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Court Fees & Fee Waivers

This article tells you about court fees and fee waivers. FEE WAIVER FORM INCLUDED.

Texas Fee Waiver Form

Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs or an Appeal Bond

Click the link below an Online Guided version of this form.

Guided Form - Click Here

 

NOTE: Do not use the above form if you have a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. Get the Chapter 7 bankruptcy fee waiver form and additional information here: What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

How much will it cost to file my case?

When you file a court case, you must usually pay a “filing fee.” There may be other court fees depending on your case. For example, you may need to pay for copies or pay to have the other side served with court papers.

Court fees vary by county. Contact the district clerk’s office in the county where you plan to file your court papers to learn the fees for your case.

What if I can’t afford to pay the court fees?

If you don’t have enough money to pay the court fees, you can ask a judge to waive the fees.

Your fees should be waived if you can prove that any of the following are true:

  • You get government benefits because you are poor (for example, food stamps, TANF, Medicaid, SSI or public housing).
  • You are represented by a free lawyer through a legal aid provider.
  • You applied for a lawyer through a legal aid provider, the legal aid provider found you did not have enough money to pay for your court costs, but the legal aid provider could not take your case.
  • You do not have enough money to pay for your household’s basic needs and the court fees.

Read the law here: Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 145

How do I ask the judge to waive my court fees?

Fill out this form:

This form tells the judge you cannot afford to pay the court fees. Fill it out completely in blue or black ink and sign it. Do NOT leave blanks.

You must include complete and accurate information about:

  • any government benefits you get because you are poor;
  • your household income after taxes;
  • the people who depend on you for financial support; and
  • your expenses.

Attachments: If you get government benefits because you are poor, attach proof (such as a copy of an eligibility form or check) to your Statement.

If you want the judge to consider other facts, such as unusual medical expenses or family emergencies, attach a separate page with that information. Write “Exhibit: Additional Supporting Facts” at the top of the page.

Your Address: This form asks for your address. The other side may get a copy of this form. If you are worried about the other side knowing your address, call the Family Violence Legal Line at 1-800-374-4673 for free advice.

Warning! When you sign this form you are stating under penalty of perjury that the information in the form is true and correct. This means that it is a crime to lie on this form.

Turn in your completed Statement at the clerk’s office when you file your other court forms.

What happens after I turn in my Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs?

The clerk will review your Statement. The clerk may use the Federal Poverty Guidelines as a guide. If the clerk does not think you qualify for a fee waiver, the clerk will file a “contest” to ask a judge to decide. The other side could also file a contest.

If no one files a contest, the fees are waived.

If the clerk files a contest will I have to wait to file my case?

No. The clerk must still let you file your case and have the other side served without making you pay. However, if a judge later decides you can pay, you must pay the court fees.

What happens if a contest is filed?

If your Statement is contested, you must return to the courthouse for a hearing. You must bring proof of your income (such as a copy of your paystub) and proof of your expenses to the hearing. You must also bring proof of any government benefits you get.

At the hearing, a judge will review your evidence and listen to your testimony. The judge will then decide if you can afford to pay the court fees.

2018 Federal Poverty Guidelines

2018 Federal Poverty Guidelines

 

Number of people in your household (include yourself)

125% of Poverty Guidelines
Yearly Income

125% of Poverty Guidelines
Monthly Income

125% of Poverty Guidelines
Weekly Income

1

$15,175

$1,265

$292

2

$20,575

$1,715

$396

3

$25,975

$2,165

$500

4

$31,375

$2,615

$603

5

$36,775

$3,065

$707

6

$42,175

$3,515

$811

7

$47,575

$3,965

$915

8

$52,975

$4,415

$1,019

More than 8

Add $5,400
for each additional person.

Add $450
for each additional person.

Add $104
for each additional person.

 

SOURCE: Federal Register, January 18, 2018 www.federalregister.gov

Note: Your income includes any household income you can use. Do not include your spouse’s income if it is not available to you.