If unable to afford the costs to file an action in family court, a party may request that the court waive fees and costs. The procedure and forms needed to request an initial fee waiver in a family law action are the same as for all other civil actions, unless otherwise provided by a statute or the California Rules of Court.
The forms required to request a fee waiver may be obtained from the clerk of the court, the public law library, or online at the California Courts website.
Rules 3.50-3.56 of the California Rules of Court (title 3, division 2) govern fee waivers in family law cases. Parties may refer to the civil rules for information about:
(1) Applying for a fee waiver (rule 3.51);
(2) Forms for requesting a fee waiver (rule 3.51);
(3) How the court makes an order on a fee waiver application (rule 3.52);
(4) The time required for the court to grant a fee waiver (rule 3.53);
(5) The confidentiality of fee waiver applications and hearings (rule 3.54);
(6) Court fees and costs included in an initial fee waiver (rule 3.55); and
(7) Additional court fees and costs that may be included in the fee waiver (rule 3.56).
Rule 5.41 adopted effective January 1, 2013.
Title 5, Family and Juvenile Rules-Division 1, Family Rules-Chapter 3, Filing Fees and Fee Waivers-Article 2, Special Procedures; adopted January 1, 2013.