What Is A Decree Nisi In Divorce?

By October 22, 2019

What is a Decree Nisi?

A Decree Nisi is a significant stage in the divorce process, it is a document confirming that the judge agrees to the divorce. However, it’s important to know that it does not finalise the divorce.

How to Reach the Decree Nisi Stage in Divorce

There are 4 stages to the divorce process:

  • File a divorce petition
  • Acknowledgement of service
  • Decree nisi
  • Decree absolute

To apply for a divorce you need to file a (D8) divorce petition with the courts. To do that you need to decide on what grounds for divorce you are going to use.

There are 5 legal reasons for divorce in England & Wales:

  1. Adultery
  2. Unreasonable Behaviour
  3. Desertion
  4. 2 Year Separation
  5. 5 Year Separation

Once you have decided upon how you wish to divorce you will then complete your divorce petition and send it to the courts along with your original marriage certificate and a Court fee of £550 (if required).

The Courts will then send your spouse (the respondent) a copy of the divorce petition along with an Acknowledgement of service form. The respondent needs to send this form back to the courts with their answer to the divorce to enable the divorce to progress.

If the respondent agrees to the divorce a copy of the respondents completed acknowledgement of service form will be sent to the petitioner along with an application for the decree nisi.

Applying for your Decree Nisi

The courts will send the petitioner (the spouse initiating the divorce) an application for the decree nisi, the petitioner will then need to complete it and sent it back to the courts.

The judge will then look at your case and decide whether or not your divorce can progress further. Both parties to the divorce will be given notice of this date but are not required to attend unless there is a dispute over who is paying the divorce costs.

If the judge is happy then they will pronounce the decree nisi. This means that the judge has agreed to the divorce and you can now move on providing nothing changes.

Both the petitioner and respondent will receive a copy of the pronounced decree nisi.

What Happens Next?

Once the judge has pronounced the decree nisi the petitioner will have to wait for exactly 6 weeks and 1 day before applying for the decree absolute.

The application will then be filled with the courts and be pronounced by a judge. You will then receive your decree absolute in the post.

Once you have received your decree absolute, your marriage will be over. However, that does not end any financial ties you may have. It’s highly recommended that you and your ex-spouse enter into a financial consent order to ensure you are no longer financially tied for many years to come.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us, one of our advisors will be more than happy to help.


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