When starting the journey of divorce, it may seem like reaching the other side will never happen. While every divorce is unique and has its own twists and turns, one thing many divorces have in common is that they can be complicated—from the child custody arrangement to the property division, no divorce is exactly clear cut and resolvable without preparation and effort.

The parties involved in a divorce likely look forward to reaching the end and moving on to start a new path in their lives. Due to all the anticipation of getting the divorce over with, many do not know much about the divorce decree, which is the last step in the legal divorce process. Due to this, we put together some questions and answers below related to this final and important step:

What is a decree in divorce?
The decree in divorce is a court order that formally declares the end of the marriage. Until the decree in divorce is entered, the marriage is not officially ended.

What is the purpose of a divorce decree?
The divorce decree has multiple purposes: to finalize the divorce, to formally indicate when the divorce is (or was) effective, and to terminate spousal support or begin any possible alimony obligation. 

RELATED: Learn how to adapt to financial changes post-divorce.

What considerations should I keep in mind after I receive this documentation?
There are two general paths that a divorce typically takes; the traditional divorce path which involves divorce litigation (equitable distribution) or an alternative path which avoids litigation, such as with mediation or collaborative law. In either instance, the decree in divorce is the final step in the divorce process.  If litigation is the course that a divorce proceeds with, either party involved in the action has 30 days after the filing of the final decree to appeal the judge’s decision to a higher court as to economic issues. The appeal of the economic issues would not change the issuance or finality of the decree in divorce.

Divorce can be a stressful situation to navigate, but when one is prepared and ready for what is to come, the process may seem more approachable and less complicated. Other than educating oneself, a way to ensure one is prepared is to have a knowledgeable divorce attorney by their side. We hope the above information, as well as your experienced attorney, can help you prepare for the last step in the divorce process so you can be on your way to starting your new beginning.

Are you approaching a divorce and need someone to help guide you through the steps to protect yourself and your family’s future? If so, our attorneys who are well-versed in all family law matters can help. Contact us now to set up a consultation however it is most convenient for you—via telephone, video, or in person.

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