Waiving Court Fees or Filing Fees

Authored By: Florida Justice Technology Center


What are court fees?

An amount of money that you must pay when filing a case with the court.  Many courts have their fees listed on their website. The fee depends on what you are asking the court to do so if you need a divorce your fee may be different than someone who is in court for a child custody issue. 

What if I cannot afford to pay the court fees and costs? 

You can ask the court if you can file your case without paying court fees by filling out an Application For Determination Of Civil Indigent Status. You will still need to pay a $25 administrative fee and you may be enrolled in a payment plan with the Clerk.  You can get the form here or you can get one from the Clerk of the Court.  

When can I file my Application For Determination Of Civil Indigent Status? 

You can submit your application to waive court fees at the very beginning of your case, when you file your paperwork.  The application needs to be filed with the Clerk of the Court. 

What information do I need to provide in the Application for Determination of Civil Indigent Status?

  • Number of dependents and whether you are married
  • Net income - the amount you are paid in salary, tips, overtime, etc. minus deductions required by law like court ordered-child  support payments.
  • Other income like social security benefits, union funds, veterans’ benefits, workers’ compensation, other regular support from family members, pensions, reemployment assistance or unemployment compensation, dividends, interest, rent, trusts, and gifts.
  • Assets such as cash, savings accounts, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, equity in real estate, and equity in a boat or a motor vehicle or in other tangible property.
  • All liabilities and debts - how much you owe on things like cars, your home, child support, credit card bills and medical bills.

How does the court decide whether to approve my application? 

You need to show the court that you cannot afford to pay the court fees because you do not have a job or do not make much money, and have expenses and debts that you have to pay to support yourself and your family. 

Do I need to apply for a fee waiver every time I file something in court? 

No. Once the court approves your fee waiver application, you do not need to turn in another application each time you file court papers in the same case. If you are involved in a different case, with a different case number, you will need to file a new application for the other case. 

Updated: May 9, 2017 

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