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Texas Lawyers Fight Divorce-by-Form

State Supreme Court insists on making divorce process cheaper, easier
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2012 9:55 AM CST
Texas Lawyers Fight Divorce-by-Form
The Texas Supreme Court wants to make fill-in-the-blanks forms available to divorcing people who cannot afford lawyers, but Texas lawyers are opposed.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Divorce lawyers in Texas regularly charge $100 or more an hour, and the state Supreme Court wants to give couples looking to end their marriages a cheaper option: fill-in-the-blanks forms, made easy enough that they often eliminate the need for lawyers entirely. Unsurprisingly, Texas lawyers are fighting the move, reports the Wall Street Journal. "The client and the system are far better served by having a lawyer," said the president of the state's bar association.

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Supporters of the forms say the courts are just reflecting reality: The Journal reports that in the county that Austin sits in, 78% of divorces by childless couples in 2010-2011 were filed by self-represented parties. It's time, then, to make those forms as easy as possible to avoid mistakes, which only add to the courts' backlog, say supporters. The state Supreme Court will vote this spring on whether the new method should be instituted. (Read more Texas stories.)

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