Plans for divorce fees increase are shelved by the Government

Ministers have dropped proposals to increase divorce fees, after the plans attracted widespread criticism.

The plans published just over a year ago would have seen the cost of filing for divorce almost double, from £410 to £750.

Resolution, the association for family lawyers, had condemned the proposals, arguing there was “no justification” for the rise.

After completing a consultation last year, the Ministry of Justice has now confirmed that it would not go ahead with the increase.

Many of those who responded claimed that increasing fees was “wrong in principle” and the civil court system should not be designed to generate a surplus.

Others claimed that a rise in fees may even deter people from seeking a divorce and leave those who were unable to afford the amount trapped in unhappy or violent relationships.

Welcoming the news, a spokesman for Resolution said: “Increasing the fee would have put divorce beyond the financial reach of many couples, leaving them in a legal limbo unable to dissolve their marriage.

“This could potentially have led to people remaining in marriages which have failed and in conflict for longer, which has been consistently shown not to be in the best interests of children.

“We are pleased that the Government has listened to reason and taken the decision not to unfairly penalise people for pursuing their legal right to divorce.”

Although debate about divorce fees is likely to continue, with some arguing that even the existing fees are too high.

An uncontested divorce costs the court £270, meaning that the Government makes £140 profit from each such case (totalling almost £17million a year).