Divorce Procedure: Applying for Decree Nisi

Once it can be shown that the Respondent has been served, the next step in the divorce procedure allows the Petitioner to apply for “Directions” for the case to be placed in the SPECIAL PROCEDURE list and ask for the DECREE NISI  to be pronounced by the Court.

The Special Procedure list is the Court’s list of undefended divorce cases and, once a divorce case is put into that list, the District Judge considers whether the Petitioner has proved the grounds for divorce. If so, the date for the Decree Nisi is fixed. If not, the Petitioner might be asked to file further evidence with the Court before the Decree Nisi date is fixed.

The Petitioner has to make a statement confirming that the Petition is true. This statement can also refer to anything in the divorce Petition or Statement on arrangements which was stated incorrectly, or to deal with changes that have occurred since the divorce Petition or Statement of arrangements were filed with the Court. If the divorce is based on a period of separation the statement will also need to list where the Petitioner and Respondent have been living since they separated.

If the Judge was not satisfied that there were grounds for divorce, then the Court might ask for more evidence from the Petitioner.

At this stage in the divorce procedure, the Judge looking at the papers will also consider whether the arrangements for any children are satisfactory by looking at the Statement of Arrangements. Assuming everything is satisfactory, the Court will issue a Certificate confirming it does not need to exercise any powers in relation to the children. If the District Judge is not content with arrangements then the Court can delay completion of the divorce until it is ordered otherwise and, in the meantime, the District Judge might ask for further evidence about the children. If there are Court proceedings going on about the children at this point, then again the District Judge has power to delay the divorce until those are concluded.

The final stages in the divorce procedure are the granting of decree nisi and decree absolute.


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