Transcript for Divorce Advice: Decree Absolute – Top Divorce Lawyer Marilyn Stowe

Decree absolute is one of the most popular topics on my blog, www.marilynstowe.co.uk. We have had hundreds of questions to the blog about decree absolute because to the average person in the street it’s very mystical, but to lawyers it actually isn’t.

When you apply for decree absolute you will be formally dissolving your marriage.

You will have got decree nisi, which means ‘decree unless’, and then six weeks will have passed before you can apply for decree absolute.

People are very hesitant about applying for the final order because they’re worried it will affect their finances. The advice I would give to those people is: will it affect your financial settlement?

It’s quite a long shot, but if your spouse dies between decree nisi and decree absolute and you don’t have a financial settlement in place then you would no longer be his or her widow or widower. If that happens, you might lose out on automatic benefits that you would have got had you still been married. For example: a widow or widower’s pension. Similarly: state benefits.

If you’re not going to automatically lose out on benefits, or any benefits that you might lose out on can be covered in terms of the assets anyway, then there’s probably no reason at all why not to go to decree absolute.

Take legal advice on your specific circumstances, but remember that it’s not as big a deal as you might think. Having decree absolute is necessary to put into effect the terms of a financial order anyway.

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3 comments

AQ - November 2, 2016 at 10:48am

i have received a certificate of entitlement to a decree. I have been separated from my husband for 7 years. The family court at bury St Edmunds has advised that on 10 November for the pronouncement of a decree. Does this mean that after 10 November I will be divorced and will I then receive the decree absolute?
This should have been a very straight forward divorce, I started the divorce petition back in June, my ex husband and I have both mutually agreed to a divorce. Our children are both over 18 and there are no money or asset issues. I can’t understand why it has taken so long!

Perry mogul - August 13, 2017 at 10:05am

I was divorced 10 years ago but my ex wife took care of most of the paper works,I was told I need a absolute decree to remarry,my question to you is how do I go about getting the absolute decree or a copy,seeing that I have no contact with my ex wife.

Cameron Paterson - August 14, 2017 at 5:49pm

Hello – solicitor Neil Dring responds:

“If your ex-wife obtained the Decree Absolute, then it will be relatively easy to obtain a copy of the certificate. If you know the court where the divorce was dealt with, I suggest you ring the court office. They will be able to do a search of their records, dig out the court file and provide you with a certified copy of the Decree Absolute.
If you are not sure which court dealt with it, then an enquiry can be made online via the http://www.gov.uk website. They can do a search of the central records against your name (and that of your former wife) and will provide you with a certified copy of the Decree Absolute upon payment of a fee. Currently the fee is £10.00.
A problem could arise if the divorce was never concluded and your former wife never actually applied for the Decree Absolute. This is unlikely, perhaps. However, if it is the case, but a Decree Nisi was pronounced, then you are able to make a separate application now to apply for the Decree Absolute, even after all this time. However it is essential that this is done before you re-marry. If that situation arises then I suggest you contact a solicitor to help deal with the paperwork.”

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