Navigating the new potential changes to Family Law in 2024

Jan 6, 2024 | General, Family Law

A number of potential UK government legislation amendments and consultations in 2024 may have a far-reaching impact on the family law sector, which will in-turn, have a personal impact on those dealing with a family law matter.

Family Court Fees Looking To Rise

In December 2023, the UK government completed a consultation which is looking to implement increases to court and tribunal fees by up to 10% in 2024.

The Ministry of Justice has stated that court fees are a significant part of the overall HMCTS funding model, the remaining being funded by the taxpayer which includes costs for schemes like Help with Fees. This increase in revenue generated by the rising cost of court fees will help ensure that they remain sufficiently resourced to allow access to the courts for people who seek justice with limited financial means.

The UK government is looking to generate an extra £42 million per year with the expected 10% increase. The main objectives for this increase in fees are toe keep pace with rising costs, subsidise costs of free services, reduce the overall cost to the taxpayer, and improve the general service given.

Court fees including those from the family court generated £727 million of the total £2.3 billion is costs to run HMCTS in 2022/23 with the rest funded by the taxpayer.

Key 2024 family court fee increases include:

  • Application for a divorce, or civil partnership dissolution – fees will rise from £593 to £652
  • Application for a parental order – fees will rise from £232 to £255
  • Application/permission to apply for adoption – fees will rise from £183 to £201
  • Application for a financial order (other than consent order) – fees will rise from £275 to £303.


Resolving family matters out of court

 Family law in 2024 will continue to see a rise in encouraging parties to seek a resolution for their family matters outside of the court system with plans to protect children under new mediation forms.

This move will aim to protect children from the damaging impact of bitter courtroom battles. Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Dominic Raab MP said:

“When parents drag out their separation through lengthy and combative courtroom battles it impacts on their children’s school work, mental health and quality of life.”

“Our plans will divert thousands of time-consuming family disputes away from the courts – to protect children and ensure the most urgent cases involving domestic abuse survivors are heard by a court as quickly as possible.”

As a result, we could see mandatory mediation for all suitable family court cases (excluding allegations or a history of domestic abuse). The hope is that this will mean more people can work towards a resolution on their family matter with the support of a qualified mediator rather than placing the decision with the family court.

Potential outline for future financial remedies reform.

A report expected in September 2024 may pave the way for some significant reforms of any future financial remedies legislation.

In 2023 the Law Commission of England and Wales launched an extensive review of financial remedy orders. This comprehensive review investigated how finances are divided among couples post-divorce or civil partnership dissolution, currently governed by the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and Civil Partnership Act 2004.

The aim of the review is to evaluate current laws on how effective they are at ensuring fairness for divorcing couples, also covering wider powers for orders involving children above the age of 18, financial payment structures post-divorce, assess pension-related orders, ad to analyse discretionary power of judges.

Financial Remedies Court Reporting Pilot

A new pilot scheme is set to start on the January 29th which will allow accredited journalists and bloggers to report on financial remedies proceedings. This will include any family financial issues including divorce, civil partnership dissolution and child support cases.

This pilot report will run for 12months in three FRC courts including the Central Family Court, Birmingham and Leeds.

This is the latest announcement following Sir Andrew McFarlane’s “Transparency in the Family Court” review, which was published in 2021, and committed to achieving better and purposeful transparency in the family court, to increase understanding and scrutiny of the system.

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