Divorce has been declining over the past few years while “do-it-yourself” (DIY) divorce has increased. The financial crisis starting in 2008 created many victims. Higher unemployment, lost or reduced income and home foreclosures increased the stress on many families across the country and in Texas. Unfortunately, many couples are unable to afford a divorce. We at Patricia L. Brown & Associates have a solution.
Divorces fall into several categories. First, contested or uncontested, with the latter always being far less costly. In contested divorces in Texas, they can be settled by collaboration, rival lawyer agreement, or litigated. Collaboration may not be the least costly route of a contested divorce, depending on the degree of contentiousness. Litigation tends to be the most expensive.
TheTexas Supreme Court recently issued an order concerning do-it-yourself divorce forms to be approved by the Court for pro se (self) representation in divorce cases throughout the state. Self representation was always available to Texas residents but these forms are presumed to simplify the process further.
We at Patricia L. Brown and Associates welcome new tools which assist those Texans who need a divorce but may not be able to afford full legal support. We do, however, concur with the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Texas, which recently announced that do-it-yourself divorce forms approved by the Texas Supreme Court could put the property rights of Texans at risk.
The Court’s order mentions that 58,000 Texas divorces were filed pro se in 2011. We believe that approving Court-sanctioned divorce forms will increase that number. Some people divorcing with the use of forms could wind up waiving their property rights or other rights because they don’t understand the process.
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, including Patricia L. Brown & Associates.
We recognize the growing need for inexpensive divorces. But we also recognize the inherent risks in DIY divorces, where a mistake could haunt a client for years in the future. Consequently, we developed our DivorceXpressTM for uncontested divorces. We encourage all those interested in obtaining a divorce to carefully do their own homework, no matter which route they choose.