Understanding What Is A Divorce Decree

There are plenty of forms and paperwork during the divorce process, but the divorce decree is the final most important document that contains pertinent information about your case. So what is it? Simply put, a divorce decree is the final document that you receive once the divorce has been finalized. You will receive this document from the courts and it effectively establishes your separation as both legally binding and final between you and your ex-spouse. The document will feature conditions relating to your divorce. These conditions can include subjects like alimony, child support, visitation, custody, and property division. The divorce does not become final until you sign the decree and a judge has stamped it with the court seal.

Final Divorce Decree

The document itself is important to review thoroughly before signing. This is because, once signed, it can rarely be amended; however, certain circumstances like clerical error or concerns about child custody may permit it to be amended. Other issues, such as property division and alimony, will unlikely be considered again and can cause serious complications for you if left unchecked. Having a lawyer review this document with you will be extremely helpful and can vastly improve the quality of your divorce settlements. Certain conditions, such as child custody or alimony, require very specific wording and one wrong or overly ambiguous word can change the conditions of your divorce. It is absolutely imperative that the final decree reflects your best legal interests.

Once signed and finalized the divorce becomes legally binding. The final copy is archived in the records office of the courthouse you received a divorce in. Typically, you will receive a copy of your divorce decree in the mail shortly after everything has been final  zed. The document will contain an outline of the legal issues addressed during the divorce as well as other pertinent information such as the names of the parties involved, a case number, and the effective date of the decree. Keeping a copy of your case number is often helpful in locating your records in the event that you need to obtain any additional copies in the future. This is easily achieved by contacting the local county records office.


A respected Huntsville family law attorney with more than 20 years’ experience, Leigh Daniel is known for her positive attitude and her skills in the courtroom. She prides herself in the care and compassion that she and her team put into every case. Her goal is to instill a sense of confidence in her clients so they know success is on the horizon. As an author, inspirational speaker, coach, and founder of Project Positive Change, Leigh stays focused on the positive impact she can make on every client’s case.