What is a decree nisi? And how can I get one?

what is a decree nisi

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What is so important about a Decree Nisi?

Obtaining a decree nisi is the third stage of the divorce process. Divorce proceedings begin when the petitioner applies to the court for a divorce. The court will serve the divorce petition to the address given for your spouse, known as the respondent.

The respondent has seven days to return a document called the Acknowledgment of Service to the court, indicating if they agree with the petition’s contents.

If the respondent does not defend the divorce proceedings, the petitioner can apply for a decree nisi.

4 step divorce process

The decree nisi is confirmation from the court that you can bring your marriage to an end because you have met all procedural and legal requirements to obtain a divorce.

Application for Decree Nisi

To apply for a decree nisi, the petitioner must file a statement in support of the divorce. The statement asks if the contents of the divorce petition remain true and that there have been no changes in circumstances that may affect the petitioner’s claim that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.

The court again reviews the divorce petition and the acknowledgement of service, and now the petitioner’s statement in support of the divorce.

If the court is satisfied that the petitioner can have a decree nisi, the court will set a date for the decree nisi application to be reviewed by a judge.

The court sends both parties notice of the decree nisi date.

Do I need to attend court?

Unless there is a dispute regarding the divorce proceedings’ costs, neither the petitioner nor the respondent have to attend the hearing.

If the court is satisfied that the petitioner is entitled to a decree nisi, both parties or their solicitors receive a copy.

Application for Decree Absolute

The decree nisi states the date that the petitioner can apply to make the decree absolute. This must be at least six weeks from the date of the decree nisi.

Once six weeks have passed, you can apply for the decree absolute. The court checks that the time restrictions are met and that there are no other reasons not to grant the divorce.

The court will then send the decree absolute to both parties, which legally brings the marriage to an end.

The significance of the decree nisi

The decree nisi must be in place before making a financial order to the court for either a clean break or to split assets.

Although you can’t submit a financial order to the court before the decree nisi, it is advisable to consider any financial order in advance. Ideally once the petition has been filed to give yourself sufficient time to negotiate and finalise the details.

How can Easy Online Divorce help?

We have a clean break service for £179 and a financial order service for £279. We also can provide meditation services if you and your partner are finding it difficult to reach agreement over your finances. For more details call us on 0204 530 8101, email us or schedule a call back below.

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