“Certificate of Divorce” vs. a Divorce Decree

I got a nervous phone call today from a client. His wife had already received her “Certificate of Divorce,” and he had heard nothing about the progress of his case. I think he was peeved with me that I was doing such a poor job keeping him apprised of what was going on.

I explained to him that what his wife (soon to be ex-wife) has received is a document called a Certificate of Divorce that’s actually just a form for key pieces of information about the parties. It is most assuredly not a divorce decree.

The formal term for the divorce decree is a Final Judgment of Divorce. It’s dated, it bears the signature of the judge, and it has a really impressive-looking gold seal.

So lest we get confused, a “Certificate of Divorce” doesn’t make you a single person. Only the Final Judgment of Divorce can do that.

4 thoughts on ““Certificate of Divorce” vs. a Divorce Decree”

  1. I received a Final Decree in the mail today. It’s signed by the judge and has been filed by the Circuit Clerk with a raised seal (but not gold). That means it’s final and I’m now single again, right?

  2. I received a certificate of Divorce in Dec. 2005, I live in MI, and I did not contest the divorce, I have not receive the final judgment of divorce. How long does it take to receive this by mail? Do the circuit clerk mail this form or do I Have to go to the court house and pick it up?

  3. You should have received it more than a year ago. Call the courthouse. They can send you a certified copy by mail for a modest charge.

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