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Negative response prompts government to scrap divorce fee increase

The government has scrapped plans to increase divorce fees following a consultation on the issue.

Initial plans would have seen the cost of filing for divorce almost double. Currently, filing for divorce costs £410, but the proposal would have seen that rise to £750.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) announced the change in a recently published response to the consultation. They also noted that, while the current fees exceed the costs of proceedings, the government did not think a reduction could be justified.

The consultation found that most people objected to such a significant increase in costs. Respondents argued that “enhanced fees were wrong in principle” because the civil court system was “essential to a democratic society and should not generate a surplus”.

Other respondents said that the proposed increase would “deter people from seeking a divorce” and couple potentially trap people “in unhappy or violent marriages” if they could not afford the fee.

An uncontested divorce only costs the court £270 each. This means that, at the current price, the government makes a £140 profit from each divorce, and this adds up to £16.8 million every year.

To read the full response to the consultation, click here.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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