A Word About Settlement Filing Fees

By Judge Dale Tipps, Murfreesboro

We’re nice people. Really, we are. (Except for that one person, and they know who they are.) So whenever possible, the Court tries to be accommodating to the folks who need our services. 

This is why, in the past, we occasionally allowed defense counsel to pay a filing fee after a settlement hearing has already taken place. This usually came up if the attorney didn’t have a fee check when the hearing date arrived or if they just accidently left the check at their office. When that happened, we would proceed with the settlement, and the attorney would send the fee a couple of days later, at which time the settlement would be filed.

Alas, this is no longer possible. The state has some very specific requirements for receiving fees from the public, and we are informed that they do not allow this kind of flexibility. Instead, the Court must receive payment before proceeding with a settlement hearing.

Fortunately, this isn’t going to be a problem in the great majority of cases. Many firms pay by credit card and either provide the card number with the settlement documents or leave it on file with the clerk. Most others bring a check on the day of the settlement.

But if this has ever been an issue for you, you may want to start bringing your own credit card or checkbook as a backup plan when you come for a settlement. (If you can find your checkbook – many of us don’t use these any longer.) Because if we don’t have payment up front, we will not be able to proceed with your settlement, and it will have to be rescheduled. 

But we’ll still be nice about it.

(Speaking of nice, check out a recent sunrise at Marcella Vivrette Smith Park in Brentwood, Tennessee.)

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