A recent (and unusual) case has highlighted the importance of obtaining a decree within divorce proceedings. In this case, the husband (who was acting in person) had issued divorce proceedings but not progressed them through to Decree Nisi. The financial proceedings continued all the way to a Final Hearing and judgement was given before a District Judge who was not aware that Decree Nisi had not be obtained.
The husband failed to adhere to the terms of the order and the wife therefore sought to enforce the order. When the case went back before the Court, the issue with Decree Nisi was identified and the judge held that the case had to be remitted for another Final Hearing.
This error undoubtedly will have cost both the husband and the wife additional legal fees and the scenario could ultimately have been avoided.
Section 23 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 requires that an order in financial remedies proceedings can only be made following the grant of decree nisi.