A divorce decree is a ruling that summarizes the rights and responsibilities of the divorced parties. It is the final judgment of divorce. The divorce decree is a document that states the basic information regarding the divorce, case number, the names of the parties, date of divorce, and the terms the parties have agreed upon or the court’s decision. The divorce decree is usually only a few pages long.
The divorce decree is the final step in the divorce process. Though several documents are likely to have been generated through the process, the divorce decree is the most important. It gives the pertinent details of the settlement between the parties. The divorce decree outlines the financial responsibilities of each party. It dictates the division of property of the parties to the divorce. The divorce decree will name the responsible parties to the debts the couple has incurred during the marriage.
It will often give details as to the decisions regarding child support, custody, and visitation. The divorce decree will state which parent receives custody and what the visitation rights are of the non-custodial parent. Sometimes, a couple will use a separate state social services agency to handle the collection and disbursement of child support. If this has already been set up during the separation and prior to the divorce, the divorce decree may mention the existence of this arrangement.
A divorce decree is generally not issued until all the terms of the divorce have been resolved. Occasionally, the divorce decree is in conflict with government action, such as the Internal Revenue Service’s collection of taxes in the United States. The IRS retains the right to collect back-owed taxes from one spouse, even if a divorce decree states that the tax bill is the responsibility of the other spouse. In that and similar situations, the wronged spouse has the option of returning to divorce court to recoup the lost funds. They may also have the ability to take their ex-spouse to court to try to recover the money.
Once a divorce decree is filed and issued, the parties to the divorce are free to remarry. Some states have laws that require a waiting period after the divorce decree before the parties are free to remarry. The divorce decree is legally binding. If either party to the divorce fails to meet their obligations as set forth in the divorce decree, the other party has the right to take legal action to rectify the situation. The wronged party could take the other party back to divorce court or to small claims court.