As of today, divorce fees have risen from £410 to £550, an increase of 34 per cent.
The decision to increase the fee for lodging a divorce petition at court was only communicated by the courts at the end of last week, but the new fee will apply from today, Monday 21 March 2016.
Whilst there has been talk of a fee increase for some time, the timing of the rise has come as a surprise to Family lawyers, as there has been no formal consultation or announcement by the Ministry of Justice, leading many to express disappointment and concern at the lack of transparency shown by the government.
For couples planning to divorce, who are now faced with no choice but to pay the increased fee, this will unsurprisingly come as blow, particularly given the lack of advance warning. Many individuals may have opted to a file a petition in advance of the fee rise, had they known it would cost them an additional £140 from today onwards. The fee increase adds further strain to what is already a financially worrying and difficult time for most, and there has been little reassurance that the increased revenue will be spent on improving court.