How to apply for decree absolute

There are a number of stages in the divorce process and the decree absolute is the final stage. Decree absolute is the legal document that ends your marriage.

If you are the petitioner, you will need to wait at least 43 days (6 weeks and 1 day) after the date of the decree nisi before you can apply for a decree absolute. If you are the respondent, you will have to wait an extra 3 months to do this, on top of the standard 43 days.

To apply for a decree absolute as the petitioner, you will need to fill in the ‘notice of application for decree nisi to be made absolute’ form (Form D36 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-d36-notice-of-application-for-decree-nisi-to-be-made-absolute-or-conditional-order-to-be-made-final ) and send this to the court.

If more than 12 months have passed since decree nisi was made, you will also need to enclose a short witness statement in support of the your application in order to explain the reason for the delay. For example, it might be that you attempted to reconcile, or you did not feel ready to be formally divorced, or perhaps you and your ex husband/wife were engaged in protracted negotiations to resolve your financial claims. In your witness statement you will have to confirm:

  • Whether you have lived together since the decree nisi was made, and, if so, between what dates.
  • If you are female, whether you have given birth to a child since the decree nisi was made and if so, whether you allege that the child is or may be a child of the family.
  • If you are male, whether you have any reason to believe that the respondent has given birth to a child since the decree nisi was made, and if so, whether it is alleged that the child is or may be a child of the family.

The court will check that time limits have been met and there are no other reasons not to grant the divorce. The court will then send both you and your ex husband/wife a decree absolute.

Once you get the decree absolute, you are divorced, no longer married and free to marry again if you wish.

When you receive your decree absolute you should keep it safe. You will need to produce it if you remarry or to prove your marital status.

You should have resolved any financial remedy claims before applying for decree absolute. This is because you and your ex husband/wife may have financial benefits such as pension benefits that may be lost if one of you dies and you are no longer married to one another.

Rayden Solicitors are a specialist family law firm with offices in St Albans, Berkhamsted and Beaconsfield. If you require any assistance please do not hesitate to contact one of our specialists on 01727 734260.

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