Call us: Mon - Fri 8:30am - 7pm, Sat - Sun 9am - 5pm
Call local rate 0330 056 3171
Mon - Fri 8:30am - 7pm | Sat - Sun 9am - 5pm
Call our expert team today

If more than a year has passed since the pronouncement of decree nisi, the application is slightly more involved. It will be necessary to explain to the Court, usually in the form of a written statement, why such a length of time has elapsed; you will need to confirm that the parties have not cohabited together, or, that a child has been not been born to you in the intervening period. Often such delays in applying for occur because time was needed to sort out the financial settlement.

When the petitioner sends the decree absolute application to the Court, the Court should process and pronounce it the same day though it usually takes 2-3 weeks for you to receive the legal document that will dissolve your marriage.  Spouses are only legally divorced once decree absolute has been pronounced. place. If a divorced person later wishes to remarry, a photocopy of the decree absolute will not suffice. A sealed, tue version of the decree absolute must be produced as evidence that a divorced person is legally free to remarry.

It is possible to be divorced and remarry without the finances having first been resolved but that person’s entitlement to a financial settlement may be lost. This is the so-called ‘remarriage trap’. It is therefore very important to take legal advice if you are considering remarrying.

  • How do you get a copy of a decree absolute if you have lost yours?

    You can get a replacement decree absolute by contacting the Court that issued the original. The copy of your decree absolute will cost £10 if you can provide your case number or £45 if you don’t. A copy of your decree absolute can be requested via email or post, which must include your name, the case number, your address and how you would like to pay. A cheque or postal order must be payable to HM Courts & Tribunals Service.  You can also pay by card in which case you will need to provide a phone number in your letter or email, for the courts to call you on.

    The following link will help you locate the right court and its contact details

    In the event that you don’t know which court issued the original, the fee will be £65 and you will need to fill in form D440 and send it to the address on the form.

    ame thing.

  • Decree absolute for ex-pats

    If you were married in the UK but chose to get divorced overseas a year or more after leaving the UK, you will receive that countries equivalent of a decree absolute, but you should still make the family courts of England & Wales aware when your divorce has been granted.

  • Refusing the decree absolute

    Refusing the decree absolute

    Sometimes, a petitioner may refuse to apply for decree absolute. Emotionally, it may seem like a step too far, too soon – and the petitioner, despite initiating the process, cannot bring him/herself to take the final step. If this occurs, the respondent can apply for the decree themselves after waiting for at least three months from the date the petitioner could have first applied. However, if the respondent applies, there will be a court hearing before the court makes a decision so that the petitioner has the opportunity to explain (“show cause”) why the decree absolute should not be pronounced.

    But this judicial discretion to postpone decree absolute is only available in cases where special or exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated. The normal rule is that it cannot be delayed, as per the case of Miller Smith v Miller Smith, unless there is good reason to do so.

    There are occasions when, legally, it would be unwise to apply for decree absolute on the earliest date available: for instance, when financial benefits could be lost if one party was to die before the other without a court order being in place for a financial settlement. In such circumstances, the surviving party could not be properly compensated out of the other assets for the loss. Whilst it may be very rare for someone to die during divorce proceedings, it can happen.

Death before decree absolute

Benefits such as a state widow/er’s pension and bereavement allowance, as well as death benefits to be paid to a widow or widower, may be lost if a party dies unexpectedly and decree absolute has been pronounced but there is no financial remedy order in place. There may be insufficient other assets in the estate to compensate for these losses and so it is important to preserve the marriage until the finances have been considered and dealt with properly.

Where the parties also want a religious divorce that requires co-operation to obtain, for example a get amongst Jewish couples, then it is possible to ask the Court to order that the decree absolute cannot be pronounced until both parties have declared that they have taken the necessary steps to obtain such a religious divorce. A specific application can be made for this under Section 10A(2) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.

In other cases, there may be a rush to obtain decree absolute, for example if a party has an urgent need to remarry due to the imminent arrival of a new baby. In exceptional circumstances, it may be possible to shorten the mandatory six weeks between decree nisi and decree absolute.

Wills and divorce

Lastly, the decree absolute has a significant impact on any will you have previously prepared insofar as that will makes provision for your spouse. The consequence of your marriage ending is that you no longer have a spouse so it is very important that you always change your will if and when you divorce. It is important in any event that you always have a will prepared for you so that you can decide how you leave your estate.

The pronouncement of decree absolute is very significant and can have much wider consequences than just dissolving your marriage so you should take independent legal advice to ensure that you fully understand the consequences.

Contact us

We remain open for business during the COVID-19 outbreak. Submit your details below, and we’ll arrange a free, no-obligation call back at a time to suit you.

To ensure we are the right fit, we need to make you aware that we cannot offer Legal aid.

0330 056 3171

    Request Free Callback

    Submit your details, and we’ll arrange a free, no-obligation callback at a time to suit you. Please note that we cannot offer Legal aid.


    Newsletter Sign Up

    Sign up for advice on divorce and relationships from our lawyers, divorce coaches and relationship experts.

      What type of information are you looking for?

      Privacy Policy