What Does "Granted a Divorce" Mean?
By Teo Spengler
Updated March 30, 2020
Even in no-fault divorce states where dissolving a marriage is a matter of personal choice, a judge must supervise your divorce proceedings and sign off on your divorce agreement. A divorce is not granted until the court enters a final divorce decree.
A divorce not only dissolves the legal relationship between two adults, it can also divide property, allocate debt and radically rearrange the lives of minor children. For this reason, states have an interest in supervising the process. Although a couple can live apart without court approval, they cannot be granted a divorce unless they request a court to dissolve their marriage.
Read More: Sharia Law on Divorce
A divorce begins and ends with paper. One spouse begins a divorce by filing a petition asking the court to end the marriage and serving these papers on the other spouse. If the spouses come to a fair and equitable agreement about about property, support and child custody issues, the court will approve the settlement agreement. If a couple cannot agree or if the judge determines that the agreement is unfair, the court will make the decisions after a divorce trial. During this process, the divorce is said to be pending. When the court issues the final divorce judgment and order, the divorce is said to be granted.
Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.