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Texas Divorce Law Stands AloneTexas is known for being a state that does things independently. They are, after all, the Lone Star State. So it should come as no surprise that Texas is one of the states in the U.S with the highest number of Pro Se litigants in divorce cases.

Pro Se divorce litigation means that you are representing yourself in your divorce case, without an attorney. The procedures that you must follow are the same if you are Pro Se, except you will be responsible for filing and filling out all the legal forms throughout the entire process. Now, representing yourself  in any legal battle can be a scary option to choose, especially in a divorce case where many aspects of the law come into play. However, many people do this because it’s a more cost effective way to proceed with a divorce. Self-represented litigants in divorce and family law matters are becoming a popular trend that is propelled by the high cost of legal fees.

Forms All Round
Advocates in the state of Texas, and those in positions of authority in Texas courts, are pushing for standardized divorce forms. This is due to the simple fact that many of those in the divorce demographic in the state of Texas fall under the low income bracket. This in turn means that they cannot afford to hire decent representation during divorce proceedings.

So, standardizing the forms would allow many of the litigants who are opting for the Pro Se approach to do so with as little cost as possible to them. As of now, the courts are only pushing for the forms to be applicable for uncontested divorces.

Currently, Texas is one of only 13 states without standardized divorce forms. At this moment in time, spouses are obliged to buy forms from various 3rd parties, but the courts aren’t obligated to accept them. This means that even if a spouse decides to go the Pro Se route, their divorce might not go through in a Texas court because of unofficial documentation. However, if the judiciary and advocates have their way, spouses will be able to download standardized divorce forms online at no cost. They’ll only be required to pay a fee once the forms are approved by the courts.

Not So Fast
Although this idea of standardized forms has caught on in 37 others states, not everyone in Texas is fond of the idea. The American Bar Association’s position is that everyone needs to be represented by an attorney. This way, all occurrences in the courtroom will be deemed fair and fit. When others represent themselves with no legal background it makes a mockery of the court and allows anyone to try to argue their points on divorce, which in turn could spread to anything under the legal umbrella.

Many of the state’s family lawyers, and the state Bar itself, have argued that standardized forms could do more harm than good for individuals and spouses who underestimate the complexity of their divorce and end up making bad decisions that could haunt them financially and legally. They are said to have the general public’s best interests at heart in this matter.

Decision in Limbo
As of now, the courts have not ruled anything further on this matter, and since the notion of these standardized forms was put into motion in April of 2012, it has remained this way. Whatever the outcome, both sides will not be happy. Trying to find a happy balance between the two sides will be more trying than implementing the forms themselves. Only time will tell what is to come of these forms in the state of Texas.

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