- Historically, courts of equity, admiralty, divorce, or probate could make decrees while a court of law rendered judgments.
- After the passage of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure which largely dissolved the distinction between courts of equity and law, most courts can now consider all remedies, including decrees.
- Note, however, that a decree is often still referred to as a judgment.
- A decree follows an assessment of the rights of involved parties.
- In addition, a decree can be used to address a right that is not recognized by common law.
- Decrees may also include directions that guide how they are to be applied, which adds to their utility as flexible remedies.
Some other examples of a decree include:
- An interlocutory decree operates as an intermediate judgment issued by a court that is not yet final.
- A consent decree is a court order to which all parties have agreed.
- A decree of distribution is a final court order that distributes a probate estate.
- A final decree is a final judgment in a court case.
- In cases involving child custody, a custody decree is an order that affects or determines the custody of a child.
[Last updated in September of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]