Thursday, March 1, 2012
The issue is coming to a head in Texas. The Texas Supreme Court created the Uniform Forms Task Force in March 2011 and ordered it to work with the Texas Access to Justice Commission to create standardized forms to help low-income Texans represent themselves when they can't afford lawyers. In early January, the task force submitted forms for simple, uncontested divorces with no children and no real property. Many Texas family lawyers take issue with the project.
Here is the accompanying article from the Texas Lawyer. It includes a 5:38 minute video featuring advocates on both sides of the issue.
Although I once favored creating such standardized forms, my experience as a Legal Services lawyer has left me with serious doubts about the ability of low income lay people (and lay people at a higher economic level) to maneuver through the judicial system alone. Qualification: I opine having never seen the proposed Texas forms and instructions.