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.

How to apply

To get a decree nisi, read the guidance and then fill in the application for a decree nisi.

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:

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. This will tell you the time and date you’ll be granted a decree nisi.

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 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.

Get legal advice if there’s going to be a court hearing.