The Texas Supreme Court recently ruled that couples with no children or property could get a divorce by using do it yourself divorce forms. The ruling has been called into question by family law attorneys who believe the ruling has the potential to harm Texas residents who are not aware of their legal rights during a divorce.
The court claims that the new divorce forms would help a segment of the population who can’t afford legal services to get a divorce. However, three justices who were writing in dissent said that they fear the ruling opened the door for many people to represent themselves even when they could afford a lawyer. In addition, these justices believe that many litigants may believe that these new forms will cover the issues they need covered when it probably won’t be the case if the divorce is anything more than uncontested.
A spokesman for the state bar association’s Family Law Section said that his group’s main concern was mistakes. He claims that that trying to go it alone in court is a risky proposition for those who don’t understand the law. He says that the new forms do not protect people from causing harm to their self-interests during their divorce.
It’s never a good idea to try to handle a complex legal issue such as divorce without having the proper knowledge of the law. The only way those going through a divorce can protect their self-interests during a divorce dispute is to have a full understanding of their legal rights. Doing it alone may create many unnecessary issues during the process.
Source: ABA Journal, “Family Lawyers Object to New Pro Se Divorce Forms Approved by Texas Supremes,” Debra Cassens Weiss, Nov. 16, 2012