How to File for Hardship for Divorce Fees in Massachusetts

by Beverly Bird
    You can file an affidavit of indigency if you can't afford court fees.

    You can file an affidavit of indigency if you can't afford court fees.

    Chad Baker/Jason Reed/Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

    Financing a divorce can be difficult when you're broke, or if your spouse is holding all the financial cards. Most states, including Massachusetts, are willing to help you out with the filling fee. You must meet some requirements and file some paperwork, but if you qualify, you won't have to pay court fees.

    Income Requirements

    You can qualify for a fee waiver in Massachusetts in three ways -- you're receiving public assistance, your income is 125 percent or less of the federal poverty level, or paying the fees would prevent you from also paying for certain living necessities, such as groceries, rent or mortgage.

    How to File

    Go to the courthouse where you intend to file for divorce. This will likely be the probate court in the county where you and your spouse last lived together, if one of you still lives in the county. Otherwise, use the county court where either you or your spouse currently live. Ask for and complete an affidavit of indigency. For those who are seeking help due to inability to pay living expenses, you also may complete and submit a supplement to the affidavit of indigency form. You can file the affidavit simultaneously with your divorce paperwork. If your request for a fee waiver is approved, the paperwork will be stamped as of the date you filed it.

    Other Options

    A fee waiver doesn't cover all of the legal fees incurred in a divorce case. You may call legal services in your county, or consult with a lawyer to see if he'll take your case and petition the court to make your spouse pay your other legal fees.

    About the Author

    Beverly Bird has been writing professionally since 1983. She is the author of several novels including the bestselling "Comes the Rain" and "With Every Breath." Bird also has extensive experience as a paralegal, primarily in the areas of divorce and family law, bankruptcy and estate law. She covers many legal topics in her articles.

    Photo Credits

    • Chad Baker/Jason Reed/Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images