Texas residents currently going through a divorce may be interested in the passage of a law that allows indigent couples to use pro se divorce forms. While this may seem like a major win for couples with no real property or children, it can actually spell out trouble because of the likelihood of mistakes that could come with these forms. The state’s Supreme Court issued and order and stated that the forms will be useful in addressing divorce issues for people who may not be able to afford legal representation.
However, one of the Justices disagreed and stated that the forms could actually increase litigation because the forms may not protect their interests. It could lull divorcing couples into believing the forms properly address their needs, but in actuality, the forms fail to properly address other property such as retirement and pension plans. Failing to address such a critical step could lead to a court battle in the future.
The forms will not work for everyone, but the court believes they will help improve citizens’ ‘access to justice’ within the state. Another individual who lobbies for a state’s family law organization also expressed a negative opinion about the newest forms. He stated the court is traveling a ‘dangerous road’ with the do-it-yourself forms. They affect some of the most important aspects that normally lead to bitter litigation between couples and may fail to offer couples what is rightfully theirs by law.
Couples in Texas going through a divorce should know these forms are available. However, caution is advisable when taking such a risky step. While the forms are definitely convenient, they may end up costing one in the long run. Convenience won’t make up for losing a portion of the other’s pension or other issues that could pop up and lead to costly litigation in the future.
Source: Texas Lawyer, “Texas Supreme Court approves pro se divorce forms,” Angela Morris, Nov. 14, 2012