Fee Waiver (IFP)

If you cannot afford to pay court fees and costs, you may be able to have these fees and costs waived. Under the law, the court can waive these fees and costs if certain conditions are met.

Basics on Fee Waivers

What is a Fee Waiver (In Forma Pauperis)

There is usually a fee to file documents with the court. If you have a low income and cannot afford to pay the fee, you can ask the court for a waiver. A court fee waiver is often called an "IFP" which stands for "in forma pauperis."

You may qualify to file for a waiver if your income is at or below 125% of the Federal poverty level; if you receive public assistance; OR if you can show that you do not have enough money to pay the filing fee. The judge can waive all or part of the court fees in a case, and the waiver only applies to costs specifically stated in the IFP Order. NOTE: Getting a fee waiver does not mean you will never have to pay any costs or a judgment in the case.
 

How to Request a Fee Waiver (IFP)

These are the steps to ask for a fee waiver in District Court. If you are handling a case at the MN Court of Appeals, please visit the MN Court of Appeals Self-Help Center to learn about fee waivers in the Appellate Courts.
 

STEP 1:  Get the IFP forms

Before you can request a fee waiver, you must first complete the documents for the legal action you want to file (and make copies of your legal documents). Then, fill out the fee waiver forms and bring them to court along with the legal documents you want to file.

You can download the Fee Waiver Court Forms from this website or get them at the courthouse.
 

STEP 2:  Fill out the forms

Fill out the fee waiver forms, but do not sign them yet! Make copies of all of the legal documents you plan to file with the court.
 

STEP 3:  Take the forms to court

Take these things to the courthouse:
  • Your completed "Affidavit for In Forma Pauperis" -- do not sign it yet!
  • The documents (original and copies) for your legal action that you need to file (Petition, Complaint, Motion, Answer, etc.);
  • Photo I.D., such as a driver's license or passport;
  • Proof of your financial need, such as your paycheck, tax return, or other proof;
  • Proof of public assistance (if you receive it), such as an MFIP card, canceled check from a government agency or other proof.

STEP 4:  Get signature notarized

Your signature on the Affidavit for IFP must be notarized. We suggest that you bring your documents to Court Administration and they can notarize your signature, or you can bring them to a Notary Public. Remember that you must sign your documents in front of the person who notarizes your signature, and then they sign and stamp the documents.IMPORTANT: An affidavit is a sworn statement under oath, so you must tell the truth in it. If you do not tell the truth, the court can fine you.
 

STEP 5:  Judge reviews fee waiver request

Your court will tell you the procedures for having a judge review your IFP request. Procedures may be different from one court to another.

STEP 6:  Order for IFP granted or denied

If the judge does not grant your IFP request, you will have to pay the court fee. If the judge does grant your IFP request, he or she will sign an IFP Order that waives all or part of the filing fee. Keep your copy of the IFP Order in a safe place until you are ready to file your legal documents
 
FAQs

How Do I Request a Fee Waiver (IFP)?

These are the steps to ask for a fee waiver in District Court. If you are handling a case at the MN Court of Appeals, please visit the MN Court of Appeals Self-Help Center to learn about fee waivers in the Appellate Courts.
 

STEP 1:  Get the IFP forms

Before you can request a fee waiver, you must first complete the documents for the legal action you want to file (and make copies of your legal documents). Then, fill out the fee waiver forms and bring them to court along with the legal documents you want to file.

You can download the Fee Waiver Court Forms from this website or get them at the courthouse.
 

STEP 2:  Fill out the forms

Fill out the fee waiver forms, but do not sign them yet! Make copies of all of the legal documents you plan to file with the court.
 

STEP 3:  Take the forms to court

Take these things to the courthouse:
  • Your completed "Affidavit for In Forma Pauperis" -- do not sign it yet!
  • The documents (original and copies) for your legal action that you need to file (Petition, Complaint, Motion, Answer, etc.);
  • Photo I.D., such as a driver's license or passport;
  • Proof of your financial need, such as your paycheck, tax return, or other proof;
  • Proof of public assistance (if you receive it), such as an MFIP card, canceled check from a government agency or other proof.

