Are You Complying with the 2016 TRCP 145 Amendments?

 

Are You Complying with the 2016 TRCP 145 Amendments?

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Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 145 was amended last year to change the procedure for a party claiming that she cannot afford to pay court costs. The amendments require, among other things, the party to file a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs instead of an affidavit of indigence.[1] The official comment to the 2016 change to TRCP 145 explains that the amendment was intended to ensure access to the civil justice system.[2] Discussing the contours of the rule, the comment emphasizes the focus on affordability: “The issue is not merely whether a person can pay costs, but whether the person can afford to pay the costs.”[3]

Amended TRCP 145 does not allow the clerk or a party to challenge a claim of inability to afford costs without sworn evidence that the claim was false when made or that there has been a change in the filing party’s circumstances that makes the claim no longer true.[4] The high bar to challenge the Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs is intended to reduce the expenses generated by challenges, which often exceed the costs themselves.[5]

These changes took effect September 1, 2016.[6] For more in-depth, comprehensive coverage of these TRCP amendments, turn to O’Connor’s Texas Rules * Civil Trials 2017.

But where can you find the standard Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs form? Under the new rules, what is required of a motion to challenge an opposing party’s Statement of Inability to Afford Payment? What would an order granting a motion to challenge include?

To save yourself the hassle of researching and drafting, turn to O’Connor’s Texas Civil Forms 2017. This edition includes the new standard Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs form, a form for the motion to challenge a plaintiff’s claim of inability to afford payment of costs, and a form order on the motion to challenge.

O’Connor’s Texas Civil Forms 2017  is now in stock—visit our online store to order your copy!


[1] See Tex. R. Civ. P. 145(a). For how these amendments affect appellate practice, see our related post TRAP 20.1 and TRCP 145 Amendments Change Texas Indigence Protections on Appeal.

[2] Tex. Sup. Ct. Order, Misc. Docket No. 16-9122 (eff. Sept. 1, 2016) (TRCP 145 cmt.).

[3] Id.

[4] See Tex. R. Civ. P. 145(f)(1).

[5] Tex. Sup. Ct. Order, Misc. Docket No. 16-9122 (TRCP 145 cmt.).

[6] Tex. Sup. Ct. Order, Misc. Docket No. 16-9122.

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