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


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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

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.


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: Princes Exchange, Princes Square, Leeds, LS1 4BY

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.

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