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The last order in your case will probably be a Final Order. It might also be called “Decree” or the “Judgement.” These terms all mean the same thing. The Final Order covers what will happen after your case is no longer active in the court system.

Anything in the jurisdiction of the court can be decided in the final order.


Some common issues are:

  1. Property Division

  2. Spousal Maintenance (Alimony)

  3. Parental Responsibilities (Custody)

  4. Parent-child contact (Visitation)

  5. Child Support

  6. Payment of Pre-Divorce Bills

  7. Payment of Legal Fees

  8. Maiden Name


If You Have Kids:

If your case involves children, the final order will include parental responsibilities and Child Support. You might agree on these issues at the case manager's conference, in which case the Magistrate will probably sign your agreement. There may be a separate order for these issues. Note that if you don't agree on child support, you will probably get an order from the judge on parental rights and responsibilities (custody) at the final hearing, then you will need to go back to the magistrate for a final child support hearing.


Can the Final Order Be Changed?

Anything having to do with kids can always be changed. If your Final Order includes Parental Responsibilities and Child Support, you will be able to ask the court to change those parts of the order until your children are adults.

Spousal Maintenance, or Alimony, can be changed but only if the Final Order includes some support payments. You cannot get a new order for Spousal Support if there is none in your Final Order.

Property division cannot be changed.


Does the Final Order Change the Temporary Order or the Interim Order?

Yes. The Interim Order limits what you and the other party can do with your assets during the divorce process. The Final Order is the last thing that happens while the case is active, so you are not limited by that order any more. Of course, after the Final Order, you only have rights to the property that is awarded to you in the Final Order.

The Temporary Order, meanwhile, only covers temporary issues during the divorce process. Whatever the Final Order says is now the rule.


Am I Divorced Now that we have a Final Order?

Not quite. Unless the final order states a different date (and it often does), you are still technically married for 90 days. This waiting period is called the “Nisi” Period.

Is There No Way To Change This Final Order? It's Terrible!

You can appeal your order to the Vermont Supreme Court. This is a complicated task, and beyond the scope of this article. You should contact a divorce lawyer immediately if you want to appeal your final order.

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