Rate Increase for Divorce Petitions
The process of getting divorced begins with a petition, the information detailed on the petition includes the names of the couple who wish to divorce, details about their children and the reason that the marriage has broken down. As part of the 2016 budget there will be an increase of 34% in the fees required to apply for the petition.
After a consultation period it has been decided that the rate will increase from £410 to £550. These changes have been strongly opposed by family solicitors.
The increase was not communicated effectively beforehand. Solicitors only received confirmation about the changes, via email from their local court, days before the rise in the rates. The new charges are confusing for people who are thinking about, or who are in the process of separating. It is unlikely that they will have the time to complete their petitions before the rates increase.
Thoughts are that escalation in divorce fees were the easiest option to increase revenue, because in order to receive the decree absolute (confirmation that the marriage has been dissolved) the petition has to be submitted. There are other areas of family law where, had cuts been made, there would have been further implications.
The House of Commons justice select committee have undertaken an inquiry into court fees and the general feeling is that it would have been far better to wait until findings from the inquiry were published before announcing the hike in fees.
If you would like more information about divorce please contact a member of the Lawson-West Family Law team on 0116 2121080.View all