How to Get an Indigent Divorce Though the Clerk of Courts

By Timothy Mucciante

Every court has filing fees that must be paid at the initiation or filing of any action, including a divorce action. In addition to the actual filing fees, there may be fees for such items as a jury demand or interim support or custody motions. These fees can be substantial, and most states have provisions for waiving some or all of these fees for persons determined to be indigent.

Step 1

Contact the clerk’s office where you plan to file the divorce action and obtain the necessary indigent fee application. Many court clerk offices also have this information online. Some states have state-wide criteria for waiving fees for the indigent, together with a form that is used by all the courts in that state. These forms should also be available online, along with general information about the application process.

Step 2

Gather all the information that documents your income. Many states have very broad definitions of income and include salary or wages, Social Security income, worker's compensation benefits, pension and retirement benefits, interest income, financial support from family or friends, and any other income from any source. Salary or wage income is generally considered to be net income --- the amount of compensation left after deducting taxes and any garnishments.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Step 3

Collect information on all your assets. Assets include cash, savings accounts, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, equity in real estate, and equity in a motor vehicle or other tangible property. The amount of your assets will be pivotal in the clerk’s determination and you will most likely be signing the indigent application under oath so it is very important to be accurate.

Step 4

Get all information on your debts together. Debts include car loans, student loans, mortgages, credit cards, past due utility bills and garnishments. Make sure that you have the due dates and amounts for payments on these obligations. This financial disclosure can be extremely important to the court clerk in determining eligibility for waving fees based on being indigent so make sure they are as detailed as possible.

Step 5

Complete the required indigent fee form thoroughly, making sure to respond to every question or request for information. Make sure that you have all the relevant documents that prove your income, liabilities and assets. If requested, attach copies of these documents to the indigent application. Do not send the original documents.

Step 6

Wait for the clerk’s office to make a decision. If the clerk makes a determination that you are not indigent and therefore can pay the filing fee, the clerk's office will notify you. If you disagree with the clerk's decision, you may then ask for a review of that decision by a judge. If the clerk determines that you are indigent, your petition or complaint for divorce will be accepted and filed by the clerk of the court.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How to File for Divorce With No Money

References

Resources

Related articles

How to Get Approved for the Affidavit of Poverty & Divorce

American courts won’t force you to remain married if you don’t want to, even if you can’t afford your state’s filing fees for divorce and other associated expenses. However, judges usually won’t take your word that you can’t afford these costs. You’ll need documentary proof and a compelling case.

How Much Does it Cost to File Divorce Papers?

Fees and other costs are inevitably part of divorce. The fees vary by each state and county court; in addition, legal fees charged by attorneys for assistance with the filing vary widely. If the divorce is contested, or if you have to negotiate terms, the time and money it takes to complete the process will increase.

Is There a Law in Washington State About No Overtime for Child Support?

When the court determines the income a parent receives for child support purposes, it typically must consider all possible sources of income, including overtime pay. However, under certain circumstances, it might exclude overtime from the standard child support calculation.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How to Incorporate as a 501(c)(6)

Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code provides a federal tax exemption for business leagues, chambers of ...

Are Bank Records Checked in Bankruptcy?

When you file for bankruptcy, the bankruptcy court will want to get an idea of your overall financial standing and ...

How to Amend Chapter 7 After it Has Been Filed

Filing for bankruptcy requires you to honestly state information regarding your financial situation, including your ...

How to Get a Divorce If I Don't Have the Filing Fee

Being unable to file your divorce because you can't pay the filing fee is frustrating, but there is help available. ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED