The process from Decree Nisi to Decree Absolute
Divorce can be difficult matters to go through, however when you have an insight into what will happen and how it will happen it could make the process smoother and hopefully easier.
What is a Decree Nisi?
During a divorce there are numerous of steps to decide whether you are eligible for a divorce. Once the court have decided that you are eligible, they will grant you a Decree Nisi and this is confirming you have met the legal and procedural requirements to obtain a divorce. However, this does not mean you are divorced.
To start divorce proceedings, you need to issue a divorce petition at court together with a court fee of £550. There are five grounds for divorce.
- Adultery statement
- Unreasonable behaviours statement
- Desertion statement
- 2 years’ separation statement
- 5 years’ separation statement
The process for starting a divorce has been covered in a previous blog so we will not go into detail here. When the divorce petition has been issued your husband/wife will have to file an acknowledgement of service and then you can apply for Decree Nisi.
You can still apply for a Decree Nisi even if both parties do not agree to the divorce petition (the divorce petition is a document that states why both parties wish to be divorced). If this is the case, then both parties will need to go to court and discuss the matter and the judge will decide whether to grant the Decree Nisi.
How to apply for a Decree Nisi?
You must read the guidance, this can be obtained from the government’s website, then you must complete the application for a Decree Nisi, again this document can be obtained from the government’s website. You must also complete a statement confirming that everything in the divorce petition is true. There are five different statement forms to chose from, you do not need to complete them all, you must only complete the one that covers the reason for your divorce (as set out above). The different statement forms are,
- Adultery statement (form D80A)
- Unreasonable behaviours statement (form D80B)
- Desertion statement (form D80C)
- 2 years’ separation statement (form D80D)
- 5 years’ separation statement (form D80E)
Once the court have decided whether they will grant you a Decree Nisi, one of the parties will receive a certificate that will state the time and date the Decree Nisi will be granted
If you wish to have a legally binding arrangement for diving money and/or property, then this must be applied for before applying for a Decree Absolute
What is a Decree Absolute?
A Decree Absolute is a document officially confirming that both parties are divorced. Once this decree has been pronounced the divorce matter is completed.
How to apply for the Decree Absolute?
You must complete the ‘notice of application for Decree Nisi to be made absolute form’, which can again be obtained from the government’s website. Before the court grant the Decree Absolute, they will check whether all the previous time limits have been met and there are no reasons not the grant the divorce.
If you applied for the Decree Absolute online, you will receive it within 24 hours on Monday to Friday. If you apply for this decree through the post, you will receive it within 10 days. If you have a solicitor acting for you then the Decree Absolute will be sent to them and you can obtain a copy from your solicitors.
You must wait 6 weeks after the pronunciation of the Decree Nisi in order to apply for a Decree Absolute, because it will give time in case anything changes and you reconcile. The court can be positive that they should grant the Decree Absolute.
Additional information to note
Some courts call their documentation by different names. Instead of a Decree Nisi they will grant a conditional order and instead of a Decree Absolute the court will grant a final order.
There can be problems if you apply for your Decree Absolute before the finances have been finalised. This means if you apply before securing a Pension Sharing Order you will lose any dependent’s pension under a spouse’s scheme (spouse meaning either the husband or wife). In addition, there could be unwanted tax consequences when applying for the Decree Absolute too soon. Sometimes it is requested that the petitioner gives a formal promise to the court that they will not apply for the Decree Absolute until financial matters have been resolved. The Decree Nisi will allow financial agreements to be approved and you will become legally binding to the divorce, however will not officially become divorced until the Decree Absolute has been pronounced. The Decree Absolute will be pronounced depending on the outcome over the 6 month period between the pronunciation of the Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute, for example one of the conditions is whether you have abided with all the rules during that time period.
Overall, both parties will need to complete certain forms initially to be granted the Decree Nisi to confirm they are eligible for a divorce, and then there will be around a 6 month waiting period where the judges at court will be able to decide if the parties are still eligible for the divorce. If agreed the parties can then apply for the Decree Absolute by completing further forms. the court will then provide one of the parties with a set date which the Decree Absolute will be pronounced on. Once the Decree Absolute has been pronounced both parties are officially divorced and the matter is complete.