Can't Afford The Filing Fee

by Anonymous from Florida

What do I do if I don't have the money to pay the filing fee. I'm filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with no Dependent or Minor Children or Property?


Is there any financial aid I may obtain if I don't have money to file for divorce?

Answer to Florida Court Forms Question

Dear Anonymous,

Like you, we don't know what our law makers were thinking when they set the filing fees so high. I'm not sure whether it was purposeful that it costs only about $90 to get married and over $400 to get divorced.

However, there is a way to file your petition and get on with your life without paying the full filing fee. On the Florida Supreme Court's website, www.flcourts.org, there is a form, Application for Civil Indigent Status. There is no form number and there are no instructions posted on the site. Frankly, I'm amazed its there at all.

The Application for Civil Indigent Status is a one page form that requests your financial information. You will need to enter amounts for your income, assets, and debt.

Most low income, tax supported, or disabled Florida residents qualify for Civil Indigent Status. If you do qualify your filing fees will be waived, and you will only be charged a one time administration fee of $25.00. This application form does not go to a judge, the clerk of court makes the determination as to whether you qualify for civil indigent status.

The determination for civil indigence takes into consideration your dependents and household expenses. It allows you to exempt a vehicle up to $5000 in value; and a home providing it is your homestead. If your income is less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Level you will likely qualify for civil indigent status.

The current Federal Poverty Level for a household of two is slightly over $29,000. For a complete table of the Federal Government Poverty Guidelines, you can find it on the US Department of Health and Human Services website.

The top of the Application for Determination of Civil Indigence Status form states:

Notice to Applicant:
If you qualify for civil indigence you must enroll in the clerk’s office payment plan and pay a one-time administrative fee of $25.00. This fee shall not be charged for Dependency or Chapter 39 Termination of Parental Rights actions.

Notice: We provide these answers to the general public and our website visitors as a means to further their online legal research. These answers are merely suggestions and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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