Legal challenge to Australian so-called divorce tax

11th August 2015 by

In international divorce news, a legal challenge has been brought forward by the Australian Labor party following an increase in court fees which was enacted on 12 July and saw those applying for divorce on 13 July having to pay 42% more than if they had made their application the day before.

However, the senate in Australia had originally disallowed a similar regulation before breaking for its winter recess and Labor, along with the Green party, say that the increase is invalid as Australian legislation holds that a government is not able to re-introduce a regulation within six months once any similar law has been barred.

Dubbed a “divorce tax”, the fee increased from $845 AUS to $1,200 AUS overnight and some applicants say they were unaware the change was coming into force.

One Canberra-based divorce applicant told the Guardian, “I got a rude shock. I was furious.”

Lawyers for the Labor party said, “The legal issue is whether the regulations now in force are, in substance, the same as those knocked back by the Senate. We say they are. And if they are, they are not valid and the government will have to go back and do things properly, including not bypassing the Senate.”

However, the government has stated its commitment to ensuring vulnerable litigants are not left at a disadvantage as a result of the divorce fee increase and say that “a reduced fee” will remain in place for certain divorce applicants where appropriate.
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