About Appellate Filing Fees

Is there a filing fee for filing an appeal with a district court of appeal?

Yes.  Section 35.22, Florida Statutes, requires the clerk of the district court of appeal collect a filing fee of $300 from an appellant. 

Where do I submit the filing fee?

The filing fee is submitted to the clerk of the district court of appeal. 

When is the filing fee due?

 The filing fee is due along with the notice of appeal with the district court of appeal. 

Do I have to pay the filing fee if I don’t have the money?

You can avoid the fee only if you obtain a certificate of indigency.  Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.430(a) provides for a waiver of this filing fee upon issuance of a certificate of indigency by the clerk of the lower tribunal (in this case, the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) Agency Clerk or Office of Appeal Hearings).  Use the following approved form application.

What standards are used to determine if I am indigent?

Section 57.082(2)(a), Florida Statutes, provides that an appellant is indigent if his or her income is equal to or below 200 percent of the then-current federal poverty guidelines prescribed for the size of his or her household by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.  The 2015 Federal Poverty Guidelines are as follows:

HHS 2015 POVERTY GUIDELINES FOR THE 48 CONTIGUOUS STATES
AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Persons in family/household

Poverty guideline

1

$11,770

2

$15,930

3

$20,090

4

$24,250

5

$28,410

6

$32,570

7

$36,730

8

$40,890

For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,160 for each additional person.

However, there is a presumption that the appellant is not indigent if he or she owns, or has equity in, any intangible or tangible personal property or real property or the expectancy of an interest in any such property having a net equity value of $2,500 or more, excluding the value of the person’s homestead and one vehicle having a net value not exceeding $5,000. 

Where do I file an application for determination of indigent status?

An application for determination of indigent status is filed with the DCF Agency Clerk. 

When is the certificate of indigency due?

The application for determination of indigent status is due to be filed with the DCF Agency Clerk at the same time as the notice of appeal. 

Can I delay my appeal while my application for determination of indigency is pending with the DCF Agency Clerk?

 No.  The deadline to file a notice of appeal is set by law and the time it takes to obtain a certification of indigency does not affect that deadline. 

What happens if I can’t pay the filing fee and I haven’t received a certificate of indigency from the DCF Agency Clerk yet?

Each district court of appeal has its own policies, so you will need to contact that court’s clerk to find out how the court will address the issue in your case.  Often, the court will issue an order or notice providing time to pay the fee or provide a certificate of indigency.

What happens if I don’t pay the filing fee or apply for a certificate of indigency?

Each district court of appeal has its own policies for providing time for compliance, but the court will ultimately dismiss your appeal if you don’t pay the filing fee or obtain a certificate of indigency. 

Can I ask for more time to provide the certificate of indigency?

Each district court of appeal has its own policies, so you will need to contact that court’s clerk to find out how the court will address the issue in your case. You can file a request for additional time with the court.  However, it will be up to the court to decide whether to provide additional time. 

Do I need to provide specific information to obtain a certificate of indigency from the DCF Agency Clerk?

Yes.  Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.430(a) requires an appellant to file a signed application for determination of indigent status with the DCF Agency Clerk using an application form approved by the Supreme Court.  That form requires the appellant provide information on dependents, income, expenses, assets and liabilities. 

What will the DCF Agency Clerk’s Office do with the information I provide?

Both forms include a certification page for the clerk to sign.  If the DCF Agency Clerk decides that the appellant meets the standard for indigency, that certification will be provided by the DCF Clerk’s Office to the clerk of the district court of appeal where the appeal is pending.  If the DCF Agency Clerk decides that you do not meet the standard for indigency, you will be provided a written statement of reasons for denying the application. 

What happens if the DCF Agency Clerk denies my request for a certification of indigency?

You can request a DCF review of the Clerk’s decision.  You will need to file that request in writing with the DCF Agency Clerk.  DCF will then rule on the request.

What happens if DCF also denies my request for a certificate of indigency?

You can file a motion with the district court of appeal for a review of the DCF decision.

What happens if the district court does not overturn the DCF denial of a certificate of indigency?

Each district court of appeal has its own policies for providing time for compliance, but the court may ultimately dismiss your appeal if you don’t pay the filing fee.  You will need to contact that court’s clerk to find out how the court will address the issue in your case.