Going through a divorce can be a complex and emotionally challenging journey, but the final step in the process is obtaining the decree absolute. As a crucial document, the decree absolute officially terminates the marriage and legally confirms your divorce. Understanding the significance and timing of the decree absolute is vital during this transition.
In this article, we will delve into the concept of the decree absolute and shed light on when you can anticipate receiving it. While the exact timeline may vary depending on various factors, familiarising yourself with the general process and seeking guidance from a family law solicitor can help you navigate this important milestone in your divorce proceedings.
What is a decree absolute?
A Decree Absolute is the final legal document that officially dissolves a marriage in England and Wales. It is the equivalent of a divorce decree in the United States. Once a Decree Absolute has been granted by the court, both parties are free to re-marry.
In England and Wales, the process of obtaining a Decree Absolute begins with a petition for divorce, which is presented to the court by one of the spouses. The court will then consider the evidence and make a decision as to whether or not to grant the divorce. If the divorce is granted, the petitioner can apply for a Decree Nisi, which is a provisional divorce order. After a certain period of time has passed, the petitioner can then apply for a Decree Absolute, which is the final divorce order.
What is a decree nisi?
A Decree Nisi is a provisional divorce order in England and Wales. It is granted by a court after it has decided to grant a divorce, but before the divorce is officially finalised.
In the process of obtaining a divorce in England and Wales, the petitioner (the person who initiates the divorce) first presents a petition for divorce to the court. If the court decides to grant the divorce, it will issue a Decree Nisi, which is a provisional order that confirms that the court intends to grant a divorce.
After a specified period of time (usually 6 weeks), the petitioner can apply for a Decree Absolute, which is the final divorce order that dissolves the marriage. The Decree Absolute will only be granted if there are no objections raised during the period between the Decree Nisi and the application for Decree Absolute.
How do I apply for the decree absolute?
To apply for a Decree Absolute, you will need to follow these steps:
- Wait for the period after the Decree Nisi: You will need to wait for a period of approximately 6 weeks and 1 day after the Decree Nisi has been granted before you can apply for a Decree Absolute.
- Prepare the application: You will need to complete a form called an “application for a Decree Absolute.” This form can usually be obtained from the court dealing with your divorce case or from a legal stationery supplier.
- Submit the application: Once you have completed the form, you will need to submit it to the court along with the appropriate fee.
- Attend a court hearing: In some cases, you may be required to attend a court hearing to discuss the terms of your divorce and to answer any questions the judge may have.
- Receive the Decree Absolute: If the court is satisfied with your application, it will grant the Decree Absolute, which is the final order that dissolves your marriage.
It’s important to note that the process of applying for a Decree Absolute may vary slightly depending on the circumstances of your case and the court dealing with your divorce.
When can I expect to receive the decree absolute?
The Decree Absolute can typically be obtained approximately 6 weeks and 1 day after the Decree Nisi has been granted, assuming that there are no objections raised during this period. However, the exact timeline can vary depending on the circumstances of the case and the workload of the court.
It’s important to note that while the Decree Nisi confirms the court’s intention to grant a divorce, the marriage is not officially dissolved until the Decree Absolute has been granted. The Decree Absolute is the final order that legally dissolves the marriage, and it is only after this has been granted that both parties are free to re-marry.
If you have any concerns or questions about the timeline for obtaining a Decree Absolute, you should contact your divorce solicitor or the court dealing with your divorce case for more information.
What happens after I receive the decree absolute?
Once you have received the Decree Absolute, your marriage is officially dissolved and both parties are free to re-marry. Here are some of the key things that happen after you receive the Decree Absolute:
- Financial settlements: If you have not yet reached a financial settlement with your former spouse, you may still need to do so after the divorce is finalised. This can include issues such as property division, maintenance payments, and pensions.
- Change of name: If you have changed your name during the marriage, you may wish to change it back to your previous name or to a new name.
- Estate planning: If you have a will, you should update it to reflect your new marital status.
- Insurance: You may need to make changes to your insurance policies, such as your life insurance or health insurance, to reflect your new marital status.
- Legal documents: You will need to update any legal documents that relate to your marital status, such as your passport or driving license.
In conclusion, the decree absolute is the final step in the divorce process in the UK and signifies that your marriage has officially ended. Understanding the process for receiving the decree absolute, and what it means for your life, is an important part of navigating the divorce process. With the help of a qualified family solicitor, you can ensure that you receive your decree absolute as smoothly and efficiently as possible.