Summary Court Indigency Rules

Attorneys and parties need to be aware of the provisions, forms, and procedures in Chief Justice Directive 98-01 (Amended August 2011, ref CRS 13-16-103): “Costs for Indigent Persons in Civil Matters”.

Colorado Legal Services can prepare a Certificate of Indigency (JDF 203[1]) for any client eligible for services through CLS.  This form will be provided to volunteer attorneys when they accept a client for representation in a state court action.  Filing of a Certificate of Indigency automatically waives all state court filing and e-filing fees.  (Certain procedures are required when e-filing, to ensure waiver of the e-filing fees.)

The directive provides that costs owed to the state “may” be waived, apparently at the discretion of the presiding judge.  Costs that may be waived include:

  1. Filing Fee
  2. “Reasonable” copy fees
  3. Jury fees
  4. E-File and E-Service fees
  5. Research fees

Costs that may not be waived include:

  1.  Transcript fees
  2. Witness fees
  3. Process server fees (although sheriff may decide to waive fees)
  4. In general, fees and expenses owed to persons or entities other than State of Colorado

In addition to the provisions of the Chief Justice Directive, attorneys and parties should be aware of the options below.

Costs that cannot be waived but that can be requested by one party to be paid by the other party include:

  1.  Decision-Maker in parental responsibilities cases (CRS 14-10-128.3(6), JDF 1326[2])
  2. Parenting Coordinator in parental responsibilities cases (CRS 14-10-128.1(6), JDF 13282)
  3. Genetic Testing in paternity cases (CRS 13-25-126(1)(a)(II)(6), JDF 15052)

Costs that the state will pay for all parties:  Language Interpreter for all court appearances, including mediation.  (Chief Justice Directive 06-03, Amended June 2011)

Costs that the state may pay for indigent clients include:

  1. Cost of service by publication (family law cases).  CRS 14-10-107(4)(a): “if a party is indigent or otherwise unable to pay such publication costs, the costs shall be paid by the court from funds appropriated for the purpose”.  Motion for Service by Publication should include this language:  “The Petitioner requests that the Court pay the costs of service as s/he is indigent and cannot afford to pay the cost of publication or copying fees related to publication notices.”  Waiver of filing fee (JDF 2051 or Certificate of Indigency) must be on file with the Court.  Order should include this language:  “IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, pursuant to CRS 14-10-107(4)(a) that the costs for such publication be paid by the Court from funds appropriated for that purpose.  The Clerk of the District Court shall furnish one copy of the following documents to the Petitioner at no cost: this order, all certificates and notices relating to publication, and the affidavit of publication from the newspaper.”  If the Court will not waive publication costs, request service by consolidated notice (with approved motion to file without payment); court will handle publication at no cost to client.
  2. Child and Family Investigator (CRS 14-10-116.5(3), JDF 13172)
  3. Mediation (through Office of Dispute Resolution—both free and reduced fee.  Reduced fee is available to persons who are above the court’s indigency guidelines.)  A separate process for determination of indigency is required in mediation cases.  (JDF 2111)
  4. Child Legal Representative (CRS 14-10-116(3), JDF 13192)

There is NO filing fee for the filing of a Protection Order for victims of domestic abuse, stalking, sexual assault or unlawful sexual contact.  (Fees may be assessed against the Restrained Party at the Permanent Protection Order hearing.)

[1] Available on court website ( under “Forms” Tab, click on “Filing Fees”

[2] Available on court website ( under “Forms” Tab, click on “Divorce, Family Matters, Civil Unions”


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