“When does my Divorce Decree become effective? My fiancee and I are anxious to set a date for our wedding. And what happens after the Divorce Decree has been entered?”
A big — sometimes very costly — mistake people make is setting a firm wedding date before the divorce of one party becomes final. Often, divorces are settled with a written agreement or with an oral agreement that is dictated on the court record before a judge.
When a case is settled in court before a judge, often the court conducts an inquest, where one party testifies about the grounds for divorce. After the agreement is dictated on the record and the inquest conducted, the court will approve the settlement and “grant” the divorce. Even though the judge may say that the divorce is “granted,” there is still the requirement that the court transcript be obtained and a formal judgment and other necessary documents prepared and submitted to the matrimonial clerk of the court for processing. Even in the best of circumstances, when the transcript is obtained and the papers prepared and submitted very fast, your attorney loses control of the papers once they reach the clerk. Many factors can affect how long it will take for the clerk to review the papers and submit them. The judge or his/her personal law clerk will then review the papers, and if they’re acceptable, the judge signs the judgment. It is then returned to the matrimonial clerk to be sent to the County Clerk to be entered as any other judgment or order issued by the court.
In general, there are varying lengths of delay at each stage of this process. Once a divorce decree is entered, the parties may remarry: there is no waiting period in New York State.
Philip S. Milone is a matrimonial lawyer with 21 years of experience practicing in New York, Brooklyn, Queens, and Suffolk Counties.
so if the judge signs on Sept. 30, but it is filed by county clerk on Oct.12…….the official divorce date is October?
im filling out a form and its asking the date of my divorce. I have a judgement of divorce with the date the judge signed it and another date (2 weeks later) stating when it was filed with the county clerk in NY. Do i use the later date?
I just came across this article and must commend you. I agree with your conclusion that a divorce is not final until it is entered in the county clerk’s office but I have talked with a lot of attorneys who either did not know the answer or did not agree with your conclusion. Thanks for writing.
Daniel Burns, Attorney & Mediator
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