Divorces have been a thing for as long as time. Although there were fewer back in the day, the rate has increased significantly due to various different reasons. Thankfully, when this unfortunate situation happens to you, there are legal experts that can help you, as well as online resources you can tap into to find any information you are looking for. Although we would never recommend handling this sensitive issue by yourself, as it can be quicker with a lawyer or attorney.
One of the unavoidable aspects of this circumstance is the paperwork involved. Filing something as important as divorce, entails a number of procedures and legal processes from everyone involved, that a knowledgeable and legal expert can help you with.
However, some of the efforts will also need to be put towards it from your side and research must be done by you as well, this is in many cases, people are always struggling to find the right places to-go-to when it comes to finding the correct documents to do help kick things off and tend to delay actions because of this, which can lead to processes lasting from several months to years in some cases.
There are several documents and some paperwork involved in this instance. In the United States, and especially in Oklahoma, there are certain sources that you can tap into in order to find the right documentation to help make your process a little smoother.
Nowadays you do not necessarily need to go in person to your lawyer’s office to obtain these, and they can be easily found online on their website or the state’s government websites. For those who are wondering where they can get these for free, keep reading to find out everything you need to know about what a decree is versus a certificate and which helpful sources you can go to for downloading the right documentation.
A Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
One of the main documents involved with this scenario is the petition for dissolution of marriage. This is a document that lets the courts know what exactly you are trying to accomplish. It is also the same one that is sent to your spouse letting them know you want a separation, and the court will review at a later stage to make a final decision.
This is also known legally as a D8 form and one that marks the start of the process of separation. It is filled out by one spouse who is known as the “petitioner” and sends to the other party who is known as the “respondent”. The supreme court database has an elaborated explanation of the two, which you can find on their website
Having the right paperwork will save you and your lawyers a lot of time and money. A divorce decree form is different from a divorce certificate, and many people often get the two confused.
The Difference Between a Divorce decree and a Divorce Certificate
To put it simply, one is an enforceable court order while the other is used for record-keeping. The decree is the final step in the process of a divorce and includes vital information regarding the decisions that the court makes surrounding the situation. It is not the same as the certificate.
The certificate is issued by the state for its record-keeping purposes and is intended to resolve all issues that were discussed and agreed upon during the course of the annulment, it has all the final decisions included in it. Hence, this is the end document of the proceedings.
When Is the Decree Issued?
It is easy to forget the right processes involved in such scenarios, especially when emotions are heightened and children are involved. In many cases, these instances can drag on for months and even years, and finally getting to the finish line is a long-awaited journey. Once the trial is completed and both you and your spouse have agreed on a settlement in front of the court, the court makes the final decision and puts everything down on paper.
Once the judge weighs all the decisions and evidence brought forward in the case, they decide on everything from property division to child support, alimony, and custody of the children. Once the final decision has been made they are carefully written out in the divorce decree.
This document is a legally binding one and will include all the relevant information regarding what you and your partner need to do moving forward. This decree cannot be changed and if it does need to, a valid reason must be provided and in some cases, all the evidence is gathered again and a process regarding this is initiated by the legal attorneys or lawyers.
Once the case has been settled, and submitted to the courts, either on spoken record or in writing, at the court. The judge will review all the decisions made and what has been agreed upon, and will make the final decision on whether it is fair and within the confines of the law.
After which the court will issue a decree which will include all the discussed and finalized terms of the settlement, this then becomes a binding court order which is stored at the courthouse, county clerk’s office and can also be found online as a public record: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_records
A Divorce is considered final when the court signs the order or the decree and both you and your spouse will receive a copy of this after a few days. It will be sent initially to your legal representative, i.e. either your attorney or divorce lawyer. Once the document is signed, you will be officially separated from then on and the marriage will be legally over.
A Divorce Certificate vs a Divorce Decree
The details of how the property is divided, if any child support is granted, or if you will be sharing the time spent with your children, if any, will all be stated in this paperwork. In the future, if your ex-partner does not follow the orders stated in the certificate, you can refer to this paperwork as it will state what he or she is required to do as per law.
Noncompliance from either party can easily go back to the courts to be reinforced in terms of the decree. The certificate is not considered a court-appointed document. This is one that is issued by the state for the purposes of record-keeping. It includes information such as both parties’ names, and personal details as well as the birth and marriage certificate information and can be used as proof of your divorce.
In most cases, people seek to change their names or surnames on their driver’s license, passport or social security and may be asked to show the divorce decree to confirm your details so they can authorize the change of your personal details. You cannot necessarily use a certificate for this purpose, although it is generally accepted as proof of the divorce for not allowed for things such as name changes as it may not appear on the certificate.
Hence, to put it simply, a name change can be done upon proof of the decree and evidence of your divorce can be shown through the certificate. At the end of the process, you and your spouse will receive these documents, however, it will depend on the state you are living in, as not all of them provide the certificate. If this is the case you can obtain one from the Vital Record Department of Health.
Where to Find Free Divorce Decree Forms
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, there will be some amount of paperwork involved in any separation process. When looking for the relevant forms, you can go to a few different sources. Websites such as legal aid organizations, or the county clerk’s office are some of the places to find free downloadable pdf versions of the forms. Other reliable sources to obtain free divorce decree forms in Oklahoma would be through reliable sources such as your attorney or lawyer and any legal representative you have hired to help you with the process.
All the important information would normally be found on their website or can be attained by speaking to them directly and asking for them. If they are helping you out with the processes, chances are they will have all the right documents to hand to you to complete, sign and send to your spouse within the allocated timeframe.
By this we mean you cannot send the completed paperwork back to the county clerk’s office once your spouse has signed them before one day (24 hours) have passed. This is a legal requirement and if not abided, can be deemed void and you as the petitioner will need to acquire a new set and resend them to be signed and re-notarized.
In conclusion, if you are looking to find your divorce certificates, you can easily get them from the country Clerk’s offices, check out their website for more information or these can also be gotten from the Oklahoma State Courts Network (OSCN) website or the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) as well, who at times keeps these records, as they are considered public documents by law, except for those documents that have information regarding minors.
If your solicitor or attorney cannot provide free downloadable ones, you will need to make a request to any of the above-mentioned sources, and request a form either in-person for a fee or via mail. It is the same with acquiring your decree or certificate, you will need to make a request and certified copies are sent to you or you can pick them up. However, due to legalities, they do not provide them to anyone, but only certain eligible parties.
The process of getting a divorce is often a demanding one, however, attaining the right documents for it shouldn’t be. If it’s a copy of a certain paper you need or a form that you can easily download over the internet, in most cases the state will provide several resources where you can get one for free once you provide some simple details such as your name, surname, and city for example.
If you are too busy to go through the process yourself, you should hire a legal expert to help you out in which case they will show you the ropes, as well as help you out with all the paperwork and essential steps in making sure yours is as smooth a process as it can get. Sometimes the jargon used in the documents is hard to understand and having someone who has the right knowledge of the terminology can help a great deal, saving you an immense amount of time, stress, and money.