Any time you have a disagreement that needs to be resolved in court, a form must be filed that tells the court why you need legal help. Without the proper form, you cannot file your case and cannot access the court system.
If you have an attorney, the attorney will prepare the necessary paperwork and file it in court for you. If you can’t afford an attorney, it can be very hard to figure out which form must be filed and how to properly fill it out.
Fill-in-the-blank forms can help those who are in the unenviable position of representing themselves in court without an attorney. The Supreme Court of Texas and the Commission are working to develop easy to understand forms and instructions for use in relatively simple legal matters. The first set of forms was developed by the Texas Supreme Court’s Protective Order Task Force in 2005 to help victims of domestic violence get a protective order against their abuser. The Protective Order Kit can be found here. If you have a question or comment about any of these forms or instructions, please contact the Commission at email@example.com or 512.427.1855.
The next set of forms and instructions, Divorce Set One, was developed by the Texas Supreme Court’s Uniform Forms Task Force in 2011. The Court approved these forms for use in uncontested divorces that do not involve children or real property in November 2012. Divorce Set One includes instructions on when to use each form and how to correctly fill it out. Divorce Set One includes: an Affidavit of Indigency, an Original Petition for Divorce, a Waiver of Service, a Final Decree of Divorce, a Certificate of Last Known Address, a Notice of Change of Address, and an Affidavit of Military Status. If you have a question or comment about any of these forms or instructions, please contact the Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512.427.1855.
Prior to the approval of the Divorce Set One forms by the Supreme Court, there was a robust debate as to whether forms were necessary. Views from both sides of the debate are provided below:
- Executive Summary of the Texas Access to Justice Commission Report
- Reports Sent to the Supreme Court of Texas or its Advisory Committee by the Texas Access to Justice Commission
- Correspondence by the Texas Family Law Foundation and SBOT Family Law Section:
- SBOT Solutions 2012 Task Force
- Research Conducted by the Commission on Statewide Forms in the 50 States plus D.C.
- Correspondence available upon request regarding the Forms from the Commission Chair, the Family Law Section Chair, the State Bar President, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas
- 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)
- Press Coverage available upon request.
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 email@example.com or 512.427.1855.