Updated: Mar 14
A divorce decree, also known as a final judgment or judgment of divorce is a formal order that is issued by the court at the end of a divorce proceeding. A divorce decree is basically a final court document that formally terminates a marriage. A divorce decree not only terminates a marriage, but also resolves any issues related to parental custody, child support, property ownership, and spousal alimony.
The time it takes to get a divorce decree depends on whether the divorce is by mutual consent or by a contested divorce. If a divorce is by mutual consent it usually takes 18 to 24 months to obtain a divorce decree. If the divorce is being contested by either party it can take 3 to 5 years with is much longer. It takes much longer for a contested divorce because of the complications involved and the possibility that either party can challenge the decision.
Regardless of who performs the original marriage ceremony, a divorce decree can only be issued by the court. The divorce decree is always issued at the end of the divorce case. If the case went to trial, the divorce decree will indicate the terms of the judge's decision and will act as a judgment that both parties involved must abide by.
The court that handled your divorce will provide proof that your divorce is final in the form of a written judgment that confirms the divorce. You may request a copy of this judgment from the court in your jurisdiction, contact the courthouse or simply visit its website to find out what its specific procedures are.
Just like many other official documents, there are certain instances where a Divorce Decree Apostille might be needed. Another nation that is a member of the Hague Apostille Convention may request that your Divorce Decree (or Certificate of Divorce) be Apostilled in order to ensure that you are not married. It's also possible that you'll be requested to provide additional documents such as an Apostilled birth certificate or Apostilled FBI background check.
An Apostille is a single-page document or certificate that authenticates the signature of a public official on a document that is to be used in another country. Apostilles validate the authenticity of the signature of any public official that signed a document, the capacity in which the public official acted, and when appropriate, the identity of the seal or stamp present on the document. An Apostille certifies a document so that it will be recognized in foreign countries that are members of the 1961 Hague Convention Treaty.
Please note that not all foreign countries are members of the 1961 Hague Convention Treaty. If the nation receiving your Divorce Decree is not a member of the Hague Convention Treaty, your documents may require further verification and legalization via the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. American Apostille & Notary Services can assist with this process.
If you’re wanting to obtain a Divorce Decree Apostille, you must be able to provide the original or a certified copy of the divorce decree issued by the County Court. In some states, this court is also referred to as Family Court, Superior Court, County Court, or Circuit Court. Divorce decrees can only be authenticated from the issuing state.
A Divorce Decree Apostille is a very important document, and should only be prepared by someone who’s familiar with such documents. American Apostille & Notary Services can assist with the proper preparation of your Divorce Decree Apostille. Our staff is well versed in the preparation of official document Apostilles. Give our office a call at 848-467-7740 to discuss your Apostille needs.