Similarly, a religious divorce may be required to be in place before the parties are finally divorced. Lawyers do argue then about the circumstances in which decree absolute should be delayed.
Of course, it is always wise to consider your own position with your solicitor, before agreeing to decree absolute.
The Petitioner husband obtained his decree nisi of divorce, and the wife applied for the decree absolute to be postponed. The facts of the case are set out in the law report and I do not intend to comment on them. In paragraph 17 of his judgment Mr Justice Baker set out the law, having heard submissions from James Turner QC for the husband and John Wilson for the wife.
The parties are still able to change their minds about getting divorced.
That is why it is called : the Latin term for “unless.” There is a six week and one day minimum mandatory period between grant of decree nisi and decree absolute, so that if the couple do want to change their minds, they will remain married. I have one client who has twice obtained decree nisi from her husband, only to backtrack from the point at which the divorce was to be finalised.
The Court of Appeal followed the much earlier cases of Bromberg v Bromberg (1962) and also in Parks v Parks (1971), where Lord Denning in the Court of Appeal had stayed making the decree absolute because the financial settlement between the parties was set aside for material non-disclosure. ) The more recent case (although unreported) of Dart v Dart in 1995 was also a Court of Appeal case.
The Court held that the husband, who was also seeking his decree absolute, was entitled to it unless the wife “could show special circumstances to defer it”. Citing Dart, Mr Justice Baker held that the power to delay decree absolute “is an exercise of discretion of the trial judge but that exercise of discretion weights the granting of the decree absolute against the special circumstances very heavily in favour of the grant.
Applying for the decree absolute It is a straightforward process to obtain a decree absolute.