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Self-Represented Litigants and the Courts

In response to the many requests for additional information on the statewide forms proposed by the Supreme Court's Uniform Forms Task Force, the Texas Access to Justice Commission is providing the following:

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Reports Sent to Supreme Court Advisory Committee or Supreme Court by Commission, Texas Family Law Foundation and SBOT Family Law Section, and SBOT Solutions 2012 Task Force.
  3. Research Conducted by the Commission on Statewide Forms in the 50 States plus D.C.
  4. Correspondence Relating to Forms from the Commission Chair, the Family Law Section Chair, the State Bar President, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas
  5. Forms and Instructions for the Uncontested Divorce with No Minor Children and No Real Property Kit Sent to the Court for Approval on January 11, 2012
  6. Supplemental Report to the Court on the Activities of the Commission's Self-Represented Litigant Committee and its Six Subcommittees (referred to as the "Seven Point Plan" by the Family Law Section Chair and the Texas Family Council)
  7. Press Coverage

Please feel free to contact Trish McAllister, Executive Director of the Commission, for additional information, data or research, including extensive research conducted by an independent party, at atjmail@texasbar.com, or 512.427.1855.   

Executive Summary                           

Documents sent to Supreme Court Advisory Committee or Supreme Court:

 1. Texas Access to Justice Commission:

2.  Texas Family Law Foundation and Family Law Section:

3.  SBOT Solutions 2012 Task Force:

Research

  1. State Responses on Statewide Forms
  2. States Form Research
  3. Pro Se Statistics Summary
  4. National Center for State Courts Survey on Forms

Correspondence

  1. Family Law Chair Email to Family Law Section No. 1 - Aug. 8, 2011
  2. Commission Email to Family Law Chair - Aug. 10, 2011
  3. Family Law Chair Email to Family Law Section No. 2 - Aug. 11, 2011
  4. Commission Response to Family Law Email - Aug. 18, 2011
  5. Family Law Chair Letter to Commission Chair Aug. 24, 2011
  6. Commission Chair Letter to Family Law Chair Aug. 29, 2011
  7. Family Law Foundation Email No. 3 & Survey - Aug. 30, 2011
  8. Forms Task Force Chair to Family Law Chair - Sept 20, 2012
  9. Family Law Chair Email to Family Law Section No. 4 - Oct 12, 2011
  10. Family Law Chair Email to Family Law Section No. 5 - Dec 21, 2011
  11. Family Law Chair Email to Family Law Section No. 6 - Dec 27, 2011
  12. Family Law Chair Letter to Bar Pres. - Jan. 2, 2012
  13. Commission Letter to Bar Board - Jan. 3, 2012
  14. Bar Pres. Letter to Supreme Court - Jan. 5, 2012
  15. Commission Letter to Supreme Court - Jan. 6, 2012
  16. OCA Memo to Court - Jan. 6 2012
  17. Family Law Chair Email No.7 Stmt on ATJ Contributions - Jan. 25, 2012
  18. Court Letter to Bar Pres. - Jan. 25 2011
  19. Forms Task Force Chair Letter to Family Law Chair - Jan. 26, 2012
  20. Family Law Chair Email to Family Law Section No. 8 - Jan. 27, 2012
  21. Bar Pres. Letter to Court re Bar Task Force - Jan. 30, 2012
  22. Family Law Chair to Forms Task Force Chair - Feb. 2, 2012   
  23. Family Law Chair Email to Family Law Section No. 9 - Feb. 14, 2012
  24. Family Law Chair Email to Family Law Section No. 10 - Feb. 16, 2012
  25. Family Law Chair Email to Family Law Section No. 11 - Mar. 14, 2012
  26. Family Law Chair Email to Family Law Section No. 12 - Mar. 29, 2012
  27. Family Law Chair Email to Family Law Section No. 13 - Apr. 3, 2012
  28. Family Law Chair Email to Family Law Section No. 14 - Apr. 16, 2012
  29. Family Law Section and Foundation Letter to SCOT - May 2, 2012
  30. Family Law Chair Email to Family Law Section No. 15 - May 3, 2012
  31. Family Law Chair Email to Family Law Section No. 16 - May 8, 2012
  32. Family Law Section and Foundation Letter to Justice Lehrmann - May 22,2012
  33. Family Law Section - Ideas for Pro Se Litigants - May 22, 2012
  34. Family Law Chair Email to Family Law Section No. 17 - May 24, 2012
  35. Family Law Chair Letter to Commission Executive Director - July 25, 2012
  36. Commission Chair Letter to Family Law Chair - July 30, 2012
  37. Family Law Chair Email to Family Law Section - October 15, 2012
  38. Family Law Chair Email to Family Law Section - November 14, 2012
  39. Family Law Chair Email to Family Law Section - March 11, 2013
  40. Family Law Section Information Comparison Sheet

     

Forms and Instructions:

The Instructions, Petition for Divorce, Waiver of Citation, and Final Decree of Divorce have been changed based on input from the members of the Supreme Court Advisory Committee subcommittee assigned to review the forms. Language added to the forms has been highlighted.

