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How to Ask the Court to Waive Your Filing Fees

Authored By: Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) LSC Funded
Contents

 

In this article you will find:

  • Information about court filing fees in Montana
  • A form you can use to ask the court to waive the filing fee. 

 

What is a court filing fee?

In Montana, there are fees for filing certain documents. The fees help pay for courthouse services. 

 

What is the court filing fee in Montana? 

Court filing fees in Montana cost $1 to $2,500. The table below has the fees set in 2016.  

 

How do I ask the court to waive the filing fees?

If you can't afford to pay the fee you can ask the judge to allow you to file your paperwork without having to pay the fee. You ask the judge for permission to file your forms without paying a fee by filing a "fee waiver" form. 

After you complete the fee waiver form, you must give the fee waiver to the court clerk where your court case is being handled. The official name for the fee waiver form is a "Statement of Inability to Pay Court Costs and Fees." You can go to the bottom of this article to download a Statement of Inability to Pay Court Costs and Fees that you can give to the court clerk to ask the judge to let you file court paperwork without paying a fee.

After you file the fee waiver form, the judge will review it to decide whether you have to pay the fee. It may take the judge a day or two to make that decision. The court clerk may not let you file your court form until after the judge makes a decision about your fee waiver. So, if there is a deadline for the court document you are filing, be sure to file your fee waiver form at least one day before the deadline for filing your court documents.

 

Montana Filing Fee Schedule

Adoption - Filing Petition

$105

Amendment of Parenting Plan - Contested only (does not apply to cases dealing solely w/child support)

$120

Appeal from District Court to Supreme Court - Postage costs are additional

$5

Appeal from Lower Court - Does not apply to small claims cases

$30

Appearance - For the appearance of each defendant or each respondent

$70

Authentication/Exemplification - For authenticated or exemplified copies for out-of-state jurisdictions

$4

Certification - For certification with a seal 

$2

Civil Commencement of Action - By plaintiff, petitioner or appellant (includes Invalidity)

$120

Conservatorship Commencement of Action - For filing petition

$100

Copy of Decree of Dissolution - For each copy of a decree (separately filed parenting plans or property
settlement agreements not included) (does not include certification)

$10

Copy of Marriage License - For each copy of marriage license (does not include certification) 

$5

Copy of Other Documents (Hard Copy) - $1 per page for first ten pages and $.50 per page thereafter

--

Copy of Other Documents Provided by Fax, Email or other electronic means

$.25/page

Declaration of Marriage - For filing and recording the declaration

$53

Dissolution of Marriage Commencement of Action - For filing Petition (include Summary and Joint
Dissolution)

$200

Email Filings / Fax Filings (Incoming - cost to file a pleading by email or fax)

$.50/page

Execution - For issuance

$5

Foreign Capital Depository Judgment - For filing the judgment

$2,500

Foreign Judgment - For filing authenticated copy and docketing

$90

Foreign Probate - With certificate

$85

Guardianship Commencement of Action - For filing petition 

$100

Intervention Complaint - For filing a complaint in intervention

$80

Judgment - For entry of judgment from prevailing party

$45

Legal Separation Commencement of Action - For filing petition

$180

Marriage License issuance - For issuing, filing and recording marriage

$53

Notarization/Oath and Jurat - For each Notarization with court seal

$1

Order of Sale - For issuance

$5

Probate Commencement of Action - For filing formal/informal or ancillary petition

$100

Searches - $2 per name per year up to 7 years, $1 per name thereafter (no maximum charge limit)

--

Substitution of Judge - For each motion filed (not in criminal cases) 

$100

Transcript/Abstract of Judgment - For preparation of a Transcript of Judgment

$4

Transcript/Abstract of Judgment - For filing a Transcript of Judgment from another jurisdiction

$45

Transmission of Record or Files or Transfer of a Case to Another Court - (Includes removals to Federal District
Court and forwarding appeals to Supreme Court) 

$5

Venue Change - for filing from another District Court (incoming)

$10

Venue Change - and for sending file to another jurisdiction (outgoing)

$5

Writ of Assistance - For issuance

$5

Updated March 2016. Source: https://courts.mt.gov/portals/189/dcourt/docs/feeschedule.pdf

 

Summary

You may need to pay a fee to file a court document. You can ask to not pay the fee by filing a fee waiver form with the clerk of court where your case is being handled. The official name for a fee waiver is a Statement of Inability to Pay Court Costs and Fees. Be sure to file the Statement of Inability to Pay Court Costs and Fees at least one day before your deadline to file your court document, so the judge has time to review it. You can download the Statement of Inability to Pay Court Costs and Fees below.

Download Fee Waiver Form Packet - Statement of Inability to Pay Court Costs and Fees

Last Review and Update: Oct 15, 2018
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