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What is a divorce certificate?

A divorce certificate is the final piece of paperwork in the divorce process that confirms that your marriage is officially at an end.

In this article, we’ll discuss the divorce certificate in detail, including what it is, where you can get it and how to replace a lost divorce certificate.


What is a divorce certificate?

‘Divorce certificate’ is another way of saying ‘decree absolute’. The decree absolute is the legal document that brings your marriage to an end.

Once you receive your decree absolute, you are free to remarry.

It is worth noting here that the decree nisi is not the final divorce certificate. It is an essential part of the divorce process, but receiving your decree nisi does not mean that your marriage is officially over.

It is only once you have the decree absolute divorce certificate that you are divorced.


What does a divorce certificate look like?

The divorce certificate is a relatively straightforward document, detailing the petitioner’s name, the respondent’s name and where the marriage took place. It confirms that the marriage has now been dissolved.

divorce certificate


How to get a divorce certificate

In order to get a divorce certificate, one spouse will have to start the divorce process. This person will be known as the petitioner and the other spouse will be known as the respondent.

For more details about the divorce process as a whole, take a look at our article on this topic.

Once the decree nisi is pronounced, you’ll need to wait at least 6 weeks and 1 day before you can apply for the decree absolute.

In order to apply for the divorce certificate, the ‘notice of application for decree nisi to be made absolute’ form, should be completed.

It’s important to note here that obtaining a divorce certificate before dealing with how your finances should be divided, is normally not advisable. It’s highly recommended that you seek independent legal advice from a divorce solicitor, such as Austin Kemp, before beginning the divorce process.


Can I get a divorce certificate online?

Yes, you can apply for your divorce certificate online. However, we would always advise anyone considering a divorce to have at least one appointment with a solicitor, to ensure that they fully understand their rights and how the process works.

divorce certificate 2


Can’t find my divorce certificate…

How you get a copy of your divorce certificate depends on how much information you have about your divorce.

If you know the court and your case number, you can email or write to the court for your divorce certificate. This costs £10.

If you do not know your case number, you can ask the court to search their records for your divorce certificate. They will charge £45 for a 10-year search period.

If you’re not sure which court dealt with your divorce certificate, you can contact the Central Family Court and ask them to search for your divorce certificate. This costs £65 per 10-year search period.


Other articles that may be of interest to you?

How long does a divorce take?

What is the divorce process?

When is decree absolute granted in a divorce?

Decree Nisi – What does this mean in a divorce?

What are the first steps to divorce?

Is a cheap divorce really possible?


How can our expert divorce solicitors help you with your divorce

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 your divorce

For more information call our divorce solicitors on 0845 862 5001 or email

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.

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27th March 2020

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