Family Law News Edinburgh

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Government Scrap Decision to Raise Divorce Fee

The government has abandoned it’s proposal to raise the fee to issue a divorce following a consultation on court fees.

Under proposals the government had proposed to raise the fee from the current price of £410 to £750, however following consultation scrapped the proposal altogether.

Above Estimated Costs of Legal Proceedings

The proposed fee, which was opposed by the vast majority of the public, would have seen the figure rise vastly above the current cost of legal proceedings according to the Ministry of Justice (Moj) figures. The MoJ estimates that the current cost for a divorce is around £270, £140 below what the current price is for a divorce application.

Rejected by Consultation

The proposal to increase the application fee for a divorce was opposed by the vast majority of the consultation for numerous reasons.

The vast majority of those questioned felt that there was no just cause to increase the fee, with the current cost of issuing a divorce already above the cost of legal proceedings and that the proposed fee was excessive. Those consulted on the potential increase felt that it was wrong on principle to seek extra income from those already going through a painful, emotional breakdown of a relationship.

Some consulted on the increased fee believed that it could lead to unhealthy relationships and a rise in domestic violence with couples being trapped in unhappy or violent marriages. The amendments to the current system would have a detrimental affect on women, who are most likely to file for divorce and who would therefore be punished by the higher cost.

Had the proposal from the government been passed, more people would have been unable to pay the higher cost potentially leaving them unable to move on. New relationships would be harmed as a result, and would not be under the full protection of the law.

Further Reform

Despite refusing to implement the changes proposed to the divorce application fee, the government did opt to increase the fee to issue proceedings for the recovery of money to 5% of the value of the claim for all claims over £10,000.

Although the decision was passed in order to raise money for courts, the new legislation will only affect 10% of claims with 90% of all claims being under £10,000.

The proposals to raise the cost of a divorce were proposed by Chris Grayling in an attempt to raise £200 million for the UK courts. Following the consultation, the government will not be raising the cost of a divorce in the UK with the cost remaining around £410. Despite this the government has maintained it’s aim to raise funds for the UK court system.

Britain has the highest divorce rate in the EU with 2.8 divorces for every 1000.

Contact Us

If you require legal representation to start divorce proceedings or require advice on how to apply for a divorce contact us today using our online contact form or call us on 0131 516 4479.

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