January 6, 2006
Texas Attorney General Finds Divorce Filing Fee Increase Unconstitutional
Many states use marriage license fees to fund family violence prevention and intervention programs. The Texas legislature tried to raise funds at the end of marriage as well by increasing the filing fee for divorce actions by $30; however, the Texas Attorney General has held this increase to be an unconstitutional infringement on Texas open courts guarantees.
According to news reports, "The fee was part of sweeping legislation to overhaul the state's child and adult protective services agencies and would have generated an estimated $2.6 million annually. Abbott's ruling does not affect the other provisions of the legislation, Senate Bill 6. The state currently funds child-abuse protection programs through a $15 fee on marriage licenses."
The Attorney General's opinion is available on the web at http://www.oag.state.tx.us/opinions/ga/ga0387.pdf (last visited January 6, 2006 bgf)