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H.B. 10 Enrolled





Chief Sponsor: Curtis Oda

Senate Sponsor: Jon J. Greiner

             7      LONG TITLE
             8      General Description:
             9          This bill establishes procedures to determine if court fees and costs should be paid in
             10      full or waived in whole or in part for a prisoner who files an initial divorce action or an
             11      action to obtain custody of the prisoner's children.
             12      Highlighted Provisions:
             13          This bill:
             14          .    requires the court to review the financial information of a prisoner who files an
             15      affidavit of impecuniosity;
             16          .    requires courts, constables, and sheriffs to provide equal service to the
             17      impecunious; and
             18          .    provides that a judge may order that a judgment or decree not be entered in favor of
             19      the prisoner who has been required to pay court costs and fees until those costs and
             20      fees are paid in full.
             21      Monies Appropriated in this Bill:
             22          None
             23      Other Special Clauses:
             24          None
             25      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             26      AMENDS:
             27          78A-2-305, as renumbered and amended by Laws of Utah 2008, Chapter 3
             29      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:

             30          Section 1. Section 78A-2-305 is amended to read:
             31           78A-2-305. Effect of filing affidavit -- Procedure for review and collection.
             32          (1) (a) Upon receipt of the oath or affirmation filed with any Utah court by a prisoner,
             33      the court shall immediately request the institution or facility where the prisoner is incarcerated
             34      to provide an account statement detailing all financial activities in the prisoner's trust account
             35      for the previous six months or since the time of incarceration, whichever is shorter.
             36          (b) The incarcerating facility shall:
             37          (i) prepare and produce to the court the prisoner's six-month trust account statement,
             38      current trust account balance, and aggregate disposable income; and
             39          (ii) calculate aggregate disposable income by totaling all deposits made in the
             40      prisoner's trust account during the six-month period and subtracting all funds automatically
             41      deducted or otherwise garnished from the account during the same period.
             42          (2) The court shall:
             43          (a) review both the affidavit of impecuniosity and the financial account statement; and
             44          (b) based upon the review, independently determine whether or not the prisoner is
             45      financially capable of paying all the regular fees and costs associated with filing the action.
             46          (3) When the court concludes that the prisoner is unable to pay full fees and costs, the
             47      court shall assess an initial partial filing fee equal to 50% of the prisoner's current trust
             48      account balance or 10% of the prisoner's six-month aggregate disposable income, whichever is
             49      greater.
             50          (4) (a) After payment of the initial partial filing fee, the court shall require the prisoner
             51      to make monthly payments of 20% of the preceding month's aggregate disposable income until
             52      the regular filing fee associated with the civil action is paid in full.
             53          (b) The agency having custody of the prisoner shall:
             54          (i) garnish the prisoner's account each month; and
             55          (ii) once the collected fees exceed $10, forward payments to the clerk of the court until
             56      the filing fees are paid.
             57          (c) Nothing in this section may be construed to prevent the agency having custody of

             58      the prisoner from withdrawing funds from the prisoner's account to pay court-ordered
             59      restitution.
             60          (5) Collection of the filing fees continues despite dismissal of the action.
             61          (6) The filing fee collected may not exceed the amount of fees permitted by statute for
             62      the commencement of a civil action or an appeal of a civil action.
             63          (7) If the prisoner is filing an initial divorce action or an action to obtain custody of
             64      the prisoner's children, the following procedures shall apply for review and collection of fees
             65      and costs:
             66          (a) Upon filing an oath or affirmation with any Utah court by a prisoner, the court
             67      shall review the affidavit and make an independent determination based on the information
             68      provided whether court costs and fees should be paid in full or be waived in whole or in part.
             69      The court shall require a full or partial filing fee when the prisoner's financial information
             70      demonstrates an ability to pay the applicable court fees or costs.
             71          (b) (i) If a prisoner's court fees or costs are completely waived, and if the prisoner files
             72      an appeal, the court shall immediately file any complaint or papers on appeal and complete all
             73      necessary action as promptly as if the litigant had paid all the fees and costs in full.
             74          (ii) If a prisoner is impecunious, the constable and sheriff shall immediately serve any
             75      summonses, writs, process and subpoenas, and papers necessary in the prosecution or defense
             76      of the cause as if all the necessary fees and costs had been paid in full.
             77          (c) (i) If a prisoner files an affidavit of impecuniosity, the judge shall question the
             78      prisoner at the time of the hearing on the merits of the case as to the prisoner's ability to pay.
             79          (ii) If the judge determines that the prisoner is reasonably able to pay court fees and
             80      costs, the final order or decree shall be entered, however the prisoner may not seek
             81      enforcement or modification of the decree or order until the prisoner has paid the fees or costs
             82      in full.
             83          (iii) A judge may waive the restrictions placed on the prisoner in Subsection (7)(c)(ii)
             84      upon a showing of good cause.

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