What do I need to do to get my final divorce papers?

by Nadine de Souza

If you've served your divorce petition and your spouse doesn't want to defend the divorce, then you can apply for Decree Nisi.

How to apply for Decree Nisi

It's not hard to apply for Decree Nisi, you simply have to fill in a form called Application for Decree Nisi (Form D84) and a Statement in Support of your Petition (Forms D80A to D80E). There is no court fee.

The Forms D80A to D80E correspond to the five grounds for divorce. You need to use the correct form for your situation. For example, if your divorce petition is for adultery, then you need to use Form D80A. Forms D80B to D80E are as follows:

  • D80B - Unreasonable behaviour
  • D80C - Desertion
  • D80D - Two-year separation
  • D80E - Five-year separation

With Forms D84 and D80 evidence must be provided that:

  1. Your spouse, or any co-respondent has received the divorce petition. If not, then you need an order for deemed service, or an order that service can be dispensed with.
  2. If your petition is based on adultery, then you must have evidence that your spouse admits to the adultery.
  3. If your petition is based on unreasonable behaviour, then you must have evidence that your spouse admits to unreasonable behaviour.
  4. If your petition is based on desertion, then you must have evidence that your spouse admits the desertion.
  5. If your petition is based on two years separation, then you must have evidence that your spouse consents to the divorce.
  6. You must also provide evidence that your spouse agrees to the proposed arrangements for children (or has filed their own statement of arrangements).

You’ll find most of the information above in the Acknowledgment of Service, so don’t worry about having to file lots of different pieces of evidence. The Statement of Arrangements for Children will give you the information needed for point 6 above.

Filing the Decree Nisi at court

You then have to send these forms to the court and state that your divorce is undefended.

When the court receives your paperwork, it will consider whether you’ve completed the documents correctly, whether you’ve got sufficient grounds for divorce, and that the proposed arrangements for the children are in their best interests. You don’t need to turn up to the court to hear the Decree Nisi pronounced, unless you want to.

If the judge finds that your documents are in order, he will send you a Certificate of Entitlement to a Decree Form. It usually takes about two months from the time you first file your application for decree nisi. You're usually told of the actual date about two weeks in advance.

Decree Absolute

A Decree Nisi is a provisional divorce and needs to be finalised with a Decree Absolute. You're not finally divorced until you have your Decree Absolute.

If you're the petitioner, you can apply for Decree Absolute six weeks and one day after you receive your Decree Nisi. If you’re the defendant you have to wait for four and a half months after you receive your Decree Nisi before you can apply for Decree Absolute. As long as the court is happy you will receive your Decree Absolute and finally be divorced.

Help from Lawpack

All the divorce forms you need – and expert guidance on how to use them – can be found in Lawpack’s Separation & DIY Divorce Kit.

If you need assistance in completing the forms, then you can use our DIY Divorce Service who will complete them for you. With our Managed Divorce Service they will complete them and also file them at court for you.

If you want more in-depth information from a divorce lawyer about all aspects of divorce law then read our guide, How to Get a Divorce by Punam Denley. Packed with tips and expert advice to ensure that you get through the divorce process smoothly.

Other information


Published on: December 11, 2014

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