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What Is the Difference Between A Decree Nisi & A Decree Absolute?

What is the difference between a decree nisi and a decree absolute in divorce lawWhen you’re in the final stages of the divorce process, there will undoubtedly be a sense of relief when you know that what may have been a long and potentially stressful journey is finally coming to an end. As specialists matrimonial and family law, Vines Legal comes across many questions related to the process, and this is one that crops up time and time again – What is the difference between a Decree Nisi and a Decree Absolute?

We’ve taken the opportunity to explain what the two end stages of a divorce actually mean, and how you know when your divorce is legally over.

What is a Decree Nisi?

A Decree Nisi doesn’t officially end a marriage, but is applied for after receiving the acknowledgement of service form from your spouse. It is a provisional decree of divorce; essentially a document stating that the court sees no reason why the divorce cannot proceed.

This formal, but nevertheless provisional stage, confirms that the person seeking the divorce is entitled to end the marriage. A Decree Nisi is granted when the court is not only satisfied that the petitioner has established a cause for divorce, which includes unreasonable behaviour, adultery, desertion, 2 years separation with consent, or 5 years separation, but that the marriage has broken down completely.

It’s not necessary to attend court unless one or both of the parties wish to withdraw the petition, or if there is a dispute regarding costs or a previous agreement or ruling. Should parties be required to attend, the court will be expected to carefully examine all of the evidence provided by your solicitor in the divorce application, and verify all of the documents presented. If the court is satisfied that the grounds for divorce have been met, the Decree Nisi will be granted.

What is a Decree Absolute?

The Decree Absolute is the is the legal document granted by the court that officially brings the marriage to an end. Your solicitor will apply for it at the appropriate time after the receipt of the Decree Nisi, and once you receive your decree absolute, your legal marriage is dissolved.

It’s worth mentioning that although the marriage is officially dissolved, there may still be financial settlements or child arrangements to take into account, unless of course these have been previously agreed. These can be made before, during, or can even continue after the marriage has officially been dissolved. Following that, your solicitor can arrange a clean break order once the decree absolute is obtained, as this will prevent your ex-spouse from trying to claim any of your assets or future earnings.

Here at Vines Legal, we’re experts in matrimonial and family law and have many years’ experience navigating the divorce process. For immediate, friendly and professional advice, call us on 01246 555610 to arrange a free initial, no obligation consultation.

By Vines Legal on 9 Aug 2020, 15:49 PM

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