At the end of the divorce journey, both parties will receive documents that completely finalize the process. The divorce decree and divorce certificate are two such documents that may seem similar to unfamiliar eyes, but are in fact, very different pieces of information.
Here’s a closer look at both documents, what they cover and why you’ll need both once your divorce is final.
WHAT IS A DIVORCE DECREE?
Your divorce decree is a final judgment of the divorce. It’s automatically issued through the courts and has all of the final information about your divorce as legal documentation. The divorce decree will either contain the terms of a judge’s orders or the terms of your settlement if your case didn’t go to trial.
Your divorce decree will cover final judgments surrounding your divorce that include:
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Property Division
- Spousal Support
STEPS TO TAKE AFTER A DIVORCE DECREE IS ISSUED
Take the time to review your divorce decree with your lawyer and summarize all of the key items so that nothing slips by in the future.
Mark all important dates, child support amounts, alimony amounts, and specific accounts you’ll need to close because your former spouse is no longer a part of them.
Other crucial steps to take post-issuance include:
- Updating your will, trusts, and related documents
- Scan the decree so you always have an extra copy
- Update the title of your vehicles
- Update insurance policy beneficiaries
- Change emergency contacts for your children’s school
- Change your power of attorney
WHAT IS A DIVORCE CERTIFICATE?
A divorce certificate is mainly proof that you are divorced. It shows minimal information about your divorce and includes:
- The names of the two spouses
- The date of the divorce
- The state where the divorce took place
- Unlike a divorce decree, a divorce certificate is not granted by the courts. Rather, this is a state record that can usually only be recovered by the divorced parties and their attorneys.
HOW TO USE A DIVORCE CERTIFICATE
Your divorce certificate is used for legal purposes, such as:
- Needing to provide proof of a divorce
- Getting married
- Legally changing your name
- Inheritance purposes
- Obtaining a travel visa
Your divorce certificate allows you to meet the legal requirements of these situations without having to review the personal details of the entire divorce decree with a third party.
EFFECTIVELY ANSWER YOUR DIVORCE QUESTIONS WITH MARX, ALTMAN & JOHNSON
At Marx, Altman & Johnson, we believe that our clients deserve help during their divorce up until the end of the process. If you’re about to enter a contested divorce and are ready to have a team of experienced divorce lawyers on your side, we’re ready to get you through the process with grace. Contact us today to learn more about our services and schedule a free consultation with a member of our firm.