What is a Final Order?

18 Dec 2023 | Harriet McMorrin
Final Order

Table of Contents

The introduction of no-fault divorces brought about a number of changes to the divorce process in England and Wales. One important change is the Final Order replacing Decree Absolute. 

What is a Final Order?

A Final Order is the legal document which confirms that your divorce has been granted by the court. It is the final stage of the divorce process. Once the Final Order is made, you are no longer married and are free to marry again if you wish – although you should not remarry until you have your Financial Remedy Order from the Court and have waited a further 28 days (time for an appeal and service of an appeal to have passed) 

Under the previous divorce laws, the Final Order was called the Decree Absolute.

Is a Final Order the same as a Decree Absolute?

The change is simply one of language. Both the Final Order and Decree Absolute have the same purpose – they bring the marriage to an end.

However, the steps for how to get a divorce leading up to a Final Order are different in the no-fault divorce process. The main change is the introduction of a 20-week mandatory waiting period before you can apply for a Conditional Order (which replaces the Decree Nisi).

The waiting period has been put in place to allow couples time for reflection and negotiation. You can use this period to resolve issues arising from the divorce, particularly regarding financial arrangements and arrangements concerning children, and reflect on whether ending the marriage is the right choice for you.

How long is between a Conditional Order and a Final Order?

Once a Conditional Order is made by the Court, the Final Order may not be made by the Court before the end of the period of 6 weeks from the making of the Conditional Order – so you have that wait  before you can  apply for the Final Order. Frequently, your solicitor will advise that you wait longer than this. 

That is because of the effect of the Final Order may have on matters such as Inheritance, tax, property, pension benefits and benefits under a Trust.  It is in your best interests to delay the Final Order until the Financial Remedy Order  is in place, to ensure that you do not lose any valuable rights or claims. It is particularly important to think about what would happen if your ex died – if you had the Final Order you would no longer be his/her widower – again there could be financial implications.  Most people therefore tend to wait until they have their Financial Remedy Order before applying for the Final Order on divorce.  There is no deadline for applying for the Final Order. 

How do I apply for a Final Order?

Once you have the Financial Remedy Order and the requisite  waiting days have passed, you can apply for a Final Order.

Who makes the application?

The person who made the divorce application (the Applicant) should make the application. If you and your ex applied jointly for the divorce, you should apply together for the Final Order. However, one of you can apply as the sole Applicant even if you started the divorce application together with your ex.

If you applied for a divorce online, you generally will receive a notification when you can make the application for the Final Order. You can also apply by post using Form D36. Your solicitor will take care of this for you.

Is it possible to change my mind after a Final Order is granted?

Once the Final Order is made, the divorce is final. If you decide to reconcile with your spouse, it won’t be recognised as a marriage or a civil partnership.

Do I need to wait for a Final Order before obtaining a Financial Remedy Order?

No-fault divorce was introduced to simplify the legal process of obtaining a divorce but it has no bearing on the division of finances. These arrangements need to be made separately.

Most couples voluntarily agree how the money, property and other assets will be split. However, a Financial Remedy Order needs to be obtained for them to be legally binding.

You don’t need to wait for the Final Order before you start the process of getting a Financial Remedy Order. In fact, it is recommended that you seek a Consent Order as soon as possible after the Conditional Order and before you apply for the Final Order, to ensure that all your financial rights are protected.

Reach out to our no-fault divorce legal experts

If you would like more information regarding Final Orders or any other aspect of the no-fault divorce process, please reach out to Osbornes Law’s no-fault divorce specialists. Our experienced team of legal professionals are here to help explain how best to protect your rights and interests during this difficult time. Contact us today to find out more.

  • Fill in our online enquiry form; or
  • Call us on 020 7485 8811

Share this article

Contact

Speak to us about a Final Order

For a free initial conversation call 0207 485 8811

Email us Send us an email and we’ll get back to you






    • "Osbornes Law have a very broad family practice which does all areas of family law at a high level. They have an excellent practice; they are top quality across the board."

