What is the Difference Between a Divorce Decree and Divorce Certificate?

It is easy for people getting divorced to confuse their divorce decree and divorce certificate. So, what is the difference between the two?

Divorce is a complex process that comes with even more complicated jargon and confusing documents. Each divorce paper you are given serves a different purpose and can feel overwhelming. For example, you received a divorce decree from the court, but the court does not provide your divorce certificate.

Continue reading to find out more.

Divorce Decrees and Divorce Certificates

The two terms are easily confused, divorce decree and divorce certificate, with their similar titles. However, they are entirely separate and different documents. Let us take a look at the differences:

Divorce Decree — Your divorce decree is the final court document that contains important information about your case, such as custody, visitation, alimony, child support, property and asset division, and more. Most decrees will thoroughly spell out all of your agreed-upon matters, like who is in charge of obtaining life and health insurance and how debt is divided.

Divorce Certificate — A divorce certificate is a completely separate document from your divorce decree and is not issued by the court. A divorce certificate is distributed by your state’s health department or bureau of vital statistics, typically the same place that issues birth certificates. This certificate is simple in comparison and outlines that you are divorce, the names of each former spouse, and the date and place of divorce.

After You Receive Your Divorce Decree

After you are issued your divorce decree, make sure you and your former spouse are obeying the terms mapped out in it. Living within these terms and complying with all obligations, like paying child support, following through on visitation, and obtaining and paying for insurance, is important and will keep things running smoothly. If you or your former spouse violate the decree, you can face significant fines and even jail time.

Once you receive your divorce decree, make sure you read it in its entirety for accuracy. You should direct any questions to your lawyer and file any appeals immediately. Additionally, you need to change your will, power of attorney, and beneficiaries, update emergency contacts, and put all bank accounts in your name only.

You will need to bring your case back to the court if you need to change spousal or child support later on or if your former spouse is violating the decree.

The Uses of Divorce Certificates 

A divorce certificate comes in handy when you are looking to get your name changed, needing to show proof of your divorce without revealing details, and getting a travel visa or passport. It is also helpful when needing to show that you are single or if you are getting remarried.

Contact The Ault Firm, P.C.

Knowing the difference between your divorce decree and divorce certificate can feel like the tip of the iceberg in terms of feeling confused and overwhelmed by the divorce process. Get the help, guidance, and comprehensive representation you deserve with the professionals at The Ault Firm. Our knowledgeable and experienced attorneys will help you navigate this complicated process and protect your rights and best interests.

If you are in Salt Lake City or West Jordan in Utah or the surrounding area and need a family law and divorce attorney, contact our skilled lawyers to schedule your case review today.

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