Maine Court Fee Waivers
- What is an Application to Proceed Without Payment of Fees?
- What fees can be waived?
- Who is eligible for a fee waiver?
- How do I apply?
- How do I fill out the forms?
- What do I do with my completed forms?
- What if my fee waiver is denied?
The Courts in Maine don't want to stop you from going to court just because you cannot afford to pay the court fees. So you can ask the Court to waive their fees. You do this by filing two extra forms with the Court when you file your court papers.
NOTE: If you are charged with a crime, or if you are involved with a child protection case (brought by DHHS), you may be able to get a free lawyer. See the court clerk about how to apply.
In civil cases heard by a judge, there are four common types of fees which can be waived through this process. The filing fee is the amount of money you must pay the clerk to file your case. The amount varies by type of case and type of court. For example, most cases in Superior Court require a $120 fee, yet a divorce case in District Court requires a $60 fee. A service fee is the amount you pay to the sheriff to serve the papers on the opposing party. If you are filing a family law case which involves children, you will probably be charged a mediation fee of $160 (or $80 per party). An appeal fee is the amount of money you pay to appeal your case to a higher court. All these fees can be waived.
If you cannot afford these fees, you may be eligible for a fee waiver. The judge will review your two forms and then decide whether your income is too low to pay the fees and still pay for your basic needs.
If your only income is TANF, General Assistance, or SSI,, the Court should presume that you cannot pay fees. You should get a waiver. Contact Pine Tree Legal if you are denied.
The rule says that "There shall be a presumption that a moving party is without sufficient funds if the moving party's affidavit states that the person's income is derived from poverty-based public assistance programs. If the court denies the application, the action shall be dismissed without prejudice, unless within seven days after the denial the plaintiff pays the fee to the clerk."
Get the forms from the clerk of your local District or Superior Court, or print the forms from our Court Forms for Fee Waivers page.
Form #1: Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
Read the form carefully as you fill it out. When you sign it, you are agreeing to its terms.
Complete the beginning section (called "the caption") as it appears on your court Complaint form.
Check the boxes for whichever fees you want waived. If you are not sure whether you will need all of them waived, check them all.
Date and sign the form. Then print your name, address, and telephone number (if you have one) in the blanks provided.
Leave the bottom part of the page blank below the word "ORDER." The judge will complete this.
Form #2: Indigency Affidavit
Read and complete the form carefully. When you sign it, you are swearing to it's truth.
Fill in the district, location and docket number (if you have one) of your court case.
Fill in your name, date of birth, age, phone number and mailing address.
Check the box marked waiver of fees and charges in the following civil case. Then fill in the name of your court case (for example, "Jane Brown v. John Brown").
Check your marital status. Use separated if you are still legally married but living away from your spouse.
Fill out the line about your education level.
For the line about who you live with, check all the boxes that apply to you. For example, if you live with your parents and your children, check both boxes.
List the names and ages of your dependents - people who live with you who depend on you for their support (for example, your children or elderly parents). State how each person is related to you.
2. Cash Assets
List cash on hand, checking accounts, savings accounts, stocks, savings bonds, and all other types of accounts with money that is available to you. If you do not have an asset listed on the form, do not leave it blank; fill in "0" . If your name is on the account with someone else, write "joint" next to the amount in the account.
List a total of all your cash assets.
Fill in the blanks under Employment . If you are not currently working, put "I do not have a job," then answer the other questions.
If you are paid for any other work not covered in the Employment section, list it in Number 2. This includes income from babysitting, self-employment, etc.
List all your monthly or weekly income in the next section. Do not include the value of food stamps or rent subsidies.
If you are married, list your spouse's name, address and income information in the next section. You must also fill this out if you and a roommate share expenses or if you are under 18 (to include your parent). At part 4.g, write "No" if none of this person's income is available to you.
Complete Numbers 5 and 6.
4. Other Assets
Fill in this section for the specified assets. Be sure to note whether the property is jointly owned. Also note whether you owe money on these assets and how much.
If you are not sure of the amounts, write down your best estimate.
Complete the section on monthly expenses. Be sure to list all of your expenses. If you spend all of your income each month, or you are constantly in debt, then your total expenses are at least as much, or more than, your income. Your affidavit should reflect that.
Be sure to include the cost of personal and household supplies, as well as the cost of school lunches on Line 1.a.
On Line 1.d., list all other regular expenses, including expenses you have because you work or go to school (for example, child care, transportation, tools, and uniforms).
Do not include the amount of money you pay each month for loan payments in Number 1. These go on Line 2.
If you pay alimony, child support or medical expenses for another person, include these on Line 3. Include any amounts you pay for medical insurance.
Line 4 is where you can list unusual expenses. For example, you may need car repairs or dental work, or you may owe money such as past due rent. If your only income is TANF, SSI, or General Assistance, write that in this space. You should get a fee waiver.
You will be asked to give your Social Security number on a separate, confidential form. If you haven't already filled out a Social Security Number Confidential Disclosure Form (#CV-CR-FM-200), you can get one here. File this with the other two forms.
Finally, you must sign the form in front of a notary public, lawyer, judge or court clerk. When you do that, you are swearing to its truth. (Leave the section at the bottom of the page blank; the Court will fill this out.)
After you have filled out these forms, bring them back to the court clerk along with your other court forms. The clerk will ask a judge to review them. You may or may not have to see the judge. The clerk will tell you what the judge decided.
If the Court denies your request, even though you cannot pay the fees, contact your nearest Pine Tree Legal Assistance office or the Volunteer Lawyers Project right away. You have only 7 days to figure out what to do. After that, your court case will be dismissed. Remember that if your only income is TANF, general assistance, or SSI, and you are going to court in "good faith," you have the right to a fee waiver.
Updated June 2005