The DIY trend largely fueled by Pinterest has taken an interesting turn recently in Texas Law. The Court recently approved do-it-yourself divorce forms for pro se representation in divorce cases throughout the state of Texas. For plenty of reasons this change has concerned Texas divorce attorneys. Inconsistencies in the forms as well as the order concern attorneys and many are worried that the property rights of Texans may be at risk.
“Because of the potential for confusion and chaos in legal services posed by the use of forms without pro bono lawyers to interpret them, members plan to continue working on efforts to provide pro bono legal services to indigent citizens faced with the prospect of divorce.” said Diana Friedman, Dallas family law attorney and Chair of the Section.
The Texas Family Law Council is the governing body of the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Texas. Nearly 6,000 family law and divorce attorneys throughout the state of Texas make up the Section. The Family Law Section is concerned that many people who will be confused by the DIY divorce forms may waive property rights without realizing exactly what they’re giving up.
The Section stresses that legal representation is necessary in a divorce, whether it’s pro bono or not. Attorneys have also expressed concerns that this change will clog the courtrooms as judges will need to explain more fully what a divorce attorney can offer divorcing parties.
“We believe approval of the divorce forms is a rush to judgment by the Court. It is a decision that lacks vision and innovation by simply going along with what has been offered in other states. The problem is not too few pro bono lawyers to handle this situation. It’s a failure of organization, of taking a systematic approach to serving the indigent population.”
Due to the order and the new forms, the Section is ramping up the activity of their Family Law Cares program to connect indigent persons with the proper legal representation.
We encourage all divorcing parties to do the proper research before jumping into a DIY divorce. We’re happy to offer complimentary consultations for Texans considering a divorce. The Pellerin Law Firm is happy to explain what this new order means and how it could affect you and your divorce.