      CHAMBERS UK 2023

    • Osbornes have been a sound firm forever. They have phenomenal work and an excellent skill set.

      Chambers HNW 2022

    • Osbornes have high-end partners doing high-end work. They are very impressive.

      Chambers HNW 2022

    • They have an excellent practice; they are top quality across the board.

      Chambers HNW 2022

    • Osbornes have a very broad family practice which does all areas of family law at a high level.

      Chambers HNW 2022

    • He is very hard-working, diligent and thoughtful in his approach. He is on top of the detail and makes strategic decisions.

      Chambers HNW 2022

    • He commits himself to getting the best results.

      Chambers HNW 2022

    • He’s a really tough litigator that you certainly want on your side. He will defend his clients to the hilt.

      Chambers HNW 2022

    • Mark is an immensely capable lawyer, with vast experience and a well-deserved reputation for getting the very best for his clients.

      Chambers HNW 2022

    • Lisa Pepper is extremely hard-working and adored by her clients. She is a very empathetic and approachable lawyer.

      Chambers HNW 2O22

    • She’s an extremely supportive and kind lawyer and has an increasing mediation profile too

      Chambers HNW 2022

    • Andrew secured me the best financial settlement for my claim. He is a credit to Osbornes Solicitors.

      Family Department Client

    • "It has a strong and experienced team of solicitors who don’t take bad points, work sensibly to get a settlement and who you can always pick up the phone and speak to. They are good lawyers and know the strengths and weaknesses of their clients’ cases. They don’t posture and always pursue their clients cases appropriately. "

      Legal 500 2021

    • "Mark Freedman is a very capable lawyer, renowned for not being a pushover and pushing his clients’ cases as much as he can, but will always talk sensibly about settlement. He is among the best – tenacious, good judgment and tactically aware."

      Legal 500 2021

    • "Mark Freedman is a dynamic and highly experienced family lawyer who fights extremely hard for his clients and is always in their corner, thus ensuring their loyalty and confidence. In a trial you would always want him on your side."

      Legal 500 2021

    • "Bridget Thompson combines her excellent legal knowledge with a clear, succinct and robust style of advice and advocacy. Her approach clearly inspires a high degree of client confidence in her"

      Legal 500 2021

    • "She has impressed me as someone who fights my corner but also understands the importance of resolving issues without unnecessary escalation. She is calm and reassuring."

    • "Her mediation practice is exceptional; she is also a great solicitor and has a breadth of skill which is really useful."

      Chambers UK 2021

    • "He is really experienced and wise. He has a lovely manner about him and clients feel safe with him."

      Chambers UK

    • "Jo Wescott is top notch and widely recognised as a rising star throughout the profession. She brings a winning combination of great judgement, an immense work ethic, and a relaxed and charming way with opponents and clients alike. Someone you want on your side”

      Legal 500 2021

    • "Osbornes is pre-eminent for family law in North London. Mark Freedman is a real rainmaker. He is an excellent lawyer and has a top-notch practice"

      Legal 500 2020 - Mark Freedman

    • Mark Freedman is intelligent and personable and has a good selection of high-net work cases.

      Legal 500 2020 - Mark Freedman

    • "Exceptional value for money. Highly competent and reasonably priced. Mark Freedman: one of the best in the field."

      Legal 500 2020 - Mark Freedman

    • "Client-focused. Ready to fight the clients’ corner, but also ready where possible to steer client from unnecessary dispute. Mark Freedman – very experienced, with good instinct for the eventual result. Clients love him and he thinks ahead and directs the client to the best result for the client."

      Legal 500 2020 - Mark Freedman

    • Mark Freedman is a serious player. A fearless family law litigator, who protects his clients’ interests passionately.

