Conditional Orders In Divorce

Conditional Orders In Divorce
Conditional Orders In Divorce

The divorce process in England and Wales involves several stages. Whether you are applying for divorce individually or jointly, obtaining a conditional order (previously known as a decree nisi) from the courts is a necessary step.

A conditional order is a significant milestone in divorce proceedings, marking an essential interim stage.

If you are contemplating divorce, it’s crucial to understand the purpose of a conditional order, the steps preceding and following its application, and the associated timelines.

Our experienced solicitors can offer comprehensive guidance on conditional divorce orders and assist you throughout the entire divorce process.

What is a conditional order in divorce?

A conditional order is a court order that signifies the court’s view that there are no legal obstacles preventing you and your partner from divorcing.

Previously, this stage of divorce was known as obtaining a decree nisi. The terminology was updated with the introduction of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, which also introduced “no fault divorce” in England and Wales.

It’s important to note that a conditional order does not finalise the divorce. The divorce is only confirmed and concluded upon the issuance of a final order (previously referred to as the decree absolute).

How to apply for a Conditional Order

To apply for a conditional order, you must first complete and submit a divorce application to the court, typically done online, which must be accepted by both parties. Once accepted, the court will issue the application.

Following the issuance of the divorce application, there is a mandatory 20-week waiting period. Only after this waiting period can you proceed to apply for a conditional order. As the applicant, you will be informed when this stage is reached.

How long does a conditional order take?

After submitting a conditional order application, the court will review it to determine if the divorce can proceed. The timeline for obtaining this approval may vary based on court backlogs and workloads.

Can a conditional order be rejected?

Once a divorce application has been accepted by the court, the likelihood of a conditional order being rejected is minimal.

What happens after a conditional order?

After receiving a conditional order, the subsequent step in the divorce process is to apply for a final order. The final order officially confirms the divorce, allowing both parties to remarry.

It’s important to recognise that even after obtaining a conditional order, you and your partner can still mutually decide to halt the process before proceeding to apply for a final order.

How long is it between a conditional order and a final order?

There is an additional waiting period between the conditional order and the final order. You must wait for 6 weeks and 1 day after receiving the conditional order before applying for the final order.

Considering these waiting periods, the divorce process typically takes a minimum of 7 months to complete.

Who can apply for a conditional order?

Under the updated divorce rules, you have the option to apply for divorce either as a sole applicant or jointly with your spouse. The applicant or applicants will file for the conditional order as part of the divorce process.

Even if you initially started the divorce process jointly, you can proceed with the conditional order and finalise the divorce as a sole applicant.

In cases where the application is made by a sole applicant, the other party (the respondent) cannot file for the conditional order. If you find yourself in this situation, feel free to contact us for assistance and guidance.

Do you have to wait for a conditional order to be granted before applying for a consent order?

A consent order is a legally binding document issued by a court that outlines how joint assets held by you and your partner will be divided. This includes the division of money, property, investments, pensions, and savings. In certain situations, a consent order may also address provisions for spousal maintenance or child maintenance payments.

After obtaining a conditional order in your divorce proceedings, it is advisable to pursue a consent order promptly. Filing for a consent order concurrently with or soon after initiating divorce proceedings helps avoid delays in obtaining the court’s approval.

Our solicitors are here to help

Our team is dedicated to guiding you through the divorce process and applying for a conditional order with simplicity and minimal stress. We strive to eliminate unnecessary delays and ensure the best possible outcome for you and your loved ones.

Avatar of DLS Solicitors by DLS Solicitors
24th April 2024
Avatar of DLS Solicitors
DLS Solicitors

Our team of professionals are based in Alderley Edge, Cheshire. We offer clear, specialist legal advice in all matters relating to Family Law, Wills, Trusts, Probate, Lasting Power of Attorney and Court of Protection.

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