Decree nisi

A decree nisi can be applied for if neither party is defending the divorce petition. It is a conditional divorce.

A decree nisi can be applied for through the courts providing neither the husband or wife object to commencing divorce proceedings.

The decree nisi confirms that the court has no reason to believe you should not divorce. A judge may decide that you can not divorce and in these circumstances a form, (D79) is sent setting out his reasons. He may need more information or he may decide there needs to be a formal court hearing.

Once the decree nisi is received it is confirmation that the courts have formally said you can divorce it is then advisable to apply to the courts within the next 12 months for a decree absolute.

A decree absolute is a legal document confirming that the marriage is over you are divorced and free to re-marry.

Although it is best to apply for a decree absolute without leaving it too long there are time limits in place before you can apply.

The petitioner (person asking for the divorce) can apply to the courts six weeks and a day after the decree nisi is issued.

If you are not the petitioner and your husband or wife started the divorce you will have to wait longer.  In addition to the 6 weeks and one day a further three months must pass before you will be able to apply for the decree absolute.

Application for the decree nisi to be made absolute is made to the court on a Form D36 for which there is a fee.

Once received, and if it satisfies the court, both parties will be sent a D37 or decree absolute.  The marriage will be legally over.

Get a divorce: Apply for decree nisi - GOV.UK






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