What Is a Divorce Decree?

A divorce decree is a document that states the terms and conditions of a divorce. It is issued by a court and outlines information about custody, child support, property division, and alimony. If you’re getting divorced, it is important to understand what a divorce decree entails. To learn more, keep reading.

What is a divorce decree?

A divorce decree is an official document that confirms the legal end of a marriage. A judge or magistrate will grant it only once both parties agree on the terms of the divorce, including custody of children, spousal support, and division of property. Or, if the parties cannot agree on all issues, the decree will be awarded after a judge makes these decisions.

Your divorce decree will formally end your marriage and restore your single status. It will list all divorce-related agreements between you and your former spouse. Once a divorce decree is issued, it is very difficult to change these agreements without returning to court. 

How to get a divorce decree

To get a divorce decree, you must submit a petition for divorce to your local courthouse. Once your petition has been filed, you will need to have your spouse served with divorce papers. Once your spouse receives the papers, they have a certain amount of time to respond. If they do not respond within the allotted time, you may be able to proceed with ‌an uncontested divorce. This means that your spouse does not object to any of the terms of the divorce and agrees to sign the divorce decree. 

If your spouse does object to the terms of the divorce, or if the two of you cannot reach an agreement on all aspects of the divorce, you may need to go through mediation or litigation. This can be a long and expensive process, so it’s usually best to try to reach an agreement with your spouse beforehand, if possible. 

Helpful download: Divorce Process Flowchart

How to get a copy of your divorce decree

Once your divorce decree is signed by the judge, the clerk will file it in your court records. As soon as it’s there, you can get a copy of it for a small fee. You might need a copy of your divorce decree if you’re changing your name, removing your ex-spouse from bank accounts, or changing the title on property you own.

At Hello Divorce, we understand that most clients prefer to avoid lengthy litigation and expensive divorce lawyers. And yet, you may struggle to agree with your spouse on all of the issues. For this reason, we offer flat-rate mediation services that can help you finalize your divorce agreements without hiring an expensive divorce lawyer or going to court.


Divorce Content Specialist & Lawyer
Divorce Strategy, Divorce Process, Legal Insights

Bryan is a non-practicing lawyer, HR consultant, and legal content writer. With nearly 20 years of experience in the legal field, he has a deep understanding of family and employment laws. His goal is to provide readers with clear and accessible information about the law, and to help people succeed by providing them with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate the legal landscape. Bryan lives in Orlando, Florida.