Earlier this month, the Texas Supreme Court approved a set of pro se divorce forms for indigent couples with no real property. The purpose of these forms is to provide poor couples without children or real property the option to secure a divorce without retaining attorneys. The court "is confident that these forms will be a useful tool in addressing the burgeoning population of litigants who cannot afford representation and are unable to obtain representation through a legal service provider."
However, the endorsement of this process was not unanimous. One Texas Supreme Court Justice expressed concerns that the availability of these forms may lead people who could and should receive the benefit of experienced counsel to believe that the forms will adequately protect their interests. Other Justices joined and expressed concerns that "do-it-yourself" litigation can be a dangerous road and could seriously affect people's most important interests including retirement and personal property.
Similar forms exist in Pennsylvania for litigants to file for a divorce without counsel. However, to do so can be extremely risky. If you happen to be in a situation such as the one described above where the parties have no children or property, it may be possible to navigate the complex procedural steps without an attorney. However, if you wish to raise any issues other than legally ending your marriage, such as making claims to items or property, money from your marriage, or alimony, speaking with an attorney is a necessity. When considering whether or not to pursue a divorce pro se, remember: just because you can, doesn't necessarily mean you should.
Contact our Pittsburgh law office, Gusty A.E. Sunseri & Associates, for questions regarding divorce and other related issues.