How do I Request a Waiver of Court Fees?
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If You Cannot Afford to Pay Filing Fees
Requesting That Fees Be Waived
If you are getting public benefits, are a low-income person, or do not have enough income to pay for your household’s basic needs and your court fees, you may ask the court to waive all or part of your court fees. To ask for a fee waiver:
- Carefully read the Information Sheet on Waiver of Superior Court Fees and Costs (form FW-001-INFO ) to determine if you qualify
- Fill out the Request to Waive Court Fees (form FW-001 )
- Fill out sections 1, 2, and 3, of Order on Court Fee Waiver (FW-003 )
- Turn in these forms to the clerk along with the other documents you are filing (example: complaint, petition, answer, etc.)
You may be ordered to go to court to answer questions about your ability to pay court fees and costs and to provide proof of eiligibility.
Granting or Denial of Fee Waiver Request
You will receive an Order on Court Fees Waiver (form FW-003) telling you if your request was granted (approved) or denied. The Order will explain how to proceed. Act quickly - you only have 10 days from the date the Order is mailed to you to comply with the order or exercise your options if your request was denied.
Paying Back Filing Fees
Even if your fees are waived at first, you may have to pay them back later:
- If your finances improve you must tell the court within five days. Fill out the Notice to Court of Improved Financial Situation or Settlement (form FW-010 ) and file it with the court. You may be ordered to repay any amounts that were waived.
- If you receive a judgment or support order in a family law matter you may be ordered to pay all or part of your waived fees and costs if the court determines that you can afford to pay. You can ask the court for a hearing if the court makes such a decision.
- If you win your case in most circumstances the other side will be ordered to pay your waived fees and costs to the court. The court will not enter a satisfaction of judgment until the court is paid.
- If you settle your civil case for $10,000.00 or more any waived fees and costs must first be paid to the court out of the settlement. The court will have a lien on the settlement and may refuse to dismiss the case until the lien is satisfied. A request to dismiss the case must reflect that the waived fees and costs have been paid.
The court can collect fees and costs due to the court. If waived fees and costs are ordered paid to the trial court, the court can start collection proceedings.