March 25, 2023
How to ask for Financial Aid

If you have little or no income and cannot afford to pay the ADR fees, you can apply for financial aid.


How do I ask for financial aid for ADR services?

Fill out the ADR Financial Aid Application. Court ADR staff will not share your information with the other parties.


What if I already got a fee waiver in my case?

If the judge already ordered a fee waiver for you in your case, you only need to complete part of the application. Turn in the application with your fee waiver order attached, instead of completing the financial information on the application.


How does the ADR staff decide if I qualify for financial aid?

The ADR staff uses federal poverty guidelines to decide if you qualify for financial aid. ADR staff will look at the special circumstances of each case. If your income is more than the federal poverty guidelines, the ADR Office may ask you to pay part of the usual ADR fees.


Do the other parties in the case have to help pay for my fees?

No. The other parties never have to pay more than their share of the ADR fees unless they choose to do so.


Is there a limit to the number of ADR sessions I can get at a lower cost?

Yes. If you qualify, you can get up to 6 hours of ADR services at a lower cost.


Do I apply for financial aid before selecting an ADR provider?

Yes. It is a two-step process. First, you must apply and then we will let you know if you qualify. After that, you may select an ADR provider.


If I qualify for financial aid, how do I select an ADR provider?

You and the other parties select four names from a special panelist list. This list has ADR providers who are available for limited-fee cases. After selecting four possible ADR providers, give these names to the ADR Program. The ADR Program will assign one of these panelists to be the ADR provider for your case and will let you know who it is.


Do we have to use the ADR office to select our ADR provider?

Yes. If you qualify for financial aid, the ADR Program will choose one of the four names you choose from the list. Do not contact the ADR provider until the ADR office lets you know who it has assigned to your case.


Do all the panelists agree to provide lower-cost services?

Yes. All our panelists are willing to accept these cases because they believe that everyone should have the right to use ADR. The ADR staff tries to distribute these cases fairly amongst the panelists.


What do we have to do once we choose our ADR provider?

Within 14 days after the ADR Program tells you who it assigned to your case, you and the other parties must file a Stipulation and Order to ADR with the court. Use the correct form for your case type:

This form tells the court the name of your ADR provider and the date of the scheduled ADR session.


How do we schedule with the ADR provider?

After the ADR office tells you who your ADR provider will be, you and the other parties must:

  • contact the ADR provider directly, and
  • set up a time for your ADR session.

Tell the ADR provider that the San Mateo Superior Court's Multi-Option ADR Project "MAP" referred you.


What if I have more questions?

Please contact staff at (650) 261-5075 or (650) 261-5076.


© 2023 Superior Court of San Mateo County