What is the difference between decree nisi and decree absolute?

The decree nisi is a provisional decree of divorce pronounced when the court is satisfied that a person has met the legal and procedural requirements to obtain a divorce. Following the pronouncement of decree nisi, the marriage still exists and you are not yet ‘divorced’. The person seeking the divorce must then wait at least six weeks and one day after the pronouncement of the decree nisi before making their application for the decree absolute. This period can be reduced in certain exceptional circumstances. The decree absolute is the final decree which actually dissolves the marriage. Once this has been granted you are ‘divorced’.

Sometimes people are advised to await the approval of a financial settlement before applying for their decree absolute. It will very much depend on their individual circumstances.

The process for dissolving a civil partnership is virtual the same as obtaining a divorce but some of the terminology is different. Instead of pronouncing a decree nisi, the court grants a conditional order and rather than granting decree absolute, the court grants a final order.

If you are considering a divorce and need advice to help you understand how to obtain a decree nisi call us on 0800 652 5577 or complete the contact form.

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