Who Can Get a Fee Waiver for Protection Orders
In Washington State some protection orders have no filing fees such as the Domestic Violence Protection Order or the Sexual Assault Protection Order. Then other Protection Orders such as Antiharassment Protection Order (AHPO), and Vulnerable Adult Protection Order (VAPO) do have a filing fee in general, which however, can be waived depending on the circumstances of the case and the person filing it. These fees are waived if the person filing i.e. the petitioner can request a fee waiver due to inability to afford to pay the fees by any of the following:
- They got certain public benefits (TANF, HEN, SSI, Food Stamps, or federal poverty-related veteran’s benefits)
- Their income is under 125% of the federal poverty guidelines
- They have large regular basic living expenses keep you from paying the filing fee and other required charges. “Basic living expenses” means the average monthly amount you spend for living costs such as shelter, food, utilities, health care, transportation, clothing, loan payments, support payments, and court-imposed obligations.
- They have other compelling circumstances exist that demonstrate an applicant’s inability to pay
fees and/or surcharges
In the case of Antiharassment Protection Orders (AHPO) any of the following conditions cause the fees to be waived
- Hate crime
- Single act/threat of violence including malicious and intentional threat or presence of firearm/weapon causing substantial emotional distress
- Family or household member engaged in domestic violence
- Nonconsensual sexual conduct or penetration or a sex offense
The sources of these information are
- RCW 7.105.105(9)(b) which states: No filing fee may be charged to a petitioner seeking an antiharassment protection order against a person who has engaged in acts of stalking as defined in RCW 9A.46.110, a hate crime under RCW 9A.36.080(1)(c), or a single act of violence or threat of violence under RCW 7.105.010(36)(b), or from a person who has engaged in nonconsensual sexual conduct or penetration or conduct that would constitute a sex offense as defined in RCW 9A.44.128, or from a person who is a family or household member or intimate partner who has engaged in conduct that would constitute domestic violence; and (ii) The court shall waive the filing fee if the court determines the petitioner is not able to pay the costs of filing.
- Washington Courts General Rule 34 (GR34).