Attorney Eric D. Puryear

What is a Divorce Decree

Puryear Law » Legal Blog » Family Law in General » What is a Divorce Decree

A divorce decree (often formally called a Decree of Divorce or Decree of Dissolution of Marriage) is the formal legal document entered by the court that dissolves the marital relationship between the spouses.  Essentially, a divorce decree is the document that ends the marriage.


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In Iowa, the divorce decree is issued by the District Court.  It is common in Iowa for the attorney to prepare a stipulation and settlement agree in an uncontested divorce that reflects the parties agreement, at which point the court issues a simple divorce decree that formally approves the already-reached agreement.  In contested cases, the procedure will vary, but the court will generally enter a series of documents after the trial (including a divorce decree).

In Illinois, the divorce decree by the Circuit Court.  Generally speaking, the the attorney will prepare the divorce decree whether the case is contested or uncontested.  Other documents, such as a joint parenting agreement and marital settlement agreement are also commonly prepared by the attorney and submitted to the court.

Divorce decrees are important legal documents.  The are often necessary to as proof of divorce when a person wishes to refinance a home or vehicle, which is commonly done after a marriage ends.  Divorce decrees may also be needed in certain circumstances when remarrying.  Generally the court will issue a non-certified copy of the divorce decree that is suitable for most purposes.  In situations where a certified copy is needed, the clerk of court can provide one, for a small feel.  Although replacement divorce decree copies are available from the clerk of court if needed in the future, it is wise to keep the original divorce decree in a safe place.


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