Requesting a Divorce Decree
Even if you have paid an attorney thousands of dollars and spent weeks in a courtroom battling over settlements, you will not be officially and legally divorced until you have a divorce decree signed by a judge and filed with the county clerk in your possession. A divorce decree is the court’s final ruling that sets the terms and conditions for the termination of your marriage. The decree states the court’s exact instructions on how issues concerning property division, child support, alimony, visitation and custody will be handled.
The original copy of your divorce decree will be permanently stored in the records of your county courthouse where the divorce took place and after it is signed by the judge, dated and filed at the courthouse you will need your own copy. If you have a divorce attorney working for you, they can supply you with a copy of your decree, if not you can request a copy from your County Clerk.
The decree will specify exactly what the court has ordered as to how much child support will be paid, who will get custody of any children that may be involved and what the visitation schedule will be for both parents. However, a divorce decree does protect you from contracts and agreements entered into prior to the divorce and many people have been ambushed by surprise debt burdens passed on to people who assumed they were protected by their divorce decree.
Financial aspects of a divorce decree, like property division settlements, are considered permanent and cannot easily be modified without going back to court. Anything that involves child custody and support instructions can be modified if they are found to be in the best interest of the children though. If a decree modification is requested and both spouses and their attorneys are in agreement, the request can be presented to a judge for approval who will ultimately make the final ruling on the matter.
When requesting a copy of your divorce decree you should include the full names of both husband and wife, the date of your divorce, the place it occurred and the reason you are requesting a copy. Your request will be expedited if you make sure all your information is complete and you keep your explanations brief and to the point. Barring any unforeseen problems, you should have a copy of your divorce decree in your mailbox within six weeks.