Written by Canterbury Law Group

Divorce Certificate vs Divorce Decree – What is the Difference?

Divorce Certificate vs Divorce Decree – What is the Difference

Divorce documents can be confusing but every document you will read is important. For example, a court issues a “divorce decree” but your “divorce certificate” is issued elsewhere. Read on to learn more.

Divorce Decrees

A document originating from the court and is the final judgment in your divorce is known as a divorce decree. Information contained includes things like child support, spousal support, property division, visitation, custody and other relevant information to your particular situation. They are normally very comprehensive documents containing all the pertinent and agreed-upon information for your situation including the laying-out of any financial obligations the parties will have. A divorce decree may only be issued by a court – it must be obeyed by both parties and represents the judge’s legal decision.

If you elected to settle your case, the settlement will contain all the terms and conditions. It still represents the final judgement and is indicative of the fact the parties did not use the input of a court. This takes matters away from the judge. In cases, where the settlement is very one-sided, a judge may become involved to work on the settlement terms.

Getting A Divorce Decree Copy

Obtaining a certified copy of the divorce decree can normally be obtained the court clerks office. However, some locations place them in the office of the county clerk. In normal circumstances the divorce decree can only be obtained by their parties involved or their legal representation.  Once the divorce decree has been obtained, you will need to ensure both parties are obeying the terms of the decree. You will also want to make sure everyone is meeting their financial obligations. Once you have the divorce decree here is what you need to do:

  • Ensure the accuracy of the decree
  • If you have questions, speak to your attorney
  • Appeal immediately if following a trial, you are not satisfied with the decision of the judge
  • Change the terms of your will
  • Update your insurance policies with beneficiaries
  • Ensure the school of your child or children has updated information for who to contact in the event of an emergency
  • If you have a power of attorney, ensure it is changed
  • Ensure all financial accounts are only in your name
  • Change or cancel debit and credit cards
  • If the other party is violating the terms of the decree, bring them back to court
  • If child support or spousal support needs to be updated, bring the case back to the court.

Divorce Certificates

This is not the same as a divorce decree. It is a certificate issued by the bureau of vital statistics or the health department of the state you live in. This document states:

  • The fact you are divorced
  • The names of both parties
  • The date and place of the divorce

A divorce certificate may be used for obtaining a change of name, evidence of a divorce, obtaining a visa for travel, obtaining a passport, to show you are no longer marries for the purpose of inheritance, to get married and any situation when you need to show evidence of your divorce.

Source: “Divorce Decree vs. Divorce Certificate – What’s the Difference?” Legalzoom.com, 26 Sept. 2019, www.legalzoom.com/articles/divorce-decree-vs-divorce-certificate-whats-the-difference.

Need a Divorce Lawyer in Scottsdale or Phoenix?

As proven legal counsel in family court, we have a network of Arizona attorneys, expert witnesses, mediators, tax specialists, estate planners, financial planners, child specialists, real property appraisers, adult and child therapists and parenting coordinators who are here for you if you ever need them. Our lawyersdivorce mediators and collaborative divorce attorneys in Scottsdale are here to make your divorce less stressful and keep you in control and the costs contained. Call today for an initial consultation at 480-240-0040 or [email protected]. Our family lawyers can also help with divorce litigation, child custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, and more.

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

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