What Is Involved in a Final Decree of Divorce?

Many people involved in the divorce process, whether in Tennessee or elsewhere, anxiously await the point at which their divorce is final. Divorce is rarely a pleasant process, typically involving a great deal of emotional and financial strain, and most couples going their separate ways would rather see the official end of their marriage sooner than later. A marriage has officially ended once the court has issued a formal order granting termination, otherwise known as a divorce decree. Divorcing individuals should be sure they understand all aspects covered in the divorce decree.

Divorce Decree Covers Several Topics

Most divorce decrees cover details concerning alimony (spousal support), property division and debt division, and if applicable, child custody, visitation, and support. When determining alimony, judges consider a number of factors, including each spouse’s income and role in the marriage, etc. In cases of divorcing couples who do not agree on who gets what following the split, a judge will look at the information submitted regarding the value of all assets and determine how property is to be divided. In Tennessee, courts follow equitable distribution laws, meaning all marital property will be divided fairly after taking many factors into account, such as length of the marriage, financial needs of each party, causes of the divorce, etc. Similarly, if necessary, a court will determine the division of debt moving forward.

Document Should Be Carefully Reviewed

Divorcing individuals should be sure to carefully check the final decree before signing it, for accuracy, clarity, and the inclusion of all necessary details. For example, the document should be checked for specific phrasing concerning topics such as child custody and visitation and division of pension funds, as well as any missing information, provisions, etc. that may have been discussed earlier. Once all parties have signed the final divorce decree and it has been entered, changes may only be made via an appeal, which can be a very difficult process.

When the process is finally over, the divorce decree will be kept at the courthouse of the county in which the divorce was obtained, and each party will receive a copy, typically via mail. The divorce process, and particularly the preparation of this important final document, can certainly seem daunting. Many Tennessee couples looking for guidance in the divorce process have found it helpful to sit down with an experienced family law attorney who can explain each step.

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