Moves by the Coalition to introduce hikes in fees for both the Family and Federal Circuit Court were recently rejected by the Senate amidst claims that they were using “family breakdown as a cash cow.”
The Government has since introduced almost identical reforms through the Governor-General (thus avoiding Senate scrutiny). An appeal from Labour to the Federal Court has recently been adjourned, meaning that the new fee increases will continue being in force for the time being.
Potential family law litigants ought to be concerned by the fee hikes. Increases under the new laws will see Divorce application fees rise from $845 to $1200 in both the Family and Federal Circuit Court (a 42% rise). Although the Circuit Court largely deals with the same matters as the Family Court, its rules and procedures are less formal; this presents a generally quick and cheaper option for family law litigants. The new price hike however, may outweigh the procedural advantages that the Federal Circuit Court offers, and discourage divorce lawyers from submitting applications for their clients altogether.
With no clear indication that the fee hike will be defeated, quality legal representation in family law matters has never been more important. Proper legal assistance will help alleviate emotional and financial stress on litigants by ensuring that optimal settlements are reached as efficiently as possible. Also, if you would like to learn more about the basic costs that need to be paid for a divorce make sure to check out our latest blog.
Rowan Skinner is a highly skilled family lawyer with over 35 years of experience across various legal roles and jurisdictions. Rowan specialises in resolving family law disputes such as divorce, financial settlements, child custody and domestic violence cases. Through his diverse and extensive experience, Rowan has a deep understanding of the complexities and nuances involved in family law. Rowan is a skilled negotiator and litigator who follows a compassionate and client-focused approach which prioritises helping you navigate what can be an emotional and challenging time.