Debate is a fundamental element of the law. Texas legislators are now debating about the way that legal proceedings take place. Last year the Texas Supreme Court advisory board created a task force to design new legal forms for people who want to file for divorce but can't afford an attorney. The proposed forms have been met with a great deal of skepticism.
Texas is one of 13 states that don't provide a court-approved form to file for divorce. Similar Do-it-yourself legal forms are available for purchase online, but some Texas judges refuse to accept forms filed without an attorney or forms that aren't written in English. Board members voiced concern that moving forward with the proposed forms could compel judges to accept them more readily.
One of the main reasons for the forms is to provide an option for those who can't afford an attorney. However, the State Bar of Texas has opposed them, saying that family law is too complex for the average person to handle themselves. A Harris County district judge summed it by saying, "They don't understand the law. They don't need a form. They need advice."
Several alternative options have been suggested including a hotline connecting poor couples who want to separate with lawyers that offer cheap rates. The state bar also suggested requiring individuals just out of law school to take more pro bono cases.
It will be interesting to see how this debate is resolved. If you are considering divorce, a qualified lawyer will work to protect your best interests and can ensure that the correct steps are taken to achieve results that are in your favor.
Source: Associated Press, "Texas Supreme Court board mulls divorce forms," Will Weissert, April 13, 2012