Divorcing in New York: When is a Divorce Finally, Final?

What Can I Do to Facilitate a Smooth Divorce Process?

To help facilitate a smooth divorce process, it is essential that all information about the marriage, assets, and issues about the children (if any were born of the marriage) are outlined and resolved.  If there are discrepancies and problems, it can take a long time to finalize a divorce.  A divorce will not be final until a judge grants the divorce and signs the divorce decree.

What is a Divorce Decree?

A divorce decree is a document that states facts about a divorce and is ultimately signed by a judge granting the divorce final.  The divorce decree could include information about spousal and/or child support, child custody, property division, and so on.

Where can I get a Copy of My Divorce Decree?

In many cases, you can obtain a certified copy of your divorce decree from the court clerk’s office in your local courthouse. However, in New York State, divorce decrees are signed by the judge and filed with the County Clerk of the County where the decree was issued. This is generally the County where the plaintiff resided. Therefore, to obtain a certified copy of your divorce decree, you must contact the appropriate County Clerk.  Additionally, you should know that in most cases, only those who were parties in the divorce–or their attorneys–can obtain the decree.

When is a Divorce Decree Finalized?

A divorce decree is final when a judge signs the document.  A judge can sign the decree granting the divorce once all matters of the divorce are settled.  The time it takes from the moment a divorce is initiated, until the decree is signed and filed with the court, can differ.  Since all divorces are unique, it can be difficult to set a timeline of when the divorce could be final.  It may be the case that parties who are amicable and agreeable to the terms of a divorce may have a smoother divorce process than those who experience an acrimonious divorce.  Once the divorce is final and granted by the judge, it must be filed with the court.  Both you and your ex-spouse should retain your respective copies of the divorce decree.

What is the Difference Between a Divorce Decree and a Divorce Certificate?

Unlike a divorce decree, a divorce certificate is prepared by an individual’s state health department or bureau of vital statistics. A divorce certificate is a rather concise document primarily verifying the following:

  • You are divorced
  • Both you and your former spouse’s name
  • The date of your divorce
  • Where your divorce took place

What is the Purpose of a Divorce Certificate?

A divorce certificate may be used for the following reasons:

  • To prove you are divorced
  • To change your name
  • To get married
  • To show proof of divorce without revealing your divorce’s specific details
  • To obtain a travel visa
  • For inheritance purposes, to prove you are single
  • To get a passport, provided your name change is on the certificate

If you are considering a divorce, you should first consult with a compassionate attorney.  Contact our firm today to speak with an experienced divorce attorney.

If you need strong legal representation regarding matters of divorce, family law, and estate law, in Suffolk County, New York, contact the Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. to schedule a consultation today.