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How to Apply for a Decree Absolute in UK

The absolute decree is a legal document that ends the divorce process and dissolves the marriage. The granting of an absolute decree means you have become 'divorced'.

Decree Absolute Application Time Scale

There is a time scale for applying for a decree absolute.

From the date of the decree nisi, you must wait 43 days (six weeks and one day) before you can apply for decree absolute. But, there is also a deadline.

Note: You should not leave it any longer than 12 months of getting the decree nisi. Doing so means you would need to explain the reason for the delay to the court.

You must apply using Form D36: final order to legally end your marriage (or civil partnership). Completing the form is asking for a notice of application for decree nisi to become ‘absolute’.

Another area for agreement will be splitting up money and property when a relationship ends. But, if you want to make it ‘legally’ binding you must do it before the deadline.

Getting a Decree Absolute from the Court

The court will make several checks before granting the application, including:

  • Making sure the process took place within the time limits.
  • Checking there are no other reasons for them ‘not’ to grant the divorce.

The court sends out a decree absolute to both parties involved. Receiving the decree absolute means you would now be ‘divorced’. You and your ex spouse are no longer married and both of you are free to marry again (if you should wish to do so).

Note: You should always keep your decree absolute in a safe place in case you need to prove your marital status or if you remarry. In some cases, you can get a copy of a decree absolute or final order if necessary.

Failing to Apply for the Decree Absolute

What happens if you do not apply for your own decree absolute? In this case, your spouse (husband or wife) can apply for it instead. But, they would need to wait an extra three (3) months on top of the standard 43 days before applying.


How to Get a Divorce | Read through the key steps to follow during the process of getting a divorce.

If Your Spouse Lacks Mental Capability | Getting someone to make their decisions during a divorce.

Applying for a Decree Absolute in the United Kingdom