Victory in Texas

This says is all (from the Texas Supreme Court Media Advisory):

 COURT SUBMITS PRO SE DIVORCE FORMS FOR COMMENT



 The Texas Supreme Court has approved for comment self-directed forms intended for uncontested divorces for couples without children or real property.

The forms are subject to public comment through February 1 after their publication in the Texas Bar Journal. 

In a per curiam statement explaining the divorce forms, the Court reiterated its intent to assist indigent parties. “While it is clear that forms will not work in every circumstance,” the statement said, “the Court firmly believes that forms are an integral part of any effort to aid indigent litigants.”

The Court noted that 48 states have implemented standardized family-law forms and that the Texas forms should help alleviate problems posed by nearly 58,000 family-law cases filed without an attorney’s assistance in the state in the 2011 fiscal year. “While the Court recognizes that obtaining legal representation, pro bono or otherwise, for every pro se litigant would be ideal, the resources needed to meet the demand are simply not available.”

Justice Johnson, joined by Justice Willett, dissented in part from the Court’s per curiam statement. Justice Lehrmann, joined in part by Justice Johnson, also dissented.  (Bold added).

So, while the forms may well be modified as a result of this process, that seems to be that on the underlying merits.

Congratulations to the Texas access advocacy community.  You have worked long and hard, with great skill and intelligence, against opposition that has been, for whatever reasons, intensely determined.  In so doing you have finally established the primacy of access principles, and also provided valuable data that will advance the access agenda in states that have already enjoyed a broader consensus.  You — and your opponents — have also brought a broader media attention to the access issue, and that can only be good.

Thanks, on all our behalf, and on behalf of so many that will now have access to justice.

Important Update (Later in the day, Nov 15.)

I have been informed that the forms are now legally in effect.

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About richardzorza

I am deeply involved in access to justice and the patient voice movement.
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