Impact of proposed court fee increases?
I am sure we all know someone who has been through a divorce or separation, and it is never a straightforward experience. The sad reality is that alongside the emotional strain placed on a family, there is also a huge financial strain. Suddenly, the same income that had provided for one home and lifestyle needs to be stretched for two. This is why I was disappointed to read recently that there is a proposed increase in court fees.
Given the levels of cuts the legal sector is facing, we should not be surprised that the government has thought fit to increase court fees in family cases. However, it places an even further strain on families who are already at one of the most stressful periods in their lives.
In 2013, it was decided that court fees would not increase, after outcry at a proposed 80% increase. It is now suggested that an application for a divorce will increase by approximately 34%, from £410 to £550. This may not seem like a huge increase to some, but it is an amount that needs to be found at the outset, at a time when finances can be at their tightest.
The impact will remain to be seen; the increase in court fees may act as a deterrent to seeking legal advice in a bid to save money, increasing the number of people acting without legal advice. Perhaps we will see a rise in separated but not divorced couples. This itself could give rise to further issues in the months and years following separation.