What is the Difference Between Divorce Decree and Divorce Certificate

What is the Difference Between Divorce Decree and Divorce Certificate

Date : 01 May, 2021

Post By Advocate Sakshi Shairwal

It is well said that love is grand, divorce is a hundred grand, and given the complexity of divorce, it might be better to get hold of the meaning of terms such as divorce decree and divorce certificate and their differences. 

A divorce decree is not per se defined under any of the statutes however it may be defined as the document which is furnished by the court and is a final and conclusive judgment so delivered by the same with respect to the divorce matter. 

Divorce decree often encapsulates the liability and rights of the parties as adjudicated and ordered by the court such as the alimony,  property and debt division, custody of the child, beneficiary of life insurance, and all other pertinent disputes raised and adjudicated in the matter. 

Provided that if the divorce is mutually consented to without taking the traditional course of court then the divorce decree contains the terms of the settlement. 

In both cases, the parties are under the obligation to be bound by such decree which is made available to the parties a few months after the awarding of the judgment if the divorce sought by the court itself. Thus the divorce decree succeeds a judgment and it is important to get in hands a certified divorce decree copy usually in the court clerk’s house at the courthouse by the parties or their lawyers it is also available online through the e-courts website. 

If one of the parties is dissatisfied by the terms and conditions of the divorce decree then an appeal may be made to the higher court with a limitation period of 30 days that is appeal should be filed in the appropriate court within the period of 30 days. 

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A Divorce Certificate is merely a comprehensive document only showcasing the names of the parties divorced, their place, and date. 

It differs from a divorce decree on the ground that it is not furnished by the court but rather from the respective government national portal similar to a marriage certificate. 

The certificate comes in handy to prove the divorce without disclosing the intricate details of the same. Further, it can be used to change the name, for a travel visa, passport, etc. 

Divorce decree v. Divorce certificate 

Benefits: The benefits of a divorce decree are as follows – 

  1. Determination of liability and rights – The decree contains the rights and liabilities of the concerned parties clearly such as alimony, child support, etc.

  2. Conclusive and binding – The parties are bound by the decree and can’t be violated by either of them. 

  3. Enforceability –If any of the parties do not fulfill the obligation in the decree then the other party can enforce the same in the court. 

  4. Appealable – The Dissenting party can appeal against the decree in the higher court. 

The benefits of the Divorce certificate are as follows - 

  1. Recordkeeping – The government can keep track of the number of divorce cases.

  2. Ease to establish divorce – The parties can easily provide the certificate to showcase that they have taken divorce for any concerned purpose. 

  3. Keeping privacy intact – The parties without disclosing the information about the divorce can easily prove the same. 

  4. Enables the parties to make changes to informal documents such as passports, IDs, etc.

How to Register /filing for the procedure

Procedure to obtain divorce decree - To receive the divorce decree the parties have to file for divorce in the competent court, but prior to that it is beneficial to understand the difference between different types of divorce which are - 

Firstly for mutually consented divorce wherein the parties have decided to dissolute the divorce amicably, deciding on the terms and conditions of the settlement such as alimony, child custody, division of assets, etc.

The steps for filing the divorce are as follows – 

  1. Drafting the petition by the parties and their lawyers. 

  2. Such a petition has to be verified and signed by both parties. 

  3. Petition is filed before the Competent court that the court should have territorial jurisdiction, it can be the residency of wife or husband or their last place of residency.

  4. The court may provide a few months for the parties to withdraw such a petition. 

  5. If the parties are determined to get the divorce then a second motion is filed. 

  6. Upon the satisfaction of the facts and circumstances of the matter, the court furnishes the divorce decree and subsequently the judgment. 

The second type of divorce is Contested, that is the divorce is finalized by the intervention of the court. It is the court that determines the terms and conditions of the divorce, including the various obligations and rights of the parties. The procedure is as follows - 

  1. Any of the parties can initiate the procedure of divorce by preparing a draft petition and filing it in a competent family court similar to a mutually consented divorce. 

  2. The petition contains the reason for the divorce such as cruelty, change of religion, etc depending upon the Act their marriage is regulated.

  3. The other party is issued or served the summons, by providing them the notice for divorce and its initiation process. It is mandatory and essential. 

  4. The other party has to acknowledge the same and present before the court and if it fails then an ex parte hearing takes place.

  5. Once both the parties have provided the submissions and the court witnesses the trial which involves the presentation of evidence and arguments, examination of witnesses of the parties. 

  6. Delivery of divorce decree by the court after all the procedural compliance is done and the court may on application by either of the parties, can even pass an interim order for maintenance or custody of the child or any other urgent matter. 

  7. Once the divorce decree is duly delivered and the clerk has entered the same into its record the parties can receive a certified divorce decree from the clerk’s office or through online platforms such as ecourt. 

Divorce certificate - As mentioned already is merely a document stating that the parties have obtained a valid and binding divorce. It has more of a record-keeping purpose. 

The same can only be received when a divorce by consent or through the court has been completed and the parties have obtained a divorce decree. 

The parties may get the divorce certificate from the court itself and through the court’s online portal if any. 

Minimum Requirements: For obtaining a divorce decree the parties should have filed a  divorce petition either to be contested or mutual divorce before the appropriate Court and the court should have delivered a decree with regard to the matter containing the obligations and rights which are final and binding on the parties. 

Whereas for obtaining a divorce certificate the minimum requirement is possession of a divorce decree which is final and not appealed by either of the parties. 

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Documents Required: For divorce decree, the parties have to provide the following - 

  1. Certificate of marriage 

  2. Asset list of the petitioner 

  3. Address proof of the parties

  4. Income details of the parties along with income tax returns 

  5. Family background information 

  6. Evidence that the reconciliation between the parties have failed 

  7. Any other relevant information for obtaining divorce depending upon the ground on which the divorce is sought. For instance - evidence of adultery or cruelty or conversion of religion by either of the parties. The same will vary with the Act governing the marriage such as the special marriage act 1954, the Hindu marriage act 1955, or Christian marriage Act, 1872, etc. 

For a divorce certificate - The concerned party has to provide the number of the case that is filed and adjudicated by the Competent court and the order date of the divorce decree. 

How can Lawtendo help in the process? 

Filing for divorce comes with its own procedural compliance which requires a lawyer. And if you are seeking a divorce then Lawtendo helps you find one from its array of more than 15000 top and are domain-specific experts such as divorce furthermore this experienced lawyer is handpicked in accordance with your unique case. You will not only receive legal advice but will also be cost-effective.

Further Lawtendo will help in to draft a divorce petition in the Competent court or file for receiving a certified divorce decree or the divorce certificate from the court. 

Under the guidance of Advocate Sakshi, this blog was drafted by Ms. Garemaa Parihar , BBA LLB , 4th year student, University of petroleum and energy studies (UPES).

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