“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.