Divorce Decree vs. Divorce Certificate—What’s the Difference?

Getting a divorce is notoriously complicated. Many steps must be taken to complete the process. One of which is ensuring that you have all the proper paperwork in order. Divorce decrees and certificates are two documents that you will need to obtain when filing for divorce. While both sound similar, they are very different, and each serves its own unique purpose in the post-divorce process. In this article we will go over the basic difference between a divorce decree vr. certificate. 

What is a Divorce Decree?

A divorce decree is a formal court issued document, officially ending a marriage. Typically a divorce decree will contain information such as asset division, spousal support, as well as custody arrangements, child support, and visitation rights (in the case that children are involved).

If you and your spouse come to a settlement agreement outside of court, your divorce decree will also include any information regarding the terms of your divorce settlement. Even though the court has the “final say” in the matter, as long as the terms don’t blatantly favor one of the involved parties, the judge will respect a couple’s terms.

What to do After You are Issued a Divorce Decree

When signing the divorce decree, both you and your former spouse agree to uphold the included terms. Since it is a legally binding document, if either of you fails to do so, legal action may be taken. 

After a divorce decree has been issued, the marriage ceases to exist, and both parties are legally free to marry another individual.

Soon after you receive a copy of the decree, it is vital to make any necessary cancelations or adjustments to accounts, and other legal documents that you and your former spouse had co-signed on. This may include:

  • Wills and trusts
  • Vehicle titles
  • Joint credit cards or bank accounts
  • Medical directives 

What is a Divorce Certificate?

A certificate of divorce is a much simpler document then the aforementioned divorce certificate. Sometimes referred to as a “proof of divorce,” this document states only basic information such as the names of both former spouses, and time and place of divorce. These documents help the state keep a record of existing marriages as well as divorce rates.

Divorce certificates are not court issued, making them much easier to obtain. These certificates can be issued at any state office that also issues birth certificates.

What to do After You are Issued a Certificate of Divorce

Several legal scenarios require you to provide proof of your divorce without all the excessive details. When needed, a divorce certificate does just that. Here are a few situations that may require a certificate of divorce:

  • Getting remarried
  • Obtaining a travel visa
  • Name changes
  • Renewal of passports and drivers licenses

Get in Touch with Us

Getting a divorce can be an arduous process. All of the negotiating and court involvement can leave you mentally exhausted. 

You may find it extremely helpful to have a professional guide you through the process. A licensed attorney can ensure that your divorce is handled properly and that no loose ends were left along the way. At Reddy and Feldhake P.C., we are ready and willing to do just that. We have helped countless Tulsa residents through their divorces quickly and efficiently. If you have any questions regarding divorce certificates or decrees, please don’t hesitate to schedule a free consultation today.

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