Apply for decree nisi
You can apply for a decree nisi if your husband or wife does not defend your divorce petition.
A decree nisi is a document that says that the court does not see any reason why you cannot divorce.
If your husband or wife does not agree to the divorce, you can still apply for a decree nisi. However, you’ll have to go to a court hearing to discuss the case, where a judge will decide whether to grant you a decree nisi.
Because of coronavirus (COVID-19), your hearing may be postponed or it may take place by phone or video. If you already have a hearing date, the court will contact you and tell you how the hearing will take place.
How to apply
You must also fill in a statement confirming that what you said in your divorce petition is true.
There are 5 statement forms - use the one that covers the reason you’ve given for your divorce:
- adultery statement
- unreasonable behaviour statement
- desertion statement
- 2 years’ separation statement
- 5 years’ separation statement
Attach a copy of your husband’s or wife’s response to the divorce petition.
Getting a decree nisi
If the judge agrees, the court will send you and your husband or wife a certificate. This may take several weeks.
The certificate will tell you the time and date you’ll be granted a decree nisi.
You’ll still be married after the decree nisi has been granted. You’ll have to wait 43 days (6 weeks and 1 day) before you can apply for a ‘decree absolute’ to actually end the marriage.
Your application is rejected
You may be sent a ‘notice of refusal of judge’s certificate’ form, saying why you cannot divorce.
The form will tell you what to do next. The judge may want more information in writing, or you may have to go to a court hearing.
You can get legal advice if there’s going to be a court hearing.