Divorce cost increase scrapped

Proposals to nearly double the fees for filling a divorce have been dropped by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), following criticism from a number of family law specialists and members of the judiciary.

Last year the Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, proposed a £340 increase in the cost of filing a divorce, from £410 to £750.

A public consultation carried out following the announcement of the policy last year, suggested divorcing couples “would be prepared to pay considerably more than the cost of the petition in order to secure the legal dissolution of their marriage”.

However, the proposal to increase fees was met with heavy criticism from the legal profession and the family law organisation, Resolution, who said that the increase would leave people, trapped in unhappy marriages and would not be in the best interests of children.

They were joined by the Judiciary of England and Wales, who objected to the increase as it would be a “significant impediment to access to justice”.

The Judiciary also said that, because most divorce petitioners are women, the proposal could be “indirectly discriminatory”.

The fee change would have increased the income of the Civil and Family Courts by £30 million per annum, but last week the MoJ said it would drop its proposals despite support from the public.

The proposal was part of wider plans by the MoJ to increase the cost of going to court in England and Wales in certain types of cases, such as recovery of debts, the cost of which the Government feels should not fall on “hardworking taxpayers”.