Divorce fee increase scrapped
20 January 2015 by Simon Osborn
The planned increase in the fee for divorce has been dropped by the Government. Originally, the Government had proposed that the current fee of £410 be increased to £750 but, following much criticism from respondents to the consultation, the plans have been abandoned.
The response to that consultation, published on Friday 16th January 2015, conceded that most respondents to the consultation did not agree with the Government’s proposal for many reasons such as:
- the consultation had advanced no persuasive justification for increasing the fee;
- it was wrong in principle to seek to increase the cost of court proceedings associated with the breakdown of a family relationship;
- the fee was excessive and would deter people from seeking a divorce;
- this could result in people being trapped in unhappy or violent marriages. Alternatively, they would be unable to form new relationships which benefitted from the full protection of the law;
- some people would struggle to pay the fee: recent reforms to fee remissions meant that fewer people would qualify;
- it was potentially discriminatory: more women than men sought a divorce and it would therefore have a disproportionate impact on women.
The fee will be maintained at £410 even though the estimated cost of divorce proceedings to the Ministry of Justice is £270. The Government has stated that, in the current financial climate, it does not believe that a reduction in any fee can be justified.
The full response from the Ministry of Justice to the consultation can be read here
For information about divorce and the divorce process, click here