STEP 4:  Get signature notarized

Your signature on the Affidavit for IFP must be notarized. We suggest that you bring your documents to Court Administration and they can notarize your signature, or you can bring them to a Notary Public. Remember that you must sign your documents in front of the person who notarizes your signature, and then they sign and stamp the documents. IMPORTANT: An affidavit is a sworn statement under oath, so you must tell the truth in it. If you do not tell the truth, the court can fine you.
 

STEP 5:  Judge reviews fee waiver request

Your court will tell you the procedures for having a judge review your IFP request. Procedures may be different from one court to another.

STEP 6:  Order for IFP granted or denied

If the judge does not grant your IFP request, you will have to pay the court fee. If the judge does grant your IFP request, he or she will sign an IFP Order that waives all or part of the filing fee. Keep your copy of the IFP Order in a safe place until you are ready to file your legal documents
FormsDownload and print Fee Waiver Court Forms

Fill out Fee Waiver Forms online with I-CAN!

If you need help filling out the forms, contact Us @ the Self-Help Center or visit Legal Advice Clinics & Self-Help Centers to see if walk-in help is available at your courthouse.

Contact Court Administration where your case is or will be filed for questions on how to request a fee waiver in that court.
IMPORTANT: The I-CAN!® tools are provided for convenience and informational purposes only. The service and content are NOT intended as legal advice and are not a substitute for a lawyer. By linking to I-CAN!, the MN Judicial Branch does not imply any endorsement of I-CAN!® and is not responsible or liable for the content, accuracy or privacy practices of the I-CAN!® service. Read Disclaimer.
 

MN Court Forms in I-CAN!

We now offer the following court forms in theI-CAN!® document assembly program:
Divorce Forms (both with and without minor children)
Fee Waiver (IFP) Forms (for any type of civil case)
  • I-CAN!® is not designed for cases involving a large number of assets, property or debts. We recommend that you get legal advice on your situation.
  • I-CAN!® may be used for a same sex divorce, but we recommend that you get legal advice on your situation.
TIP: Before using I-CAN!®, complete a "Fast Facts Worksheet" linked below that will help you collect all of the personal information you must enter into I-CAN!® so you can finish faster.

Benefits of Using I-CAN!®

  • It's a free service.
  • You can create a Username and Password that only you will know to protect your privacy.
  • The I-CAN!® service is available over the Internet on a secure network.
  • I-CAN!® saves your answers and fills in your information on the court forms.
  • I-CAN!® prints your completed forms with instructions on how to start your case, calculate child support, and finish your divorce.
  • You can work at your own pace. Start now and finish later.
NOTE: I-CAN!® works on most recent versions of Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari.
 

Need Help?

Court Forms Review Service: If you are representing yourself in a court case and you fill out court forms on a computer (in Word, PDF or I-CAN!®), the Self-Help Center can review your completed court forms before you file them with the court. Contact Us for more details.

Phone:
MN Courts Self-Help Center
Monday - Friday, 8:30a - 3:00p (closed court holdays)
(651)259-3888

Email

Instructions on how to serve, file & then finish a divorce will also print from I-CAN! program.
We strongly encourage you to get legal advice from a licensed attorney who practices family law in Minnesota. Divorce cases can be complicated and affect important legal rights, including child custody, property, and financial interests.

Filing for divorce in HENNEPIN or RAMSEY County? If you are filing for divorce in the Ramsey County District Court and you are not represented by a lawyer, you must have your completed divorce forms reviewed by staff at the Ramsey County Family Court Self-Help Service Center ((651) 266-5125). If you are filing for divorce without a lawyer in the Hennepin County District Court, we strongly suggest that you have your completed divorce forms reviewed by staff at the Hennepin County Family Court Self-Help Center ((612) 596-8519). Self-Help Center staff will look to see that you filled out all of the necessary forms and then explain the next steps in the process. Find self-help services.
Rules & LawsIf you are representing yourself in a court case in Minnesota, you are responsible for following the same laws and rules as an attorney. Read Rights and Duties of Self-Represented Parties.

Laws & Rules on Fee Waivers (IFP)


The following is a list of some of the laws and rules that relate to handling a court case without paying certain court fees and costs, also known as "In Forma Pauperis." See Laws, Rules & Legal Research.You can get more help with your legal research at Law Libraries throughout Minnesota. County law libraries are open to the public, but hours will vary.

You should talk with a lawyer to learn how the laws and rules may affect your case.