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-Spencer L. Simons, former Director, O'Quinn Law Library and Associate Professor of Law



Monday, November 19, 2012

Texas Supreme Court Approves Pro Se Divorce Forms

Last week, the Texas Supreme Court approved for the first time an official set of forms that may be used for individuals filing for divoerce in Texas without requiring the assistance of a lawyer. Once Texas has formally adopted the forms, it will join 48 other states that already have some standardized family law forms in place. The forms, intended for pro se couples with no minor children or real property are specifically aimed at indigent couples who do not have the resources to obtain legal assistance in their divorce matter. With this ruling the Texas Suprme Court recognizes the extent to which low-income Texans are underserved by the legal community, noting that even if every member of the state bar's family law section were to take on one of these family cases pro bono, tens of thousands would remain unserved.

Not all of the Texas Supreme Court Justices agreed, with two justices dissenting (another two dissenting in part) out of fear that these forms will inadvertently create more pro se litigation between parties. The court will be accepting comments on the proposed forms until February 1, 2013, and the form may be changed in response to those comments. You can read the court's order approving the uniform forms, and take a look at the new set of forms here.

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