Costs can pile up in a divorce. Persons often forget that even if you do not hire an attorney to help with the divorce process, the court charges fees to initiate the case, as well as at various stages of the proceedings. However, Connecticut recognizes the harm that would result if low-income couples were forced to remain married because they were unable to afford a divorce. In these instances, the court offers fee waivers that may cover all or part of your divorce court fees.
Connecticut generally requires you to pay a fee when you file for divorce. If you cannot afford the fee, you may request that the court waive some or all of the fee requirements as well as other courts costs. You can make this request by submitting an application for waiver of fees, which the court clerk may supply. The form requires you to provide basic information about yourself, and supply details regarding your income and expenses. The application is considered a sworn statement, and must be either signed in front of the clerk or in the presence of a subscribing notary or attorney.
If you are currently receiving or qualify for public assistance, you will most likely be deemed eligible for a fee waiver in Connecticut. Public assistance includes food stamps, welfare, and Social Security benefits. If your income is too high to qualify, a judge may still grant your request if you have substantial expenses. An example might be if you are supporting several children from a prior marriage.
If the judge approves your request, your case can move forward. If you have not already initiated the divorce, you may obtain a complaint form and file it with the court clerk. The complaint asks you to state the reason, known as the grounds, for the divorce and include information about your property and children. As the case progresses, your fee waiver may allow you to avoid other fees, such as fees for serving paperwork on your spouse, fees for obtaining certified copies of court documents, parenting classes or mediation costs, and transcript or recording service fees.
If a judge denies your request for a fee waiver, this means that you are deemed capable of paying and your case will not move forward until you submit the filing fee. However, Connecticut gives you the right to request a court hearing to review your application denial. This will give you the opportunity to present your case in greater detail, and have a more thorough examination of your income and expenses.