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Civil Court Fees

Information on this web page is general in nature. Descriptions of laws and court procedures are abbreviated. This information is not intended as legal advice. If you do not understand this information or if you need legal advice you should see an attorney.

Iowa Law Overview

The Iowa Legislature sets the amount of filing fees for court actions.  The Iowa Judicial Branch must charge these filing fees and other fees the legislature sets. The clerk of court in your county can tell you how much the filing fee will be.  The clerk must collect all filing fees in advance of any court action. If you cannot afford the court filing fee, the court may allow you to postpone (defer) your payment of the fee.  

There are a fees and costs for a variety of court services in civil matters.  

How do I request that the filing fees are postponed (deferred)? 

Courts may start certain legal actions without requiring the petitioner or plaintiff to prepay filing fees.  A court may postpone fees in the interest of justice if a person cannot afford to pay.  If you cannot afford filing fees to begin a legal action, file a written Application to Defer Costs with the clerk of court and a judge will decide whether or not to postpone the fees. 

Will I be responsible for all of the filing fees and other fees?

Up front, yes.  At the time the case is decided, the court may make a determination that certain fees will be “taxed as cost” in the case and ultimately those fees may be charged to the losing party as ordered by the court.

What are the most common fees?

Type

Fee

Iowa Code

Civil Petition
Includes: Dissolution of marriage (ch. 598); private termination of parental rights (ch. 600A); private paternity/support (ch. 600B); forcible entry and detainers (FED) if filed as civil; and judicial review of administrative agency action

In counties over 98,000 in population an additional $5 publication fee may be charged

$185

§ 602.8105(1)(a)

Foreign Judgment
Includes: All dissolution or modification of marriage decrees (ch. 598)

$185

§ 626A.5

Name Change
If the name change is part of the petition for dissolution, then only the filing fee for the dissolution

$185

§602.8105(1)(a)

Any domestic relations action (ch. 598)
Other than a dissolution of marriage
Includes: Modification of a dissolution decree; annulment; and separate maintenance petition

$100

§ 602.8105(1)(b) and 602.8105(1)(c)

Adoption
If multiple adoptions are filed at the same time, the filing fees for additional petitions is waived after the first

$100

§ 602.8105(1)(e)

Small Claims
Includes: Money judgments; replevins; and FED actions that are $5,000 in damages or less

$ 85

§ 631.6

Appeal of judgment in a small claims case

$185

§ 602.8105(1)(g)

What are some of the fees for miscellaneous services?

Type

Fee

Iowa Code

Filing and entering all statutory liens

$50

§ 602.8105(2)(a)

Certification and seal of court document $20 § 602.8105(2)(b)
Certifying a change of title of real estate $50 § 602.8105(2)(c)
Filing a Praecipe to issue execution

Under ch. 626: $25

Under ch. 654: $50

§ 602.8105(2)(d) and 602.8105(2)(e)
Filing a lis pendens $50 § 602.8105(2)(g)
Entering a final divorce decree $50* § 602.8105(1)(d)
Motion to show cause for contempt $50 § 602.8105(1)(h)
Filing and indexing a transcript of judgment $50 § 602.8105(1)(h)
Fee for jury trial $100 § 625.8
Penalty for late settlement of jury trial $1,000 Iowa Rules of Civil Procedure section 1.909
Court reporter fee $40 per day § 625.8(2)
Copies $0.50 per page  

*These funds are appropriated and used for sexual assault and domestic violence centers

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