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Finalising the divorce: the Decree Absolute

The Decree Absolute is the court order that legally terminates your marriage. 

Once the Decree Absolute has been issued, your marriage is formally at an end and you can consider yourself to be single again.


This guide outlines general topics you should be thinking about if you want to get a divorce in Northern Ireland. But it is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, you should contact a specialist divorce solicitor for advice on your specific circumstances.

Finalising the divorce: the Decree Absolute

As we said above, a Decree Nisi is not your final divorce.

But after the Judge awards you a Decree Nisi, you can then apply for the final divorce.

This is what’s known as the Decree Absolute.

Fortunately, you don’t have to attend court this time!

All you have to do is wait for six weeks and one day after you get the Decree Nisi and then you can apply to the court – the same court that gave you your Decree Nisi – for your Decree Absolute.

You do this by filling out Form 10 and lodging it with the court with – yes you guessed it – another fee.

You can also find a copy of Form 10 here.

At the time of writing, the fee for an application to make a Decree Nisi a Decree Absolute is £89. You can find the current fees here.

When the court grants the Decree Absolute, you and your ex-partner will receive a copy of the Decree Absolute by post.

Important: If you and your partner have not reached agreement about your finances, sometimes it is better not to apply for a Decree Absolute immediately after the Decree Nisi. Depending on your circumstances, there could be financial implications – you could lose the right to entitlement under your ex-partner’s pension, for example. If you think you fall into this category, it’s important that you don’t make any mistakes here. If in doubt, you should contact a divorce solicitor for advice.  

If you wait for longer than a year to apply for the Decree Absolute, you will have to file an affidavit explaining the delay. 3 months after the 6 weeks and one day, your partner can apply for the decree absolute if you haven’t.

When the Decree Absolute has been granted, that is the point at which your marriage is legally at an end.

The legal part of the divorce is over and you are free to move on as a single person.

The Decree Absolute is an important document and you should keep it in a safe place. It is proof of your divorce and you may be asked to present it at a later stage.

For example, you may be asked to produce it if you:

  • want to remarry
  • apply for a new passport
  • apply for a grant of probate or letters of administration
  • apply for certain benefits

So it’s a good idea to keep it in a safe place.

The above article is part of our guide on how to get a divorce in Northern Ireland.

If you are thinking about getting a divorce, you should get in touch with a Northern Ireland specialist divorce solicitor who will be able to provide advice tailored to your own personal circumstances.

If you have any questions, you are very welcome to get in touch.

All the best,

The Team @ Lightlaw
Every effort is made to keep this guide up to date. Although it is not to be regarded as legal advice, we strive to make sure the information is helpful, accurate and practical. If you are a Northern Ireland divorce solicitor and have spotted an inaccuracy, you can submit a suggested change.
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