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Is a divorce nisi the same as a divorce decree (in Massachusetts)?

Dracut, MA |

If not, what do I ask the court for as final documentation that the divorce is final?

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Attorney answers 3


The Judgment Nisi has a date on it on which the divorce becomes final, or absolute. This is the last document mailed to you from the court. It automatically becomes final when the specific number of days detailed in the judgment has passed. If you need something more official - it depends on what you need it for - you can request from the court a Certified Copy of the Judgment Absolute - there is a $20.00 fee and would need to be requested in person or in writing. You should contact the specific court for their requirements.

This answer is not intended to provide legal advice or to create an attorney client relationship. Tracy Fischer is a certified divorce mediator and attorney with offices in Newton and Danvers MA.


Judgment Nisi is an action of the court. It is the date of the adjudication of your divorce as entered into the court docket — you automatically receive a copy. Judgment Absolute is an action of law that occurs automatically (without court intervention) 90 days after the Judgment Nisi is entered, unless objection is made — you do not receive any notification of Judgment Absolute. However, a certified copy of the Judgment Absolute may be requested from the clerk’s office for a fee. Generally, a copy of the Judgment Absolute is required to prove the divorce is finalized.

This is not legal advice and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should speak to an attorney for further information.


Yes, more or less. You are officially divorced when the court enters the judgement nisi. Then there is the time period within which if no one files anything or if you don't change your mind, the divorce becomes absolute and final without you having to do anything. You may petition the court for the judgement absolute if you need it for immigration or other purposes such as remarriage, etc., but effectively you are divorced on your last date of court. Take care.

Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Massachusetts. Responses are based solely on Massachusetts law unless stated otherwise.

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