When is decree absolute granted in a divorce?

When is decree absolute granted in a divorce?

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The decree absolute is a vital part of the divorce process. In this insight, we’ll explain where the decree absolute fits in to the divorce process as a whole, when you could expect to receive it and what it means when you do.

Before going into detail about when the decree absolute will happen, it is important to understand exactly what it is. 


What is a decree absolute? 

A decree absolute is the court order which will officially bring your marriage to an end. In other words, this is the point when you are officially divorced. 

Once you receive the decree absolute, you and your ex-spouse can now marry other people, if you wish.

A decree absolute is the document from the court that brings your marriage to an end. When the decree absolute is finalised, your marriage is officially over. In other words, after you receive your decree absolute, you are no longer married and can now remarry if you wish.


When is the decree absolute in the divorce process? 

The decree absolute is the final element of the divorce process. It is the document which officially ends your marriage. 

It can only be applied for at least 6 weeks and 1 day after the decree nisi is pronounced.

Normally, it is only applied for after the financial settlement has been finalised and the consent order (if applicable) has been approved by the court. Although the financial side of divorce is separate from the divorce process itself, it often runs concurrently with it. 

Your solicitor may advise you to wait until you have agreed a financial settlement with your spouse before applying for the decree absolute. However, whether or not this is best for you will depend on your circumstances, which is why it is always best to seek independent legal advice from an experienced divorce solicitor.


How long will it take to get the decree absolute? 

In theory, as we touched on above, the decree absolute can be applied for 6 weeks and 1 day after the decree nisi is pronounced. 

In reality, it can often take longer than this. If you or your spouse are high net worth individuals with international assets and investments and you cannot agree on how to split your finances upon divorce, it may be that it could take considerably longer to get your decree absolute.

How long it takes to get your decree absolute will depend on your specific circumstances. However, as a rough estimate, we normally say around 4 to 6 months, although it can take much longer than this.


When should I apply for the decree absolute? 

It depends on your circumstances. If you apply for your decree absolute too soon, for example, this could affect the outcome of your financial settlement.

This is why it is so important to get advice tailored to your individual circumstances. A good solicitor should be able to discuss the pros and cons of applying for your decree absolute before having a financial order and advise you when is the best time to apply for your decree absolute.


When can I apply for the decree absolute?

Before you can get a decree absolute, you first need to make an application for a decree nisi.

A decree nisi is a document which states that the court does not see any reason why you should not be able to divorce. It is possible to make financial orders after the decree nisi is pronounced.

When you hear about a ‘quickie divorce’ in the press, it’s often the decree nisi, rather than the decree absolute, that the celebrity has obtained.

Once you have your decree nisi, you will then need to wait for at least 6 weeks and 1 day before applying to the courts for your decree absolute.

However, if you wait for more than a year to apply for your decree absolute after you get your decree nisi, you will have to tell the court the reasons for the delay.

If you apply for your decree absolute before the financial order, you may find that your entitlement to some marital assets is affected. It’s highly recommended that you seek legal advice suited to your specific circumstances.


How do I apply for the decree absolute?

In order to make an application for a decree absolute, you’ll need to fill in Form D36: Ask the court to make a decree nisi absolute.

After you fill in and submit this form, the court will then verify that you have met the time limits and that there are no other reasons which would mean that your divorce cannot be granted.

Once this has happened, you and your spouse will then get your decree absolute. At this point, you are officially divorced.


How long does it take?

Once you apply for your decree absolute, it normally takes around 3 weeks for your divorce to be finalised.

The whole divorce process can take anything from a few months to well over a year, normally depending on the complexity of the financial settlement and whether an agreement on this can be reached.

Your decree absolute is an important document which you should keep in a safe place. You’ll need it in order to prove that you are no longer married. If you lose it, it is possible to order a replacement, although you will be charged a fee for this service.


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

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Please contact us for more details.


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