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It is possible to be fully divorced without a financial settlement being resolved.
At decree nisi stage the parties are almost, but not quite, divorced.
I have been involved in one case where in such a case, exceptionally, the mandatory period was shortened.
This post considers the opposite position: when one party does not want to be divorced so long as the finances remain unresolved.
The Petitioner, who has initiated the process, files the marriage certificate on issue of the divorce petition.
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.
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.
The court office seals and issues a certificate of decree absolute.
Sometimes, however, the Petitioner refuses to apply.
So it is a worthwhile part of the procedure and serves its purpose.