful in getting a passport.
  • Inheritance purposes, to show you are single. 
  • Getting married. 
  • Anywhere you need to show proof of divorce. 

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