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Family Court Fees

Here you will find a complete list of fees so that you can see at a glance how much you should send to the Court as well as whether or not you would be exempt from paying fees or eligible for legal aid.

On presenting any first petition


On presenting a second or subsequent petition with leave granted under rule 2.6(4)


On amending a petition


On filing an answer to a petition or cross-petition


Filing an application for an order without notice or by consent (including an application to make a decree nisi absolute), except where listed separately


Filing an application on notice, except where listed separately


Filing an application on notice for ancillary relief or on filing a notice of intention to proceed with an application for ancillary relief, other than an order by consent


Exemption from Court Fees:

As shown in divorce proceedings, the petitioner will have to pay at least £300 in Court fees, £300 when they file the petition and £40 when they apply for decree absolute. However, some people do not have to pay a court fee (exemption) and others may be eligible for a smaller fee (remission).

 You will be exempt from paying a fee if:

You receive income support.
You receive Pension Credit guarantee credit.
You receive Income Job Seekers Allowance.
Your gross annual income (income before income tax and other deductions) is £14,213 or less, and you receive:
Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit; or
Working Tax Credit which has a ‘disability element’ or ‘severe disability element’.
You are receiving ‘Legal Help’ from the Community Legal Service Scheme and are involved in a ‘family case’.

If you would like to apply for an exemption then make an application using formEX160. If you are exempt you will find that you answer “yes” to one of the questions 2f, 2g or 2h.

The Court will then deal with your application and decide if you are entitled to an ‘exemption’ or not. The Court may ask you to pay the whole fee, but may also suggest that you apply for ‘remission’. You should hear from the Court with their decision within 5 days.

An application for remission is again made on form EX160 and is an application that you only have to pay part of the Court fee as to pay it all would cause financial hardship.  You will also have to give details of your savings, income and payments. The Court will then deal with your application as before.

Court fees pay part of the cost of running the courts. But that cost must be paid with public money if court fees are not paid because of remission. And if public money may be used, the courts must be certain that it's use is necessary. So a court will ask to see evidence before allowing exemption or remission of a fee, failure to provide this may result in delays. The kind of evidence the Court will want to see is:

A current order book from the Department of Work and Pensions; or
An award notice from the inland revenue

The evidence the Court will want to see will depend on the answers you give on the Form EX160 and can be best summarised as follows:

Evidence 1:

If you answer 'Yes' to questions 2f or 2g, but 'No' to question 2i, the evidence must show that 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 above apply to you. Or that 1 or 2 above applies to your partner. 
The evidence must show:

the type of benefit or entitlement, and 
the name of the person who receives it, and 
the amount that is paid, and 
the date when it was paid last. This date should be within the last month.

The evidence may be a current benefit book from the Department of Work and Pensions, or an award notice from HM Revenue & Customs. If you would like to provide other evidence, please contact the court.

Evidence 2:

If you answer 'Yes' to questions 2f or 2g, and 'Yes' to question 2i, the evidence must be:

the evidence that the court needs for 'Evidence 1' (above), and 
a letter from your solicitor which confirms that there is a Conditional Fee Agreement (“No Win No Fee” Agreement) between you and your solicitor but that it does not cover your 'disbursements' (your solicitor will explain 'disbursements'). The court may also contact your solicitor.

Evidence 3:

If you answer 'Yes' to question 2h, the evidence must be a letter from your solicitor that confirms that you receive Legal Help under the Legal Aid scheme. The court may also contact your solicitor.

Evidence 4:

If you answer 'No' to questions 2f, 2g and 2h, you will go to question 3 on page 2 of the form and answer all the questions on page 2. Please remember that the court will ask to see evidence for your answers - for instance, the court may ask to see bank statements.

There is nothing to stop you from re-applying for either exemption or remission if your circumstances change. If your application is rejected and you disagree with this decision then you may also appeal. An appeal should be in writing, stating clearly why you disagree with the court’s decision and should, if possible, be supported by further evidence. The court office must receive the letter of appealwithin 14 days since you received notification of the courts original decision. Appeals should be dealt with within 10 days.

Please note that you will have to complete a separate form EX160 for each Court fee. Therefore in the course of a normal divorce the petition should complete at least two. The form EX160 should be filed at the Court at the same time as the papers you want the Court to consider e.g. the divorce petition or application for decree absolute.

If you have paid a Court fee without applying for exemption or remission then you may be entitled to a refund. Again, complete Form EX160 as before and supply supporting evidence, but ensure that the Court receives the form within 6 months of the date when you paid the fee.

Can I get legal aid?

It may be the case that because of your financial circumstances or because you are in receipt of certain benefits you are eligible for Legal Aid (or as it is now known Public Funding). If you are it means your legal fees can be paid out of a government fund and so rather than having to do it yourself you can get a solicitor to act on your behalf.

Community Legal Service Direct have developed a Legal Aid Calculator to see if you are eligible for legal aid. It is simple to use and asks a series of questions about your legal problem and financial situation and although the calculator's results do not guarantee that you will receive CLS-funded help it gives a good indication. To get the most accurate results you may need to have certain personal documents to hand.

There are different types of legal aid available but for a divorce you should only require Legal Help and this is the option you should select on the calculator. Click here to begin: