As I predicted in my video on the new divorce laws coming into force next week, the President of the High Court's Family Division has issued (just yesterday) guidance on how the courts should approach an application by one party for an order that the other party should pay their costs of proceedings. In fact, the guidance covers not only proceedings for divorce but proceedings for a dissolution of a civil partnership or for separation in marriage and civil partnership where mirror reforms will also come into force on 06 April 2022.
The guidance has a special eye on proceedings that are uncontested and where, because of the legal reforms, the court will no longer be considering the conduct of either party towards the other during their relationship. It makes clear, however, that the conduct of the party being asked to pay the costs of the other party in connection with the actual proceedings, rather than the relationship, may be relevant. This will be particularly so if, for example, the other party has attempted to evade service of court documentation and increased the costs as a result. Raising spurious or unreasonable arguments in proceedings will also be taken into account and could lead to a costs order.
This guidance in no way affects current proceedings or those which are started between now and 06 April 2022. This means, as I have been suggesting, that bringing proceedings under the current laws may well make it more likely that the blameless party will score on costs than under the new laws.
All is explained in my video which you can access by clicking on the video image in one of the posts below.