Fee to issue a divorce petition has risen by 34%
The Ministry of Justice has confirmed it intends to increase the fee to issue a divorce petition from £410 to £550. Both houses in parliament have now approved the fee and subject to parliamentary approval, it will come into effect on Monday 21 March 2016.
Whilst there was speculation that the fee was going to rise to £750, the percentage increase is still huge and to cause further insult, it has been revealed that the actual cost to the court to process a divorce is c. £270. The rise in fee therefore means that on average a profit of £280 will be made per divorce!
This rise has also been sprung on us all with family solicitors learning of the increase by the receipt of e-mails from the central courts advising that the fee will rise from Monday. As can be expected, there is criticism of the government at the way that this has been handled from divorce solicitors and members of the public; parties may struggle to issue their petition at Court before Monday given that the Law Society Pre-Action Protocol recommends that a draft of the divorce petition is sent to the other party prior to issue and failure to do so can result in a claim for costs being dismissed or reduced.