What Is a Final Decree of Divorce?

Divorce Decree Blog

What Is a Divorce Decree or a Final Decree of Divorce?

A final decree of divorce is the court’s final order, ruling, or judgment that makes the termination of a marriage official and lays out the ruling of the Court regarding the issues in a Virginia divorce case. 

The purpose of a final decree of divorce is to provide the parties with their rights and duties regarding their divorce, establish a husband’s and wife’s obligations to one another and to their children, and dispose of their property and debts.

Regardless of whether the divorce was contested (there was a trial and judge made decisions regarding the issues in a case) or uncontested (parties were able have an agreement regarding all the issues in a case), a divorce decree will be issued by a Virginia Court to finalize the divorce case and finalize the parties’ status as divorced. 

After your divorce is finalized, you can get a copy of your final decree of divorce from the clerk of circuit court of the county where your Virginia divorce was filed and adjudicated.

What Does a Divorce Decree Usually Contain?

Case Caption: The case caption goes at the top of the first page of the final divorce decree. The caption includes the name of the county circuit court where the divorce was filed (eg. Fairfax County Circuit Court), the full legal name of each party, states whether the party is the plaintiff or defendant, and states the case number of the divorce case.

Facts of the case: The divorce decree also states facts of the case starting with the names of the parties, names of the parties’ children, as well as their dates of birth, date and place of marriage, and the date of the parties’ separation. The divorce decree is also required to establish the following:

a.  that both parties are over the age of 18;

b. whether either party is a member of armed forces of the United States on active duty during the pendency of the proceeding;

c. that both the parties are of sound mind;

d. that the plaintiff or defendant is a resident and domiciliary of the commonwealth of Virginia and has been so for at least six months before the institution of the divorce action. 

In a contested divorce case in Virginia, where a trial was held, the Judge will also lay out the facts of the case based on witness testimony and evidence, as well as the basis of his ruling.

Divorce Ruling: Depending on the issues in a divorce, a divorce decree will contain language which provides guidance to parties and spells out their rights regarding the issues in their divorce case. A Virginia Divorce decree will usually address issues such as: 

  • Division of marital property between the parties
  • Division of marital debt between the parties
  • Spousal support or alimony
  • Child custody, visitation and child support

Can Divorce Decrees Be Appealed or Modified?

Generally speaking, divorce decrees are final and binding upon the parties. However, there are some instances when the decree may be appealed or modified. A party can also file a motion to reconsider within a limited period after the divorce decree is entered.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with a Divorce Case?

Divorce decrees are final and subject to very little change or modification once they’re issued. Therefore, you need to think carefully when it comes to requesting certain actions during a divorce proceeding. Our experienced Virginia divorce lawyer can guide you throughout the entire divorce process to ensure that nothing is overlooked before the final divorce decree is issued. 

At Khanna Law, we successfully help our clients navigate the complicated contested and uncontested divorce process on a regular basis. We represent clients in divorce, custody and family law cases in all Northern Virginia Counties including Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Arlington County. We pride ourselves in guiding you, protecting your rights, and providing dedicated, intelligent, and reliable representation.

To schedule a consultation regarding your divorce case, call 571-766-6860 or email us at info@khannalaw.com.


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