When you file for divorce, the process of ending your marriage is generally just beginning. Even if you are living separately and you or your spouse might even have new relationships, you are still considered to be legally married until the court issues the final divorce decree, which is also commonly called a final judgment or order. This decree not only officially ends your marriage, allowing you to remarry, but it also issues the court’s orders on the relevant issues in your divorce.
A large part of the divorce process is determining how you will divide your joint property – known as community property – evenly. Such property includes financial assets, debts, real property, and personal property. The division of property should be outlined in your divorce decree, including which spouse is responsible for which debts, whether titles need to be changed and handed over, and whether one spouse owes the other money to balance out the property division.
If you and your spouse had children together, the divorce decree will certainly address the issues of child custody and child support. If you and your spouse already have a parenting plan and custody agreement, it will be incorporated into the final decree.
If you or your spouse is awarded spousal support following the divorce, your decree will state how much the payments should be and for how long. Any lump-sum support payments will also be ordered in your decree.
In many cases, a wife who changed her name upon marriage might want to change it back following a divorce. It is important to include this request in your divorce petition, as the court will grant the name change in your final decree. You can then use this document to obtain a new Social Security card, driver’s license, and other identification, as well as prove your changed name for credit and tax purposes.
Even though it is called a “final” decree, the issuance of your divorce order does not necessarily mean your legal case is completely over. If your spouse refused to turn over property, will not pay the necessary child or spousal support, or fails to abide by a custody order, you might need to return to court to enforce the order.
Additionally, some circumstances might change in the coming years, and existing support or custody orders might no longer be appropriate or possible for the new situation at hand. You or your spouse might need to return to court to have the order modified. Even if you agree with one another to modify the terms of the divorce, it is still important to have the new terms set out in your decree by the court.
At The Jackson Law Firm, we help clients throughout the divorce process – from initial discussions to your final decree, as well as including enforcement and modifications. Contact us online or call (512) 528-1900 for more information today.