Should I wait to apply for Decree Absolute?


The Decree Absolute is the final order which dissolves your marriage and concludes your divorce. This legal document is evidence that your marriage has ended and that if you wish to, you could remarry.

We always advise clients to keep the decree absolute in a safe place but you can obtain a copy from the court if you know the court number.

If you are the petitioner in the divorce you will need to wait a minimum of six weeks and one day after the date your Decree Nisi was issued before you can then apply to the court for the Decree Absolute. If you as the petitioner do not apply for Decree Absolute then your spouse can, three months after the date upon which you could have applied for it.

If you do not apply for Decree Absolute within 12 months of the Decree Nisi then you will have to explain to the court, usually in a short statement, why there has been a delay.

If you have not reached an agreement on the split of the matrimonial assets then we do not usually advise people to apply for the Decree Absolute. Some assets of the marriage could be affected if you are no longer married. This most commonly relates to pensions, where if you are no longer spouses  and one parties dies ,without the finances being agreed, then the surviving spouse could potentially lose out on any automatic spousal benefits that would have been paid.

If you would like further advice on any of the issues raised in this blog, or any aspect of divorce and financial matters then please do not hesitate to contact the Family Team  by email at or by telephone on 01243790532.