The Texas Supreme Court has recently made a decision that has put a large number of family lawyers and judges up in arms: Divorce Forms. The Supreme Court has come out with divorce forms for pro se parties to fill out themselves. Divorce forms have been available on the internet for as long as I have been in practice. One of the main problems with these forms are that they are not made by Texas companies, usually are standard basic forms for all 50 states and therefore a lot of times will not be accepted by the Courts. Every person is entitled to represent themselves in a Court in Texas. I’m not sure whether these forms will help people or not. I have a feeling they could cause as much headache for pro se parties than can help.
You can look at these forms here: http://www.txcourts.gov/pubs/pubs-home.asp
When looking at the forms, one of the main problems that I see is that these forms were made by lawyers. The forms could be complicated. You follow the instructions, but there is no explanation as to what each box means or what the consequence of each box means. To pro se parties looking at using these forms, I suggest being extremely careful when filling them out. If you have kids, I suggest you set up a meeting with a lawyer to go over the form and answer any questions you may have. I’m thinking in my practice of offering consultations at a reduced hourly rate for pro se parties who want to review the forms with me to make sure the forms are correct.
I think the forms have good intent, and if it helps bring down the wait time for parties trying to get a divorce, that is a good thing. But I’m cautiously optimistic.