How To Prepare Divorce Fee Waiver In California

How To Prepare Divorce Fee Waiver In California

Good morning! This is Tim Blankenship with

And today we’re talking about how to fill out a fee waiver when going through divorce in California.

The fee waiver request form is an FW-001. This is going to be the main form. This is going to be your request form to fill out when you’re trying to get a fee waiver.

Now, it’s pretty self-explanatory but there are some parts of this that I wanted to address.

Number 1, 2 and 3 on this form simply is your information, your job if you have one, if you have a lawyer and what core cost are you asking to be waived. So, I’m talking about number 4, what you’re going to mark, if you’re going through divorce in California, you’re going to mark the first box: Superior Court, fees, that’s under box 4. Number 5, is why you’re asking the court to waive your fees.

So, there’s a couple of things here. The first box, is a box that says ‘I receive:’, and it’s talking about medical, food stamps, SSI, SSP, county relief, if you’re in cal-works or receiving welfare, things of that nature.

Generally speaking, if any of those items qualify on number 5A, you’ll qualify for fee waiver and you won’t even have to see the judge for permission. This is something where the court clerk, at least in my experience, has been able to approve those, right there at the window.

Now, the other option is item 5B and it says ‘My Gross Monthly Household Income is less than the amount listed below:’, and what it does is it gives you 6 scenarios of members of your family size from 1 to 6 and lets you know if your income is below those certain amounts that you automatically qualify for a fee waiver in those circumstances as well.

Now, what about if you don’t qualify under 5A which is, let’s say the food stamps, the welfare, very low income, or 5B where you don’t fall into the income levels there, and many of my clients have that happened.

For instance, if you’re a single person and you’re trying to ask for a fee waiver, you can’t make any more than $1,163.55, that’s a very, very low income to qualify for.

So, what you’re going to do, let’s say you have a lot of bills, you’re unable to meet your bills and you just flat out don’t have the money to pay the filing fee, you can attempt to mark box C, this will be 5C, it essentially says ‘I do not have enough income to pay for my household basic needs and the court fees.’.

Now, when you do this, what you’re going to have to do is fill out page 2. Page 2 is essentially a miniaturized version of an income and expense declaration. You’re going to list your income, your bills, how many people lives with you, what’s the total household income, your property, assets, debts, and so forth – monthly expenses, food clothing – and then you’re going to come down to the bottom, it’s going to have total monthly expenses, and that’s going to be compared to your actual income and household income and the judge will make a determination based on how you prepare this declaration, if you qualify for a fee waiver based on the fact of saying ‘I don’t have enough money to pay for court fees.’ Essentially ‘I have no more money. I live beyond my means.’ is essentially what you’re going to be saying.

So, that’s the third option in requesting a fee waiver. I never hurts to attempt type to get a fee waiver. You will save $400+ on the fee waiver. One other thing I want to mention, the other form you’re going to need to fill out besides the FW-001 is the FW-003. What this is is this is the actual order on court fee waiver.

So, even though its order, you’re still going to fill it out, you’re going to put in your name, your information, and you’re going to mark a box because it says it was granted. You don’t want to go in there with a box marked not granted so you only want to go in there and say the court grants you, you’re just going to mark this box, basically what you’re doing is you’re preparing this for the judge, and all they have to do is sign it, mark that the fee waiver was approved on page 1 and the rest of this is for the court to fill out.

But just make sure you fill out all the caption information, the court information here.

So if you have any questions, you give me the call.

There is a, when you go to, say, Google when you just say, fill-able request to waive court fees, that is something that there will be an information sheet on, it will walk you through it, it’s pretty self-explanatory.

If you need assistance, give me a call, Would be happy to help. My number is 661-281-0266 and I did want to mention one other thing.  You’ll notice on the request to order court fees, that if you, say you simply marked ‘unemployed’ and you have no income and you marked box B which says ‘My income is below a certain amount’, technically, pro the paper, you don’t have to fill out anything else on the financial sheet but I just sent two folks down to court to get a fee waiver, and despite the fact that they had marked box B and said that they did not have to complete page 2, the clerk still had them complete page 2, put down that they’re making no income and they did have some debts to put that down, and actually had them also write, you know, hey give me a reason why you have no income, no job and no debt. They want a brief explanation.

In both these cases, it was, “Hey I’m living with my family members, and they’re helping supporting me.” Whatever your case is, if the court, they’re not just going to let you say unemployed, no income. They’re going to want to ask “How are you supporting yourself?” “Are there people helping you?” and things of that nature.

So, that’s how to complete a fee waiver form for a California divorce. This would be for all courts in California, all divorce courts, that is.

My name is Tim Blankenship with We specialize in divorce and you can reach me at 661-281-0266.

Thanks for reading!