The court charges fees for some of its services, including filing some court papers. If you have a court case but you can’t afford to pay the court costs and fees, you can ask the court for a fee waiver. If the court gives you a fee waiver, you may not have to pay fees to
You can probably get a fee waiver if
You can ask the court for a fee waiver by filling out a court form and filing it with the court.
It is highly recommended that you get the form at the Judicial Branch website and fill it out using a computer. The form is a fillable PDF and it will do all of the math calculations for you. Make sure to save your work as you go.
You can also print the fee waiver application from the Judicial Branch website or get one at the courthouse and fill it out by hand.
If you have to fill out the form by hand, start with two or more blank copies of the form. You can use the extra copies to practice.
Yes. You can ask someone at the Court Service Center for help.
First, fill out the top of the form:
You must list the
Tip: You can ask the clerk if you need help with the docket number or other information at the top of the form.
You must also list
Fill out the rest of the form:
Important:You must list your monthly income and expenses.
If a question does not apply to you, write “none” or “0.”
If you say “0” for your Total Monthly Income or Expenses, meaning you don’t have any income, use the blank lines at the bottom of page 1 to explain how you are supported. For example, you might say, “I live with my mother and she pays the bills.”
The numbers below are in the same order as the numbers on your application form.
Dependents are who live with you and depend on you for food, clothing, shelter, etc. Usually that means children under age 18, a disabled or stay-at-home spouse, or elderly parents. Do not count yourself.
2. Monthly Income
If your income is not the same every month, write your average monthly income. To do that, take your income for 1 year and divide it by 12. You can find that information on your pay stub.
A. Gross monthly income (before deductions)
List your average monthly income before taxes and other deductions.
B. Net monthly income (after taxes & deductions)
List your average monthly take-home pay (your income after taxes and other deductions).
C. Other income
List the source and average monthly amount of any other income you get. Also list public assistance such as welfare, child support, social security, unemployment, or other public benefits.
Total Monthly Income (B+C)
Add B and C and list that amount in the box. Do not add box A.
3. Monthly Expenses
List the average monthly amount for each expense.
A. Rent or Mortgage
List the average monthly amount.
B. Real Estate Taxes
If you own your home and you did not include your monthly taxes with your mortgage on the line above, list them here.
List the average monthly amount for your electricity, gas, water, etc.
List your average monthly costs for groceries only. Don’t list SNAP (Food Stamp) benefits if you get them.
List the average monthly amount.
List the average monthly amounts for your car, life, home, health, and dental insurance. Exception: Do not include home insurance here if you listed it as part of your mortgage expense above.
G. Healthcare expenses
List your average monthly costs for medical and dental bills for services, equipment, copays, and prescriptions. Do not list insurance costs here.
List your average monthly costs for public transportation, car repairs, gas, oil, etc. Do not list car insurance or car payments.
List your average monthly costs for childcare. Include nursery school, baby-sitters, and afterschool care costs you pay so you can work.
List your average monthly costs for other expenses you have not already listed. This may include children’s activities, school uniforms, books, lunches, diapers, laundry, haircuts, cleaning supplies, toiletries, church donations, toys, movies, etc. Also include any child support or alimony that you pay.
Total Monthly Expenses
Add all expenses (A – J)and list that total amount in the box.
Assets (property) are things you own that you could sell and get cash for.
Estimated Value: How much you think you could get if you sold that item today.
Loan Balance: How much you still owe, such as for a car or furniture that you are still paying for.
Equity: How much money you would have left after selling it and paying off the loan.
Example: If you could sell your car for $3,000 (its estimated value), but you still owe $2,000 (loan balance), the equity would be $1,000.
A. Real Estate
List the Estimated Value, Loan Balance, and Equity for your real estate, motor vehicles, and any other personal property, such as jewelry, furniture, or appliances.
B. Motor Vehicles
C. Other Personal Property
D. Savings Account Balance
Write the total balance of all your savings accounts. If you don't have any, write "0."
E. Checking Account Balance
Write the average monthly balance of all your checking accounts after your bills are paid. If you don't have any, write "0."
List how much cash you have.
G. Other Assets
Describe anything else you own and list its value.
Add all amounts in the Equity column (A – G)and list that total amount in the box.
Type of Debt: List every person or company you owe money to. Also include overdue items such as utility bills, tax bills, personal and student loans, credit cards, store credit cards, and medical bills you have not paid.
Amount owed: List the amount you owe on the date you fill out this application.
Monthly Payment: List your average monthly payment. If you have not made payments, write “0” on this line.
Important! Do not include payments for any item you listed above in Assets.
Add all amounts in the Amount Owed column, and list that total amount in the box.
Add all amounts in the Monthly Payment column, and list that total amount in the box.
Do not write anything on page 2. The court fills out this page.
Check your information on page 1 to make sure what you wrote is correct.
If you also have to fill out a separate Financial Affidavit for your court case, make sure your information is consistent. That’s not easy to do because the Application for Waiver of Fees asks for monthly information, and the Financial Affidavit asks for weekly information. So you will have to make math calculation adjustments to one of the forms.
The courts have different processes. Ask your court clerk these questions:
The court can approve or deny your application.