      Legal 500 2020 - Mark Freedman

    • Breadth of knowledge and willingness to go the extra mile is what makes it stand out. Mark Freedman – devoted to his clients

      Legal 500 2020 - Mark Freedman

    • Mark Freedman frequently takes on high-value financial and children proceedings that involve complex tax, trust and accounting issues. Sources praise the "tenacity and common sense" he brings to challenging disputes.

      Chambers UK

    • "Mark is very experienced, competent, good with clients and takes a sensible approach to cases. He knows exactly what he's doing."

      Chambers & Partners Directory 2020, Mark Freedman

    • "An exceptional outfit. They take on difficult cases, fight hard and win."

      Chambers UK

    • "They are an outstanding firm to work with. They are consistently impressive in their work."

      Chambers UK

    • "The team frequently deals with cross-border estates for high–net-worth individuals."

      The Legal 500

    • "Mark Freedman is a real heavyweight litigator who has dealt with some very significant cases."

      The Legal 500

    • "Mark Freedman boxes clever, keeps his powder dry and when it comes to the end game he negotiates a really good deal."

      The Legal 500

    • "Mark Freedman has a specific focus on high-net-worth divorces and finance cases where there are overseas assets and trusts."

      The Legal 500

    • "Lisa Pepper somehow manages to get parties to settle on matters where there isn’t much hope to start out with."

      The Legal 500

    • "Well-regarded family practice assisting clients with substantial matrimonial disputes and sensitive children proceedings."

      Chambers UK

    • "Mark Freedman draws acclaim for his work in high net worth divorce cases, including those involving company structures, family trusts and overseas assets."

      Chambers UK 2019

    • "He never gives up. He fights for you to the end and has boundless energy."

      Chambers UK

    • Bridget Thompson heads the family team, where client care is the top priority.

      Legal 500

    • Mark Freedman advises high-net-worth clients and knows his stuff.

      Legal 500

    • Highly regarded for his experience as a litigation and mediation expertise, Mark Freedman is tenacious and determined. Clients really feel that he is fighting their corner.

      Chambers UK

    • [The Family Law department] handles significant matrimonial finance cases and complex nuptial agreements. Respected for its expertise in cross-border children law matters.

      Chambers UK

    • They have a really good, strong team, with the junior elements punching well above their weight. It doesn't matter who you talk to; they are all switched on."

      Family Law department client

    • "Mark Freedman receives a lot of instructions from clients based abroad, often relating to complex divorce proceedings. Sources say: “His main strengths are his enthusiastic passion for the job in hand and his total dedication to his clients.”

      Chambers UK

    News & Insights on Divorce LawVIEW ALL

    1. signing contract
      30.10.2023

      What is a Conditional Order?

      The introduction of no-fault divorces in England and Wales removed the need to assign blame for the breakdown of a...

      Read more
    2. man signing paperwork
      29.10.2023

      What is a consent order?

      Most divorcing couples agree on how their finances will be divided without going to court. A consent order is what...

      Read more
    3. signing contract
      28.2.2022

      Decree Nisi

      Update: With the introduction of no-fault divorce in April 2022, a Decree Nisi became a Conditional Order, and a decree absolute...

      Read more
    4. Arrested male businessman with handcuffs
      2.11.2021

      Husband imprisoned for contempt of court in divorce...

      Non-compliance with any court order is dealt with seriously as contempt of court and carries the risk of a prison...

      Read more
    5. same sex divorce
      19.10.2021

      The Same-Sex Divorce Process

      What Happens When a Same-Sex Relationship Breaks Down? Recent news of Rylan Clark-Neal and Dan Neal’s divorce after failing...

      Read more
    6. wedding rings
      19.10.2021

      Decree Absolute

      Update: With the introduction of no-fault divorce in April 2022, a Decree Nisi became a Conditional Order, and a decree absolute...

      Read more
    7. broken heart
      24.9.2020

      How to Annul a Marriage

      What is a marriage annulment? Annulment is a different way to end a marriage. Unlike divorce, which legally ends a...

      Read more

    VIEW ALL