6. Apply for a decree absolute

The decree absolute is the legal document that ends your marriage.

You need to wait at least 6 weeks after the date of the decree nisi before you can apply for a decree absolute.

The delay gives you a chance to discuss finances and other issues with your husband or wife before the marriage comes to an end.

Apply within 12 months of getting the decree nisi - otherwise you will have to explain the delay to the court.

Fill in application form

To apply for a decree absolute, fill in the notice of application for decree nisi to be made absolute form.

A decree absolute costs £45. This fee won’t apply if you started your divorce after 1 July 2013, as it’s now part of the fee for starting the divorce.

If your husband or wife started the divorce

If your husband or wife started the divorce, but they haven’t applied for a decree absolute, you can apply.

You’ll have to wait an extra 3 months, on top of the standard 6-week delay, before you can do this.

To apply, fill in an application notice form.

You’ll have to pay a £80 fee and go to a court hearing with your husband or wife.

Getting the decree absolute

The court will check that:

  • arrangements for children aren’t a reason to delay the divorce
  • time limits have been met
  • there are no other reasons not to grant the divorce

The court will then send you both a decree absolute.

Once you get the decree absolute, you are divorced, no longer married and free to marry again if you wish.

Keep the decree absolute safe - you will need to show it if you remarry or to prove your marital status.

Help us improve GOV.UK

Please don't include any personal or financial information, for example your National Insurance or credit card numbers.