Statement of Inability to Pay Court Costs and Fees (interactive form)


By: Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA)

Use this form to ask the judge to allow you to file your paperwork without paying the fees.
Resource Information

Before You Start

In Montana, the courts charge fees when you file certain documents. The fees help pay for courthouse services. If you can't afford to pay the filing fee for your document, you can ask the judge to allow you to file your paperwork without having to pay the fee by using the Statement of Inability to Pay Court Costs and Fees. The interactive program will fill in the form based on the answers you give in an online interview. When you’re done, you’ll need to download, print, and sign the form. You must file the form with the clerk of court’s office where the lawsuit you are a part of is filed. 

If the judge approves your fee waiver, it will be kept in your file. Sometimes a clerk may not see the fee waiver and may charge you to file your papers. You can remind the clerk of your fee waiver and ask them to check your file.

You can find the link to the interactive Statement of Inability to Pay Court Costs and Fees at the beginning of this page

What You’ll Need to Complete the Interactive Form

The form will take you about 15 to 30 minutes to complete. You can create an account to stop, save, and return to your answers at a later date. 

When completing the form, you’ll be asked to give information about your income and expenses, including: 

  • If you are represented by a volunteer or pro bono attorney, you’ll need to get a statement of your eligibility for free legal services;
  • Whether you get any public benefits, like SNAP, TANF, SSI, Medicaid, WIC, or LIEAP;
  • Your household size and number of dependents;
  • Your income, including from employment, retirement or pension, Worker’s Compensation, Social Security, Unemployment, government benefits, Child Support, rental assistance, and other sources;
  • Your assets, including cash, vehicles, homes and real estate, guns or other collections, and other items worth more than $600; and,
  • Household expenses, including rent or mortgage, insurance, childcare, utilities, etc. 

Helpful tips

  • If you have been served with court papers, it is a good idea to file the Statement of Inability to Pay at least one day before your written Answer is due so that you can give the judge time to decide whether to waive your filing fees. 
  • You can complete this form on your smart phone but you’ll need to print it out before you can file it with the Clerk of Court. At the end of the form, you’ll have the option to save it to a secure website or email it to yourself for later. 
  • If you don’t want to use this interactive form, you can find a fill-in-the-blank form to print out. Or you can go to the clerk of court’s office and ask for the paper form to fill out.
  • This form is not right for everyone. The interview may tell you to talk to a lawyer based on the information you give.

Need More Information?

If you have any questions about your rights or this form, it would be a good idea to read about article on How to Ask the Court to Waive Your Filing Fees.

Need Legal Help?

Montana Legal Services Association provides free civil legal help to eligible clients. Learn more about how to apply for free legal help.

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