What is Conditional Order or Decree Nisi?
Obtaining a Conditional Order is an essential part of any divorce process in the UK. Couples who are planning to terminate their marriages should understand the meaning of “Decree Nisi” or a “Conditional Order” as well as the key details about obtaining this document.
In April 2022, the UK introduced changes to its divorce law. One of the changes in the new law was the introduction of the term “Conditional Order”, which replaced the previous term “Decree Nisi”.
What is a Decree Nisi or Conditional Order?
A decree nisi which is also known as a conditional order is a document issued by a judge in the United Kingdom to proceed with the process of divorcing a married couple. It is issued by the end of the first stage of the process and essentially means that the government was satisfied with the reasons for the divorce and sees no obstacles to proceed with it.
So does a Decree Nisi mean you are divorce? The short answer would be it does not. The divorce is not finalized before a Decree Absolute is issued. The main difference between a Decree Nisi and a Decree Absolute is that the former document finalizes one of the earlier stages of the divorce, while the latter document finalizes the entire procedure.
Why is the Conditional Order (Decree Nisi) important?
Conditional Order (Decree Nisi) of divorce is needed to move on with the procedure. The document confirms the authorities have reviewed the case for the couple in question and see no grounds to deny their application to divorce. There might be multiple reasons why the government might not approve a decree nisi, so it is always recommended to consult professional solicitors before applying.
Obtaining a Conditional Order is important, because otherwise, it is impossible to get to the next stage. An application for a Final Order will be denied in case a Conditional Order was not obtained beforehand. It would also be impossible to move on to establishing a financial settlement without obtaining this document first.
How to apply for a Decree Nisi or Conditional Order?
If the court issued your divorce application before 6 April 2022 – you need to apply for a Decree Nisi online or by post.
If the court issued your divorce application on or after 6 April 2022 – it is necessary to wait after the divorce application is issued by the court. The period of waiting is normally 20 weeks, although some adjustments can be made in the process by the authorities. In case the initial application was made online, it is also possible to apply for a Conditional Order on the government’s official website. You can also send your application by post.
The application can be submitted solely by one of the partners even in case the process was initiated jointly.
How long does it take?
Unfortunately, there are no specific time frames set by the authorities for a decision on a Decree Nisi application to be made. It may take from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, but the waiting period rarely exceeds 5 months. Once the decision is made, the judge will confirm the date of the document and the Decree Nisi will be pronounced.
What happens after Decree Nisi?
Most applicants are wondering how long after getting a decree nisi are you divorced, and the quick answer would be from seven to eight weeks. As mentioned, it is necessary to get a Decree Absolute to finalize the procedure, and an application for it can only be made six weeks and one day after a Decree Nisi is issued. The decision on that application is usually made within a week.
How can we help?
For many couples, a divorce does not go as smoothly as they would like it to. We at Sterling Law are always ready to provide professional legal guidance on any stage of the process to avoid potential delays that may occur on the way. We will review your case individually and provide recommendations for your specific situation with all its nuances.