When submitting an application at either the Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court you are required to pay a compulsory filing fee. The Court fees are set by Federal Government Regulations in accordance with the Family Law (Fees) Regulation 2012.
A list of the different types of fees can be found by clicking on the following link: http://www.federalcircuitcourt.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/fccweb/forms-and-fees/fees-and-costs/fees-fl/family-law-fees
The most common filing fees are payable when making an application orders for either parenting and/or financial orders. A filing fee is also payable when responding to these applications. These fees are payable at the time the relevant documents are filed with the Court and are paid only once throughout the course of the proceedings.
If you are the holder of a Government benefit card issued by the Department of Human Services then you are automatically granted an exemption from the compulsory filing fee. If you are not a holder of a Government benefit card but are otherwise experiencing financial hardship you may apply to the Court for an exemption from the filing fee. You will be required to provide proof of your current financial circumstances demonstrating why you should be exempted from paying the filing fee.
When your matter is listed for a final hearing there are additional fees being the setting down fee and the daily hearing fee. The setting down fee is an administrative fee and is payable as a result of the proceedings being fixed for hearing. The setting down fee covers the first day of the final hearing and is paid by the person who makes the application.
If your matter is scheduled to take longer than one day there is a daily hearing fee payable for each additional day the hearing is scheduled to take. The setting down fee and any applicable daily fee are required to be paid in advance of the hearing date. If the fee is not paid the Court may vacate your hearing date.
Compulsory filing fees are also payable when applying for a divorce. If you are the holder of certain Government concession cards or can demonstrate financial hardship you may be eligible for a reduced filing fee for an application for divorce. There is no exemption from a divorce filing fee. If you and your ex-spouse make a joint application for divorce both parties must be eligible for the reduced fee to obtain the reduction of the filing fee.
Refund of Fees
Government regulations allow refunds of Court filing fees in the Family Court of Federal Circuit Court if you have paid a full fee when you were entitled to an exemption or fee reduction under the regulations at the time the fee was paid. The regulation makes no provision for the refund of a filing fee for an application that is discontinued or withdrawn.
The regulation does not allow for a refund of the setting down fee.
The regulation does allow for the refund of hearing fees where the proceeding is settled or discontinued before the hearing day or the hearing day does not proceed for some other reason.
To apply for a refund of court fees there is a prescribed form that must be completed which is available from the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court website.
If you would like a consultation on your Family Law matter and want to “know where you stand” please contact one of our lawyers at Pearsons Lawyers for your free consultation on 1300 699 688.