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Rise in Divorce Court Fees..again!

The government has announced that the Divorce Fee is set to rise later this year from the current £410 to £550, an increase of £140! Fees increased in 2013 to the current £410 from £340, a small jump of £25 the justification being that this now included the £45 decree absolute fee. Some would argue that we should be grateful that the fees are not set to rise as initially planned in January 2015 to £750, an 80% increase!

What is the extra £140 going to achieve? Is it going to make the divorce process quicker and more efficient? Are there going to be fewer delays? Is it going to aid litigants in person? The answer to these questions is probably ‘NO!’ It therefore remains to be seen how the additional £140 will be put to use.

The change in fee will have the greatest impact on those vulnerable clients who are unable to afford the fee. An increase in £140 may not seem a lot to some but for those on low income this is a substantial increase. Court Minister Shailesh Vara has said ‘At every stage we have sought to protect the most vulnerable by ensuring they will not have to pay new and higher fees and by making the remissions scheme more generous”. However, whether a change in the remission scheme will in practice help the vulnerable client is still uncertain and another reason to blog in months to come…