Cost of Divorce set to rise
With the cost of acquiring a divorce going up, couples that are in unhappy, loveless, even abusive marriages are being forced to reconsider staying together.
The fee for a divorce civil court hearing have risen by £140, from £410 to £550. However, an increase of £140 is little compared to the original proposed increase of £340 to £750, by the Ministry of Justice in 2013.
The previous government decided not to implement any increase to the £410 fee, back in January this year. This was based on the grounds that it was wrong in principle to seek to increase the cost of court proceedings associated with the breakdown of family relationships. The fee would deter people from seeking a divorce which could result in couples being trapped in unhappy marriages, sometimes in circumstances of domestic violence and abuse
Nevertheless, the Ministry ensured the fees, whilst wholly unpopular, were necessary and would ensure the rich; not vulnerable, paid more. The Family Justice Council believes “that the courts seeks to make a profit from the personal misfortune and misery that is a divorce or a dissolution of a civil partnership”. The spike in fees is all part of a package expected to raise an extra £60 million per annum.
However, the fee remissions scheme will remain in place. Resolution, the family law practitioners committee, will be asking the Justice Select Committee to monitor the impact of the increase, especially for those on limited means.