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When to Apply For A Decree Nisi

You can apply for a decree nisi if your husband or wife doesn’t defend your divorce petition.

The decree nisi is a formal document saying that the court doesn't see any reason why you can’t divorce.

If your husband or wife doesn’t agree to the divorce, you can still apply for it but there will need to be a court hearing and you should get legal advice.

What if your application is rejected?

You may be sent a ‘notice of refusal of judge’s certificate’ form, saying why you can’t divorce. The judge may want more information and you may want to get legal advice, or the judge may want a hearing - in which case you should definitely get someone to represent you.

If Your Application Isn't Rejected

If the judge agrees, the court will send you and your husband or wife:

  • a certificate of entitlement to a decree
  • a form saying that arrangements for children aren’t a reason to delay the divorce
  • a decree nisi

After six weeks you can apply for a ‘decree absolute’ which will formally end the marriage.