What is the Difference Between a Divorce
Decree and a Divorce Certificate?
Most people believe that a divorce decree and a
divorce certificate are the same thing, because both are included in
the divorce records. However, this is not true for several reasons. A
divorce certificate is similar to any other type of vital document,
such as a death, birth or marriage certificate. Each document offers
basic demographic information regarding their owners as well as
topic-specific information about the event. On a divorce certificate,
the names of both parties involved in the divorce are listed as well
as the date and place where the divorce settlement took place.
Divorce decrees are far more complicated than divorce certificates and
contain more divorce-related information. Unlike a divorce
certificate, a divorce decree lists all the results of the divorce
When looking for these documents, its important to know what youre
looking for and, now that you know the differences between these two
commonly confused documents, that shouldnt be too difficult. If you
want to obtain a copy of both the divorce decree and the divorce
certificate, your best bet would be to get a copy of the divorce
records, which contain all of this information as well as other things
that arent listed on the two documents.
How to Obtain the Divorce Records
People go about obtaining divorce records the same
way they would with any other vital records. Located in the vital
records office in the county courthouse where the divorce was settled,
the divorce records are generally easy to access. Depending on the
state or county where the divorce was settled, the lawyer or attorney
responsible for the divorce case gives a copy of the divorce records
to the former couple and also keeps one for his or her own records. As
a result, its easy for the lawyer or attorney to look up information
about the divorce should the need arise. Private vendors working
online also have access to divorce records and can send them through
the Internet to whoever requests a copy.
People can also visit the state or county courthouse where their
divorce was settled to get a copy of the divorce records but this copy
will be a paper copy rather than an electronic version. Some people
prefer this option because they end up with a tangible copy that they
can hold in their hands. Not everyone can receive a copy of divorce
records from a courthouse though, only a few people are granted that
permission, including the former couple and any person who has a court
order that grants them permission to receive a copy. Before obtaining
divorce records from a courthouse, youll be asked to show
identification in two forms, a photo ID and two utility bills or a
letter from the government.
Theres also the option of requesting divorce records by phone or by
mail and each option differs in price. Phone and Internet orders are
the most expensive option when it comes to obtaining divorce records
but are arguably the most convenient, easiest ways to get what you
Different Types of Divorce
Like everything else related with the legal world,
a divorce can fall in to one of several different categories. Which
category a divorce falls in to says a lot about the settlement.
Because each state has their own laws regarding the divorce process,
some dont place categories on a divorce. There are even some
countries, Malta, the Philippines and the Vatican, where divorces are
prohibited all together. However, for those places where divorces are
legal and categories are common, the two major categories are no-fault
divorces and at-fault divorces.
No-fault divorces are used in 49 states in the USA. If a couple agrees
that there was a general incompatibility in the marriage, that there
were irreconcilable differences or just a breakdown of the marriage,
it would be labeled no-fault because neither party was solely
responsible for why the marriage ended, it was mutual.
At-fault divorces are a little different from no-fault divorces are
tend to occur when the actions of one person in the marriage result in
the couple getting a divorce. These actions can include lying,
adultery or committing a crime.