Is it possible to be ‘secretly divorced’, like Adele?

Recent news reports have claimed that singer-songwriter Adele has ‘secretly divorced’ her husband, Simon Konecki. But is it possible to get a ‘secret divorce’?

It is certainly possible to be discreet about the fact that you are not getting divorced: not ‘broadcasting’ the fact and, in the case of celebrities, not informing the media. However, like marriage, divorce is a matter of public record. It is not therefore possible to keep it entirely secret.

When the court is satisfied that you are entitled to a divorce, it will pronounce the ‘decree nisi’. A list of cases due for the pronouncement will be published by the court, and can be seen on the court’s public noticeboard. The pronouncement itself takes place in a hearing in open court, at which anyone can attend (although usually no one does!).

And after the divorce has been finalised, details of it (or at least of the decree absolute) will be placed on a central index of decrees absolute maintained by the Central Family Court in London. Anyone can search the index, and can obtain a copy of the decree absolute, for a small fee. Divorce case files for older divorces up to 1937 are held at The National Archives.

So it is not possible to be divorced in secret, no matter what the headline writers may say!

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Image of Adele by Marc E. [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.