Tex. R. App. P. 20.1

As amended through August 21, 2020
Rule 20.1 - Civil Cases
(a)Costs Defined. In this rule, "costs" mean filing fees charged by the appellate court. Fees charged for preparation of the appellate record are governed by Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 145.
(b)When a Statement Was Filed in the Trial Court.
(1)General Rule; Status in Trial Court Carries Forward. A party who filed a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs in the trial court is not required to pay costs in the appellate court unless the trial court overruled the party's claim of indigence in an order that complies with Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 145. A party is not required to pay costs in the appellate court if the trial court ordered the party to pay partial costs or to pay costs in installments.
(2)Establishing the Right to Proceed Under the General Rule. To establish the right to proceed without payment of costs under (1), a party must communicate to the appellate court clerk in writing that the party is presumed indigent under this rule. In an appeal under Section Two of these rules, the applicability of the presumption should be stated in the notice of appeal and in the docketing statement.
(3)Exception; Material Change in Circumstances. An appellate court may permit a party who is not entitled to proceed under (1) to proceed without payment of costs if the party establishes that the party's financial circumstances have materially changed since the date of the trial court's order under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 145.
(A)Requirements. The party must file a motion in the appellate court alleging that the party's financial circumstances have materially changed since the date of the trial court's order and a current Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs that complies with Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 145. The Statement that was filed in the trial court does not meet the requirements of this rule.
(B)Action by Appellate Court. The appellate court may decide the motion based on the record or refer the motion to the trial court with instructions to hear evidence and issue findings of fact. If a motion is referred to the trial court, the appellate court must review the trial court's findings and the record of the hearing before ruling on the motion.
(c)When No Statement Was Filed in the Trial Court. An appellate court may permit a party who did not file a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs in the trial court to proceed without payment of costs. The court may require the party to file a Statement in the appellate court. If the court denies the party's request to proceed without payment of costs, it must do so in a written order.

Tex. R. App. P. 20.1

Amended effective September 1, 2016.

Comment to 2016 Change:

The rule has been rewritten so that it only governs filing fees and any other fee charged by the appellate court. Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 145 governs a party's claim that the party is unable to afford costs for preparation of the appellate record.

Because appellate filing fees are minimal, a party that filed a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs in the trial court is not required to file a new Statement in the appellate court unless the trial court made affirmative findings under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 145 that the party is able to afford all court costs and to pay those costs as they are incurred. Furthermore, because a determination of indigence by the trial court carries forward to appeal in all cases, Family Code section 107.013 is satisfied.

Experience has shown that, in most cases, a party's financial circumstances do not change substantially between the trial court proceedings and the appellate court proceedings. Nonetheless, (b)(3) permits a party whom the trial court determined is able to afford all costs to demonstrate to the appellate court that the party's circumstances have changed since the trial court's ruling and that the party is unable to afford appellate filing fees.