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Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute – What do I need to know?


In this article we shall discuss how the decree nisi and decree absolute are part of the divorce process. Going through a divorce is one of the most difficult things many of us will face in our lifetimes. Understanding how the process works, so that you know what to expect, can help to prepare you for the months ahead and provide you with some peace of mind.

The decree nisi and the decree absolute are both an essential part of the divorce process. They come after the petitioner (the person who files for divorce) starts the divorce proceedings. If possible, it can be helpful to agree on the contents of the divorce petition beforehand, so that any issues do not delay the divorce process unnecessarily.

Normally, you will not need to attend court. However, there are some limited circumstances when you may need to go to court. One example of this, is if one party contests the divorce. Contested divorces (where one party objects to the divorce and contests it) are relatively rare.

It is worth noting here, that you must have been married for at least one year before you can apply for a divorce in England and Wales.

decree nisi decree absolute

 

The decree nisi

In essence, a decree nisi is a piece of paper that shows that the court is satisfied that you can divorce. Once the court has all the documents that it needs, it can then allocate a date for the decree nisi to be pronounced.

After your decree nisi is pronounced, financial orders can be made with regards to your financial settlement.

Newspapers are often filled with stories of ‘quickie’ divorces. In 2016, The Sun branded singer Cheryl’s divorce from Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini, as “Britain’s fastest ever quickie divorce”, after she was reportedly granted her decree nisi in just 14 seconds.

However, these stories can be little misleading, as a couple are still married until the decree absolute is finalised. A decree nisi does not mean that you are divorced.

Once the court has all the documents that it needs, it can then allocate a date for the decree nisi to be pronounced.

In essence, a decree nisi is a piece of paper that shows that the court is satisfied that you can divorce.

After your decree nisi is pronounced, financial orders can be made with regards to your financial settlement.

Newspapers are often filled with stories of ‘quickie’ divorces. Last year, The Sun branded singer Cheryl’s divorce from Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versin, as “Britain’s fastest ever quickie divorce”, after she was reportedly granted her decree nisi in just 14 seconds.

However, these stories can be little misleading, as a couple are still married until the decree absolute is finalised.

 

The decree absolute

The decree absolute is the final part of the divorce process. It can be applied for (by the petitioner) six weeks after the decree nisi is pronounced.

If the petitioner does not apply for the decree absolute three months after this six week period has come to an end, the respondent can then apply for the decree absolute.

Normally, you will not need to go to court for the decree absolute (or the decree nisi). Again, there are some exceptions to this. Your solicitor should be able to advise you as to whether you need to go.

It is common for couples to agree their financial settlement before submitting an application for the decree absolute.

After you have your decree absolute, you are now officially divorced and are free to remarry. However, it is important to note that if you have not applied for your financial order with regards to your financial settlement, marrying someone else could stop you from being able to do this.

The decree nisi and the decree absolute are both essential parts of the divorce process. Understanding what the decree absolute and the decree nisi are, and where they fit into the divorce process, can help you to prepare for what lies ahead. In this post, we will also explain how to obtain a decree absolute copy if you have lost your original.

 

Decree nisi and decree absolute: the divorce process explained

The decree nisi and decree absolute come after the petitioner (the person who files for divorce) starts the divorce proceedings by filing a divorce petition. If possible, it can be helpful to agree on the contents of the divorce petition beforehand, so that any issues do not delay the divorce process unnecessarily.

After your application has been checked, your spouse will need to respond to your divorce application. If your spouse agrees with the divorce, the next step will be to apply for a decree nisi.

Normally, you will not need to attend court. However, there are some limited circumstances when you may need to go to court, where it will be up to a judge to decide whether you will be granted a decree nisi. One example of this, is if your spouse contests the divorce. Contested divorces (where one party objects to the divorce and contests it) are relatively rare.

It is worth noting here, that you must have been married for at least one year before you can apply for a divorce in England and Wales.

Decree absolute copy and decree nisi copy?

Your decree absolute is legal proof of your divorce. Often, people lose their divorce papers and require a decree absolute copy to prove that they are divorced. A decree absolute copy is therefore quite a common request.

A decree absolute copy is easy to obtain. However, the way you go about getting your decree absolute copy will depend on the information you have about your divorce.

If you know the court which handled your divorce and your case number, you can contact the court directly to ask for your decree absolute copy.

Getting your decree absolute copy in this way will cost you £10.

If you are not sure of your case number, obtaining your decree absolute copy will cost a little more. This is because you will need to ask the court which dealt with your divorce to search their records. A search within a 10 year period will cost £45.

If you are unsure of which court handled your case, you will need to contact the Central Family Court for your decree absolute copy. It costs £65 for them to search a 10 year period.

 

How can our expert divorce solicitors help you?

Our expert family law solicitors can help you with a range of legal issues relating to divorce, including:

 

Contact our expert divorce solicitors for advice on divorce

For more information call our divorce solicitors on 0845 862 5001 or email mail@austinkemp.co.uk.

Our expert family law solicitors offer a nationwide service. We have client meeting office facilities available, in order to have face-to-face client meetings / conferences as and when required in:

Leeds Office: St Andrew House, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 5JW

Wakefield Office: Market Walk, Wakefield, WF1 1QR

Halifax Office: Old Lane, Halifax, HX3 5WP

Huddersfield Office: Northumberland Street Huddersfield, HD1 1RL

Coventry Office: Warwick Road, Coventry, CV1 2DY

Canary Wharf Office: 25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5LB

Please contact us for more details.

19th December 2017

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