Divorce fees are set to increase as the government seeks to raise about $90 million from court fee increases. Sadly only $22.5 million of that is set to be returned to courts.
It is understood that the fees for divorce applications shall rise from $845.00 to $1,200.00 and consent orders from $150.00 to $240.00.
The divorce fee hike is already seeing an impact and is being met with harsh backlash. The Australian Tax Office is already threatening to litigate in the state courts, as the fee hike is making running matters in the Federal Court too expensive.
The folks who will be impacted the most, however, is the Australian family. Head of the Law Council of Australia, Rick O’Brien stated:
“We have not yet been told what the proposed fee increases will be, but we would be extremely concerned that any fee increase would severely restrict access to the courts by people most in need. Court fees, even at their existing levels, are a significant burden for families who are struggling through a crisis.”
Further to the monetary concerns, Ann Lightlower of Victoria’s Whittslea Community Legal Service said that clients simply would not be able to afford to get a divorce. "This is particularly difficult for my female clients who have been the victims of domestic violence ... (because) a divorce is often a major step on the road to recovery from the trauma associated with family violence" she says.
The fee hike for divorce applications is expected to take effect around July 1 2015.
UPDATE AS AT NOVEMBER 2016
The proposed fee hike above never took effect and a much smaller increase was enacted instead (a $20.00 increase). The current filing fee for Divorce in the Federal Magistrate's Court is $865.00. All applications for divorce must now be filed in the Federal Magistrate's Court.
Please click here to see read an update on this case and the current court fees to file for a divorce.
This article contains information of a general nature only and is not specific to your circumstances. This is not legal advice and should not be relied upon without independent legal or financial advice, specific to your circumstances.