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Rule 502.3. Fees; Inability to Pay (2013)
(a) Fees and Statement of Inability to Pay. On filing the petition, the plaintiff must pay the appropriate filing fee and service fees, if any, with the court. A plaintiff who is unable to afford to pay the fees must file a sworn statement of inability to pay. Upon filing the statement, the clerk must docket the action, issue citation, and provide any other customary services.
(b) Contents of Statement of Inability to Pay.
(1) The statement must contain complete information as to the party's identity, nature and amount of governmental entitlement income, nature and amount of employment income, other income (interest, dividends, etc.), spouse's income if available to the party, property owned (other than homestead), cash or checking account, dependents, debts, and monthly expenses.
(c) IOLTA Certificate. If the party is represented by an attorney who is providing free legal services because of the party's indigence, without contingency, and the attorney is providing services either directly or by referral from a program funded by the Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program, the attorney may file an IOLTA certificate confirming that the IOLTA funded program screened the party for income eligibility under the IOLTA income guidelines. A party's statement of inability to pay accompanied by an attorney's IOLTA certificate may not be contested under (d).
(2) The statement must contain the following: "I am unable to pay court fees. I verify that the statements made in this statement are true and correct." The statement must be sworn before a notary public or other officer authorized to administer oaths or be signed under penalty of perjury.
(d) Contest. Unless an IOLTA certificate is filed, the defendant may file a contest of the statement of inability to pay at any time within 7 days after the day the defendant's answer is due. If the statement attests to receipt of government entitlement based on indigence, the statement may only be contested with regard to the veracity of the attestation. If contested, the judge must hold a hearing to determine the plaintiff's ability to pay. At the hearing, the burden is on the party who filed the statement to prove its inability to pay. The judge may, regardless of whether the defendant contests the statement, examine the statement and conduct a hearing to determine the plaintiff's ability to pay. If the judge determines that the plaintiff is able to afford the fees, the judge must enter a written order listing the reasons for the determination, and the plaintiff must pay the fees in the time specified in the order or the case will be dismissed without prejudice.
Added by order of April 15th, 2013, eff. Aug. 31, 2013.