The Texas Supreme Court this month will discuss — and possibly decide how to proceed with — a set of pro se divorce forms for indigents that have created controversy this year in the Texas legal community.
“I think the court will look at the details line by line. They will look at the policy issues and try to decide how best to proceed,” says Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht, the court’s liaison to the Texas Access to Justice Commission (TAJC) and the high court’s Uniform Forms Task Force.
The forms spurred a fight, pitting Texas family law groups and the State Bar of Texas, both of which oppose the forms, against the forms task force and the TAJC, which both helped create the forms.
Texas Supreme Court rules attorney Marisa Secco says she created a memo about the forms project that summarizes feedback by the State Bar’s Solutions 2012 task force, the Texas Family Law Section and Texas Family Law Foundation, the TAJC and the Texas Supreme Court Advisory Committee. The court’s nine justices will review the memo and discuss the forms at an upcoming administrative conference, she says.
Hecht says the court hasn’t scheduled the exact date. But according to the court’s website, the justices will meet for conferences on Aug. 9, 10, 14, 22 and 23.
“We’re trying to get opinions out, too, so I don’t know when we’ll get to it — as soon as we can,” he says.
Aside from feedback they submitted to the Supreme Court Advisory Committee in April, the Family Law Section and Family Law Foundation on May 22 wrote to Justice Debra Lehrmann to suggest “compromises.” Those included, among other things, that the high court should embrace existing forms in the Texas Family Law Practice Manual and on TexasLawHelp.org and that the court create a Family Law Advisory Committee to “become the starting point for family law-related Court activities.”
-- Angela Morris