Deciding to pursue a divorce is a costly decision on more than one front. Because of the costs associated with applying for a divorce, many people find themselves in an impossible situation. They can’t afford to stay, but they can’t afford the fees required for a divorce either. So what can you do?
The Family Law Act of 1974 and its Family Law (Fees) Regulation of 2012 help people like this avoid becoming stuck in an unhappy marriage by providing options for court cost reductions and exemptions. However, in order to qualify for these exemptions, you must meet certain guidelines.
If you fail to meet these guidelines, don’t give up. You may be eligible for another option. Under its “financial hardship clause,” if you can prove that you’re financially unable to pay certain fees, the court may reduce your costs.
Testing Your Income for Fee Reduction
When attempting to prove your financial limitations, the court requires that you provide evidence of your hardship. A good way for the court to assess your limitations is with the following tests:
This test is meant to determine whether your normal income is enough to pay for the full amount of all court fees. In determining your gross income, the test relies on all aspects of your financial portfolio including:
- Income (wages, salary, self-employment income)
- Commercial income (supplementary income such as rent income, freelance income, etc.)
- Monetary employee benefits
- Pensions or veteran benefits
- Paid leaves (maternal, paternal, health related, etc.)
- Lump sum payments (lottery, termination benefits, leave of absence pay, etc.)
In order to qualify for financial hardship reduction, you must be able to prove to the courts that your liquid assets do not exceed five times the payable fee amount. For instance, if your daily hearing fee is $895, then the monetary value of your liquid assets can’t be more than $4,475. Liquid assets include:
- Cash on hand (savings accounts, checking accounts, etc.)
- Convertible shareholdings
- Bank notes
- Traveller’s cheques
When applying for financial hardship fee reduction, you must be able to prove that your daily expenditures balance or exceed your income. If the court discovers that you have a surplus income after meeting your reasonable day-to-day living expenses, a reduction will be denied. Daily expenditures that are taken into account include necessities such as:
- Rent or home mortgage payments
- Credit card debts
- Other loan or lease repayments
- Phone bills
- Motorcar maintenance or transportation costs
Verifying Your Calculations
Don’t allow miscalculations or confusion to keep you from getting the reductions you need for your divorce fees. Ensure every decimal is accounted for by contacting us today. Please, give us a ring at (08) 9214 3887to get the help you need. We’ll not only help make sure all of your reduction options are accounted for, but we’ll also fight to make sure your divorce runs smoothly. Why wait any longer? Get the help you need now to secure your future.