Divorce Tax

by Peter Magee on October 10, 2013

Peter Magee

It was recently reported that Russia is considering increasing a tax on divorce from 400 roubles to 300,000 roubles (AU$13 to AU$1,000)

In her article, “Russians consider boosting divorce tax, citing moral and demographic decline” (Forbes Magazine 24.9.2013) Kelly Phillips indicates the reason for increasing the tax is to raise revenue and discourage divorce. This is ironic considering Vladimir Putin, Russia’s President, announced his divorce in June this year.

Whilst the filing fee for a divorce in Australia is a considerable $800, it is not a tax, but an important source of revenue for the Family Law system. Although similar in quantity to Russia’s $1,000 tax, Australia’s fee is not nearly as financially restrictive, relative to average income. In Russia, the Divorce tax represents more than the average monthly salary. The filing fee for a Divorce in Australia is therefore less likely to act as a disincentive.

The Australian legal system has long accepted the unfortunate reality that divorce is a necessity in many lives, and should be permitted without moral judgement. This was reflected in the drafting of the Family Law Act 1975, which indicated that to obtain a divorce, a party need not show any blame or fault, but need only demonstrate that the husband and wife have been separated for 12 months.

Simultaneously, Australian law makers have recognised that parties often require support and assistance in their marriage. However, instead of imposing a divorce tax to discourage divorce, this support of the institution of marriage has been addressed by a number of other measures, including:

  • Ensuring that if parties apply for a divorce less than two years after they were married, that they undergo counselling beforehand; and
  • The institution of Family Relationship Centres to offer free, or means-tested counselling for couples and families.

If you have any further queries in relation to applying for a Divorce in Australia please contact one of our experienced family lawyers.

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