An action brought to stop the increase of divorce fees in Australia has not been successful in the Federal Court. In the case, the Law Council of Australia argued that the fees were already ‘a significant burden for families who are struggling through a crisis.’ However, the Court found that whether such an increase in fees was substantial may lead to political judgment, which generally Courts seek to avoid. * Update as at November 2016: this case has since been reversed. 

1. Case to increase fees

As a result of this case, the following fees were set to increase to:

  • Divorce fee in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia - from $845 to $1,200 ($355 increase);

  • Divorce fee in the Family Court of Australia - from $1,195 to $1,200 ($5 increase);

  • Fees for Consent Orders - $155 to $240 ($85 increase), and for issuing subpoenas from $55 to $125 ($70 increase)

  • A new fee category for the filing of amended applications ($125).

2. Result

The higher fees were set to raise about $87 million over four years, and only 60% of the fees would go back to the Family Courts.

Media is reporting that the Attorney-General will again try to raise divorce fees for a third time in September. The attempt to increase fees by the Attorney-General involves raising and reducing different types of Family Court fees, including reducing some concession fees.

3. Update

Given the public outcry over such a large increase in fees, the above fee increases were never enacted. Only a slight increase was applied to the previous fees for divorce (i.e. $20 increase for an Application for Divorce). 

4. Current filing fees

As at July 2016, the current filing fee for a Divorce is:

For the Federal Circuit Court of Australia: 

  • Application for divorce - $865

  • Application for divorce – reduced fee - $290

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.