  1. Instructions
  2. Affidavit of Indigency
  3. Original Petition of Divorce
  4. Answer
  5. Waiver
  6. Final Decree of Divorce
  7. Certificate of Last Known Address
  8. Notice of Change of Address
  9. Affidavit of Military Status   

Supplemental SRL Committee Report  

Press Coverage on Statewide Forms

May 15, 2013
Cutting Lawyers Out of the Divorce Process - KNCDFW Ch. 5

March 15, 2013
Houston Volunteer Lawyers use Texas Supreme Court's pro se divorce forms for clinic - Texas Lawyer Tex Parte Blog

March 11, 2013
Fight Over Family Law Forms Moves to Legislature - Texas Lawyer

December 17, 2012
Impact Players - Family Law Forms: Stewart Gagnon - Texas Lawyer

December 7, 2012
Texas allows lawyer-free divorces - Marilyn Stowe Blog

December 6, 2012
New Forms Allow Couples to Divorce Without Attorney - The Texas Tribune

December 3, 2012
Experts debate DIY divorce method - TimesRecordNews

November 27, 2012
Texas DIY divorce forms are far from uncontested - Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Texas Lawyers Oppose DIY Divorce - United Press International, Inc.

November 26, 2012
Texas Supreme Court simplifies paperwork for some divorce forms - Fort Worth Star-Telegram

November 19, 2012
High Court Approves Initial Set of Pro Se Divorce Forms - Texas Lawyer

November 15, 2012
Pro Se Divorce Forms Get Approved From Justice - Court House News

Texas Supreme Court approves pro se divorce forms - Texas Lawyer Blog

September 10, 2012
Family Law Section Hires PR Firm to Promote Pro Bono Initiative - Texas Lawyer

September 8 , 2012
Court works to serve increasing number who appear without an attorney - Las Cruces Sun-News

August 1, 2012
Hot Topic in August: Texas Supreme Court to Weigh Pro Se Divorce Forms for Indigents - Texas Lawyer Blog

June 19, 2012
Family Form Foes Fight Fiercely - Austin Bar Association Austin Lawyer

May 7, 2012
TAJC Committee Studying Changes to Civil-Procedure Rule on Forms - Texas Lawyer Blog

April 23, 2012
Forms Fracas Inches Toward Summer Finale - Texas Lawyer

April 17, 2012
Pro/Con View: Should Texas Allow DIY Divorce Forms - Beaumont Enterprise

April 16, 2012
Texas Wants to Make DIY Divorces Easier, But Judge Asks: Aren't They Easy Enough Already - Dallas Observer

April 13, 2012

Texas Supreme Court Considers DIY Divorce - YNN

Panel Considers Forms That Would Allow Lawyer-Less Divorces
- Dallas News

Texas Supreme Court Board Mulls Divorce Forms - Houston Chronicle

Texas Supreme Court Board Mulls Divorce Forms - Austin American Statesman

April 12, 2012
Battle Heats Up Before Supreme Court Advisory Committee Reviews Pro Se Divorce Forms - Tex Parte Blog

April 12, 2012
Do-It-Yourself Divorces Could Be Coming To Texas - Public News Service

April 11, 2012
Give DIY Litigants Help With Forms - San Antonio Express News Editorial Board

April 11, 2012
Conflicting Claims Emerge on Pro Se Uncontested Divorce Kits - Quorum Report

April 9, 2012
Some Say Proposed Divorce Procedures for the Poor Have More Impact Than Intended - Quorum Report

April 6, 2012
Texans Need a DIY Divorce Option - San Antonio Express News

April 2, 2012
High Court, Family Lawyers Debate Push for Standardized Divorce Forms - American Statesman

March 4, 2012
For an Easy, Affordable, Lawyer-Free Divorce, Check "Yes": View - Bloomberg

February 24, 2012
Divorce-by-Form Riles Texas Bar - The Wall Street Journal

February 20, 2012
Another Forms Dispute, Family Law Groups Want More Disclosure - Texas Lawyer

February 15, 2012
Family Law Groups Push for More Disclosure After Forms Dispute - Law.Com

February 12, 2012
Judge: Complicated Divorce Process Slows Down Court - Tyler Paper

February 10, 2012
Texas Suffering From Shortage of Free Legal Aid - KAVU Victoria

February 9, 2012
Simplified Divorce Forms Meet with Opposition from Some Abilene Attorneys - Abilene Reporter-News

February 8, 2012
No Money? Thinking You Can't Get Legal Help? - Victoria Advocate

February 6, 2012
Bar Task Force to Study Issues Related to Indigent Pro Se Litigants - Texas Lawyer

February 3, 2012
Kilday Hart - Divorce Forms Divide Two Groups of Texas Lawyers - Houston Chronicle

February 2, 2012
Panel Drafts Forms for Do-It-yourself Divorce - KUT Radio - Austin

February 1, 2012
State Considering Standardized Form for Simpler Divorces - Waco Tribune-Herald

January 30, 2012
Court Won't Suspend Task Force's Work on Pro Se Divorce Forms - Texas Lawyer

January 28, 2012
Do-It-Yourself Litigants Need Help - San Antonio Express-News

January 26, 2012
Texas High Court Moves Forward to Create Divorce Forms - KDAF-TV

January 25, 2012
"Divorce Form" Question Worries Family Law Attorneys - WOAI News Radio 1200

January 25, 2012
Easier Divorces? - KTSM News Channel 9 - El Paso

January 25, 2012
Divorce Forms A Step Closer to Reality - KXAN, NBC-TV Austin

January 25, 2012
Texas High Court Moves Forward to Create Divorce Forms - Texas Tribune

January 24, 2012
Some Family Lawyers Oppose Creating Divorce Forms - Texas Tribune

January 20, 2012
State Bar of Texas Board Votes to Ask Supreme Court to Suspend Work of Task Force - TexParte Blog

January 16, 2012
Draft Forms for Pro Se Divorce Litigants Create Controversy - Texas Lawyer

National Press Coverage on Self-Represented Litigants

February 3, 2012


Pro Bono Services, Help for Pro Se Litigants Needed to Bridge Funding Gap, Say Legal Aid Providers

-

ABA Now

September 13, 2011
Is it time for mandatory pro bono? - The National Law Journal

 

 
   
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