Decree absolute and the law In the case of Miller Smith v Miller Smith (No 2) (2009 EWHC3623), a case on which I have posted before, my firm represented the husband.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.Sometimes the parties agree at the outset that neither of them will apply for decree absolute until all the issues between them are resolved.
Perhaps emotionally, it seems a step too far, too soon – and the Petitioner, despite having initiated the process, cannot bring him self or herself to take the final step.
So the Respondent may also apply, three months after the earliest date that the Petitioner could have done so, and that application too is usually a formality.
So it is a worthwhile part of the procedure and serves its purpose.
In most cases, however, too much water has passed under the bridge and the obtaining of decree absolute is public recognition that the parties, who are already divorced in body and mind, are now legally divorced.
He made reference to the statutory powers that the court has, outlining the circumstances in which the court “shall not” or “may” make a decree absolute under sections 8-10A of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.
These include delaying decree absolute until financial provision has been made in certain divorces which are proceeding on a separation basis, and delaying decree absolute when a religious divorce is required to be put in place first.
The court office seals and issues a certificate of decree absolute.
Sometimes, however, the Petitioner refuses to apply.
For most, it is the beginning of a new life and new, guilt-free relationships.
In some cases there is, in fact, a rush to decree absolute.
If one party wants the divorce to be finalised but the other does not, and the parties’ finances have not been resolved, may the decree absolute be delayed? The divorce process in England is conducted in three stages: 1. When a divorced person wishes to remarry, a sealed copy of the decree absolute must be produced as evidence the party is legally free to do so.