Decree Nisi and Absolute
How to obtain a Decree Nisi
When a divorce is granted in the Royal Court, the petitioner will be granted a decree nisi. The decree nisi is a conditional divorce which does not become final until the decree absolute is granted some six weeks later.
How to obtain a Decree Absolute
Either party can apply for the Decree to be Absolute. One or other party must apply for the Decree Absolute
Application by petitioner
The petitioner or their lawyer completes the application form 12 and hands it in to the Judicial Greffe. The form needs a £40 Treasury stamp.
The application can be made six weeks and one day after the decree nisi is granted.
Application by respondent
The respondent or their lawyer completes the application form 12 but must also summons the petitioner using form 15. The form needs a £40 Treasury stamp, but the summons needs an extra £150. The summons asks the petitioner why they have not applied for the decree absolute.
An application can be made six weeks, plus three months, after the decree nisi is granted.
If you need to purchase treasury stamps while the Treasury is closed, e-mail email@example.com with your request and you will be given further instructions.
Granting of Decree Absolute
The decree absolute will usually only be given when all the arrangements for children have been agreed.
The granting of the decree absolute should be simple and straightforward, but the arrangements and orders for any children have to be agreed. These arrangements could be held up if either party does not agree.
It is up to the respondent to convince the court that the decree absolute should be granted in the event that the petitioner does not respond to the paperwork or make an application.
It is possible for either party to apply for the decree absolute without the use of lawyers by using the Judicial Greffe, but the lawyers who have been acting during the divorce should be told that they are no longer instructed to avoid two sets of paperwork being produced or there being a misunderstanding.
If neither party asks for the divorce within twelve months, the court may ask for the reason for the delay.
Setting aside or stopping proceedings
Before the Decree Nisi
You can stop at any time.
After Decree Nisi
If the petitioner, who has been granted a decree nisi, changes their mind and does not wish to apply for the decree absolute, the respondent can apply for the decree absolute after six weeks plus three months, even if the petitioner does not agree.
The decree nisi can be set aside or cancelled if both parties agree.
If one party does not agree, it may be possible to appeal to set aside a decree nisi by writing to the Court. Advice should be sought from the Judicial Greffe or your lawyer.
After Decree Absolute
There is no way to set aside the Decree Absolute.
Get a copy of the Decree Absolute
Write to the Family Division of the Royal Court enclosing a cheque for £30 payable to the Treasurer of the States or Treasury stamps to the same value and also a stamped addressed envelope.
You will need to provide your full name, your ex-spouse’s full name, the month and year that the divorce was finalised.