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Los Angeles Family Law Specialists

Steve Fernandez and Mark Karney are Certified Family Law Specialists* with over 50 years of combined experience.

A divorce decree is a legal document that finalizes the divorce process. Also known as a judgment, a divorce decree lays out any judicial orders specific to the final agreement between spouses or the court’s final rulings.

A divorce decree is the written declaration of the court’s ruling ending the marriage. No divorce is final until a divorce decree is signed by the parties, the judge, and sealed by the court.

What is Contained in a Divorce Decree?

A divorce decree contains pertinent information regarding:

A divorce decree is a court order. As such, both parties are required to follow its terms and conditions. Parties who ignore or choose not to follow the terms of a divorce decree are subject to court-imposed sanctions.

Amending a Divorce Decree

All parties and their Los Angeles divorce attorneys should thoroughly review a divorce decree before signing. Only clerical and minor omissions may be amended in a final divorce decree. Any mistakes or ambiguous terms can force ex-spouses multiple return trips to the courtroom.

Appealing a Divorce Decree

There are two ways to change a California divorce decree. The decree can be appealed or modified by a motion. An appeal is a challenging process in appeals court that requires proving a judge misapplied the law or the original divorce judgment was entered into in bad faith.

Modifying a Divorce Decree

A modification is a more common proceeding filed with the court that entered the original divorce decree. Modifications are not as lengthy and costly as appeals. These motions require that changes in circumstances require a modification in child custody, child support, or spousal support.

A may be temporary or permanent due to job loss, pay increase or decrease, change in child custody arrangements or another significant life event. Only certain portions of a divorce decree may be modified. Therefore, it is imperative a final divorce decree reflects the parties’ intended agreement, and a modification is used only in the event of unforeseen changes.

Replacing Your Divorce Decree

Spouses typically receive certified copies of their divorce decree in the mail once it is issued from the court. These documents are necessary to change official accounts, titles to property, and government identification.

If you have misplaced your divorce decree or need a certified copy of your divorce decree for any reason, you can go to the court clerk where your divorce decree was issued. You will need some to provide a copy of your identification, fill out a form, and provide some information about the decree itself to aid the clerk.

This information may include any of the following:

  • The case number;
  • The parties to the divorce;
  • The attorneys’ names;
  • The date of filing;
  • The date of issuing; and
  • The name of the judge.

There is a cost for a certified copy.

An Experienced California Divorce Attorney Can Help

If you need to know more about a California divorce including how to file for a divorce, contact an experienced attorney at Fernandez & Karney. One of our skilled attorneys can answer your questions about the California divorce process and point you towards the next best steps in protecting your legal rights, assets, and children while preparing for a divorce.

Schedule your consultation today with a dedicated, compassionate attorneys at Fernandez & Karney. We look to speaking with you and being your advocate during this crucial time in organizing and reframing your life.