When you get right down to the nitty-gritty of divorce, you’ll find that the price of marital freedom may be more than you can afford, especially if your marriage has already put you in debt. The copious fees and bills can and do quickly add up. Although the initial cost of a divorce may be less than $1,000, these added costs could wind up setting you back 10 times that.
Fortunately, depending on your circumstance, you may be eligible for an exemption or reduction of your Family Court divorce costs.
Eligibility for Reduction of Divorce Fees
The Family Court Regulation (WA) 1998 not only regulates family court fees but also provides for reduction of certain fees on a case-by-case basis. Although divorce and annulment application fees are reducible only, if eligible, an application can be made to exempt yourself from a variety of other costs such as hearing fees, application fees, and conciliation conference fees. However, before you waste your time applying, make sure you satisfy one or more of the following requirements.
- You’re under the age of 18
- You’re receiving youth allowance, Austudy, or ABSTUDY payments
- You are an active cardholder any of the following institutions issued by the Department of Families, Housing, or Community Services and Indigenous Affairs:
- Health care card
- Pensioner concession card
- Commonwealth seniors health card
- Any other card that certifies your entitlement to Commonwealth health concessions
- You have been granted Legal Aid
- You’re an inmate of a prison or otherwise legally detained in a public institution
Keep in mind that if you don’t qualify under these guidelines, you may still be eligible for reduction under the “financial hardship” guidelines.
Important Points to Remember
- You must file a separate application for every fee you wish to have reduced.
- Exemptions and reductions are only valid for court fees. They do not include application fees, copying fees, transcription fees, or lawyer fees.
- Under the Criminal Code, any person who knowingly falsifies or makes an untrue representation or statement to obtain a benefit from the State is guilty of an offence and, if found guilty, can be fined or imprisoned.
- If there is more than one applicant to an application, all applicants must meet the requirements for an exemption or reduction, or the full fee applies.
- When you apply for a fee exemption, the Court will ask you to provide evidence to support your claims with respect to income, assets, and your living expenses and liabilities
An experienced lawyer such as Wayne Dawkins can help you seamlessly file all necessary applications to prevent confusion or missed cost reduction opportunities.