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Q on Court fees for appearance - Illinois (Cook County)


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To file an appearance as a defendant it looks like it starts at $176 in Cook County and then it goes up from there. I can only find a waiver of that if you're indigant. If you're paycheck to paycheck and $176 is still a big amount to come up with what are the options (like installment plans with the court)? How do you get those fees back if you win or the case is dismissed?

 

Thanks for the help.

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Most courts don't have installment plans. You just have to suck it up and pay. I don't know about your town, call the court clerk and ask about any options.

In most courts you can get your fees back if it goes to trial, and you win on its merits. Some courts, but not all allow you to get your fees back if the plaintiff dismisses before trial, I know, not fair. Most of the plaintiffs when they dismiss before trial will put in there that each party is responsible for their own fees anyway.

My personal opinion is if someone sues you, they should have to pay your fees for the right to do so, and if they dismiss, they are out, but that's a "if I ruled the world" senerio, lol

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Most courts don't have installment plans. You just have to suck it up and pay. I don't know about your town, call the court clerk and ask about any options.

In most courts you can get your fees back if it goes to trial, and you win on its merits. Some courts, but not all allow you to get your fees back if the plaintiff dismisses before trial, I know, not fair. Most of the plaintiffs when they dismiss before trial will put in there that each party is responsible for their own fees anyway.

My personal opinion is if someone sues you, they should have to pay your fees for the right to do so, and if they dismiss, they are out, but that's a "if I ruled the world" senerio, lol

Thanks for the reply. I did find Illinois Code of Civil Procedure does require plaintiff to reimburse if they voluntarily dismiss. It looks like an appearance fee might be able to be avoided by answering with a motion which is considered an appearance. I have a feeling if it does get to the point where you need to present the motion in court though, you'd have to pay the fee.

735 ILCS § 5/2-1009(a).

Sec. 2-1009. Voluntary dismissal.

    (a) The plaintiff may, at any time before trial or hearing begins, upon notice to each party who has appeared or each such party's attorney, and upon payment of costs, dismiss his or her action or any part thereof as to any defendant, without prejudice, by order filed in the cause.

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Yes a motion to dismiss in lieu of an answer would file your appearance without paying. But once that is denied ( most are unless there is no issue of material fact such as a cut and dry outside the sol) you would be required to answer and pay.

One member answered and applied for a fee waiver. The fee waiver was denied, but waiting for that denial gave him time to scrape up the filing fee. He used it as a stalling tactic.

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You can always apply for a fee waiver. The judge can grant it, deny it, or modify the appearance fee as the judge sees fit. It takes about an hour from start to finish, but at least you will know how the court views your application.

 

And though you do have the right by statute to recover your appearance fee, good luck. The attorney will always sneak in the phrase, "each side to bear their own costs," and have it signed by the judge before you can whistle Dixie.

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You can always apply for a fee waiver. The judge can grant it, deny it, or modify the appearance fee as the judge sees fit. It takes about an hour from start to finish, but at least you will know how the court views your application.

 

And though you do have the right by statute to recover your appearance fee, good luck. The attorney will always sneak in the phrase, "each side to bear their own costs," and have it signed by the judge before you can whistle Dixie.

 

In what form should I look for the plaintiff to sneak that in? It sounds like an agreement between the judge and plaintiff.

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