When a couple decides to part ways and get divorced, the marriage is not officially over until a judge orders a termination of the union. A divorce decree is the final judgment that summarizes the rights and responsibilities of both partners after they part ways. As a final step in the divorce process, it is the statement that includes information about considerations regarding the obligations of both parties to the agreement.
Every divorce decree is different, but they tends to contain the same information. For instance, the document usually explains the agreements regarding property division, child custody, alimony and other financial obligations. In addition, the action is filed with the court, it is given a case number and includes the date of final decree and the full name of each party.
In order to receive a divorce decree, a couple has to follow a number of steps. For example, some states impose a waiting period or separation period, and divorce proceedings may be stymied if these requirements are not met. In addition, the couple might be required by the courts to enter into mediation after a divorce petition has been filed.
In most cases, the couple negotiates a settlement agreement that provides for the interests of both parties. This agreement must be reviewed and approved by a judge before he or she hands down a divorce decree. Sometimes, the divorce can be contentious and requires being brought to trial, and the judge issues the decree at the end of the proceedings. After the divorce is finalized and the decree has been issued, parties to a divorce may be able to receive a copy of a divorce decree from a county records office.
Although a divorce decree is usually the last part of a divorce and is binding, there are times when it can be modified if the couple’s circumstances change after the document was initially finalized. The most common situation for modification includes details concerning support obligations or custody arrangements. In some cases, a decree may even be appealed and taken before a higher court.