Court submits pro se divorce forms for comment

Texas Supreme Court advisory

The Texas Supreme Court has approved for comment self-directed forms intended for uncontested divorces for couples without children or real property.

The forms are subject to public comment through February 1 after their publication in the Texas Bar Journal.

In a per curiam statement explaining the divorce forms, the Court reiterated its intent to assist indigent parties. “While it is clear that forms will not work in every circumstance,” the statement said, “the Court firmly believes that forms are an integral part of any effort to aid indigent litigants.”

The Court noted that 48 states have implemented standardized family-law forms and that the Texas forms should help alleviate problems posed by nearly 58,000 family-law cases filed without an attorney’s assistance in the state in the 2011 fiscal year. “While the Court recognizes that obtaining legal representation, pro bono or otherwise, for every pro se litigant would be ideal, the resources needed to meet the demand are simply not available.”

Justice Johnson, joined by Justice Willett, dissented in part from the Court’s per curiam statement. Justice Lehrmann, joined in part by Justice Johnson, also dissented.

Contact: Osler McCarthy, staff attorney/public information
512.463.1441 or click for email