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A “Decree Nisi” is what is known as the first “Decree” in divorce proceedings.
Following a successful application for your Decree Nisi, you will receive a certificate of entitlement from the Court confirming that a judge has held that that your marriage has irretrievably broken down in reliance upon one of the five facts; Adultery, Unreasonable Behaviour, 2 Years Separation with Consent, Desertion or 5 years Separation. The certificate of entitlement will provide a date upon which the Court will pronounce your Decree Nisi, and was made, the order will confirm that the marriage will be dissolved unless the Court receives evidence within a certain time period from the date the Decree Nisi was pronounced as to why the Decree Nisi should not be made absolute. If neither party has filed any evidence within the required time, the Petitioner can apply for the Decree Absolute.
The pronouncement of the Decree Nisi is generally made in open court and neither party is required to attend unless the Petitioner or Respondent is seeking to object to the making of the Decree Nisi or making representations as to why a costs order should not be made.
There is a statutory period of 6 weeks in between Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute, which provides a “cooling off” period for the parties should they require it. This period can be shortened but only in exceptional circumstances such as the impending birth of a child or ill health supported by medical evidence. In reality this period may be extended as a result of ongoing negotiations surrounding the division of the matrimonial assets.
Once Decree Nisi has been granted the Petitioner has to wait a period of 6 weeks before they can apply for the Decree Absolute. In the event the Petitioner fails to apply for the Decree Absolute the Respondent can apply three months after the expiry of the 6 week period.
This is also the first opportunity that the parties have to file a ‘Consent Order’ with the Court setting out how the parties’ finances are to be divided following their divorce. If the parties are unable to reach agreement between them it is advisable to seek a stay of proceedings until an agreement has been reached with the assistance of solicitors, mediation or the court, otherwise you could find yourself being severely prejudiced in relation to a financial settlement, as proceeding with the divorce may terminate an entitlement to a particular asset that you would have otherwise had entitlement to if you were still married.
Kew Law has a team of specialist matrimonial solicitors who will be able to assist you with any queries you may have in connection with your divorce process. We can lighten the strain and stress of the divorce process by acting for you on a fixed fee basis, where there are no hidden charges. Where you choose to undertake your divorce by yourself, we can offer you an initial consultation at an office that is local to you, where you will receive specialist legal advice from one of our matrimonial solicitors who can provide you with an overview as to process which is involved.
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