After you’ve gone through the divorce process in Alaska, litigating in the family courts or negotiating a settlement, you will wind up with a final divorce decree from the court. This formal court order legally brings the marriage to an end. It is important to understand your final divorce decree in order to make sure that you are following the law and that your rights are protected. The divorce decree is the official finalization of your divorce, signed by the parties and authorized by the judge in family court. Even if you negotiated your divorce settlement outside of court, the judge will sign off to legally end the marriage.
Asset and debt division
Your divorce decree may address a wide range of issues. It will include the distribution of your marital property, whether you reached a settlement or the court ordered the asset division. This will not only include the division of assets but also the responsibility for any joint debts, such as credit card bills. The divorce decree will also address if alimony has been awarded and the length of time it is expected to continue.
Child custody and support
If you and your spouse have children, the divorce decree will also contain orders for child custody and child support. In addition, if you have certain types of pension funds and retirement plans that need to be divided, you may need specific language in the divorce decree or a special court order called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order.
Before you sign your divorce decree, make sure that it accurately reflects your agreement. Your lawyer will also review the document to ensure your legal interests are protected. Remember, the divorce decree is an enforceable court order; it may be a relief to come to this point, but it is worth the time to make sure it is correct.