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Australia to introduce ‘divorce tax’

Separating couples in Australia will soon face increased court fees after the introduction of a so-called “divorce tax”.

The current price for filing for divorce in the country is AU$845 (£431), but that is set to rise significantly in the next budget from Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s centre-right Liberal/National Coalition government. Dubbed a “divorce tax” in the Australian press, it will purportedly bring in $87.7 million.

However the Sydney Morning Herald reports that, of the money raised by the increase, $22.5 million will go towards streamlining the processes in the country’s Family and Federal Courts and $30 million will go to building refurbishment. The remaining $35.2 million (£17.9m) will go to the government.

A spokeswoman for Attorney General George Brandis confirmed the divorce fee increase, although she said that details will not be available until July.

The increase has been criticised by members of the Opposition. Graham Perrett, the family law spokesman for the Australian Labor Party said it was a “mean-spirited tax on family breakdowns”.

He added that Mr Brandis “should be ashamed that he is taking advantage of a vulnerable sector of society to line the government coffers”.

Last year, Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews criticised the country’s divorce rate, claiming that children of married parents do much better than those in single parent households.

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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