5. Apply for decree nisi

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

A decree nisi is a document that says 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 a decree nisi. However, you’ll have to go to a hearing at the court to discuss the case, where a judge will decide whether to grant you a decree nisi.

Fill in application form

To get a decree nisi, fill in the application for a decree nisi.

If your husband or wife is defending the case, fill in section B of the form, saying you want a ‘case management hearing’ before the judge.

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 grounds you’ve given for your divorce:

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

After 6 weeks you can apply for a ‘decree absolute’ to end the marriage.

Your application is rejected

You may be sent a ‘notice of refusal of judge’s certificate’ form, saying why you can’t 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.

Get legal advice if there is going to be a court hearing: find a legal adviser.

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