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conditional order

When to apply for a conditional order

You can apply for a conditional order 20 weeks after your divorce application has been issued by the courts.

This cooling off period between beginning divorce proceedings and being able to apply for a conditional order, allows time to iron out financial and child matters.

If your application for a conditional order is granted, the family court issues a certificate of entitlement.

The certificate of entitlement acknowledges that you are legally eligible for divorce and sets out the date on which the family court will officially pronounce the conditional order.

Prior to that, any challenges to the validity of your marriage can be provided within an allotted timeframe.

conditional order in divorce

The conditional order is pronounced

If no challenges are made, on the date specified in the certificate of entitlement the conditional order will be pronounced in court and granted. Attendance is optional, unless either party wishes to object.

Once the conditional order is granted, there is a 6-week cooling off period before applicant(s) can then apply for the final order – the last legal order in divorce proceedings.

At this stage you and your spouse are still legally married.

What is a conditional order

What happens after a conditional order is granted?

The final cooling off period between the conditional and final orders provides the first opportunity for the parties to file a ‘Consent Order’ with the Court, outlining how their finances will be divided post-divorce.

Applications for a final order are usually processed and formally pronounced on the same day, making your divorce legal. At this point you are no longer married.

Conditional Order FAQ’s

Conditional Order FAQ’s

  • Can you submit the application for a conditional order in advance?

    Generally, no. You can make an application to court to speed up the process, but this will only be granted in limited circumstances, such as a life-limiting health issue.

  • What’s the typical timeframe between applying for a conditional order and it being granted?

    Typically, this stage of the process takes five to seven weeks.

  • How long between the conditional order and final order?

    There is typically six weeks between the conditional order and final order, in line with the mandatory cooling off period.

  • Is a conditional order the same as a decree nisi?

    Yes. A conditional order used to be called a decree nisi until no-fault divorce was introduced in April 2022. The two legal orders serve the same purpose.

  • What does a conditional order mean?

    A conditional order is the first legal order within divorce and civil partnership dissolutions and states that the family courts see no reason why you and your partner cannot legally separate.

  • Do you pay for a conditional order?

    There is no individual additional cost for applying for a conditional order.

  • Can you speed up a conditional order?

    There is precedent for statutory cooling off periods being shortened in exceptional cases, but only under rare or mitigating circumstances such as impending childbirth or life-limiting illness.

  • Can you make joint applications for a conditional order?

    Yes. Joint divorce applications were introduced as part of no-fault divorce in 2022 meaning couples can collaboratively file for divorce without acrimony.

  • How long after a conditional order until divorce?

    After the conditional order is issued, there’s a mandatory 6-week cooling off period before the applicant(s) can apply for the final order, which marks the conclusion of divorce proceedings.

     

Counselling & support

Before you make the decision to separate or seek a divorce, counselling for yourself or as a couple can help you to communicate and talk through your issues.

Visit our Divorce Directory for a guide to counselling professionals and others who will support you.

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