Divorce fees will rise by 34 per cent from Monday despite strong opposition from family lawyers.
The increase from £410 to £550 comes after the Ministry of Justice consulted last year on higher court fees across the board as part of a policy to make courts pay their way.
Parliament has approved the rises, but family lawyers only heard yesterday that they would take effect from Monday, and they immediately urged divorcing couples to lodge divorce petitions by the end of this week.
Jo Edwards, the chairwoman of Resolution, the family lawyers’ association, said: “The stealthy implementation of the hike in divorce fees, from £410 to £550 (after an increase only two years ago) is scandalous and not backed up by proper impact assessment.
“As a result of the steep increase, many people currently in the process of separating will have received incorrect information as to the charge for lodging a divorce petition and, in reality, won’t have time to get their petition in before the fee increase takes effect.”
The actual cost of the administrative process has been shown to be £270, meaning that at new rates the Ministry of Justice is making a profit of more than 100% – in effect, levying a divorce tax.