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Pro se divorce is on the rise (access required)

More people are going to court without a lawyer in divorces and other civil cases, report judges and lawyers around Virginia. The reception they get may depend on the court they enter, say legal aid lawyers who point to discrepancies in the handling of uncontested divorce cases by non-lawyers. While the trend may correspond with the ...

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2 comments

  1. We recently posted uncontested divorce forms that are in 4 module, and were designed to be legally sufficient in all of the Virginia jurisdictions. These modules are fill-inable and have links to many state forms including waiver of service and the privacy addendum.

    They can be found at http://www.potomaclegalaid.org Divorce
    http://www.potomaclegalaid.org/Family%20Matters/ Divorce and then for example, One-Year Separation http://www.potomaclegalaid.org/_literature_35246/One-Year_Separation plus Request for Ore Tenus Hearing http://www.potomaclegalaid.org/_literature_35241/Request_for_Ore_Tenus_Hearing.

    These forms represent the middle ground for pro ses between simply posting forms that have to be re-typed and forms that are described in the article that are “built” after questions are answered.

  2. It’s great to see the Virginia Lawyers Weekly covering this topic. Nationally, the number of people going to court on their own is rising. Organizations, like the Self-Represented Litigation Network (http://www.srln.org and http://www.selfhelpsupport.org), have developed to support law librarians, court clerks, judges, legal aid advocates, and others who are working to help self-represented litigants gain access to the courts.

    I’m particularly excited about Virginia’s move toward helping self-represented litigants generate their own documents. As the Project Coordinator for the National Document Assembly Project, I’ve had the opportunity to work with other states, such as Idaho (http://idaholegalaid.org/Home/PublicWeb/SelfHelpTemp) and Illinois (http://www.illinoislegalaid.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.formLibrary) as they have introduced these types of resources and been able to watch how they improve access to justice.

    Since VA is just at the point of developing the forms, automating the documents is a good while down the road. However, in the meantime, VALegalAid.org has plenty of free legal information available.

    Kate
    Project Coordinator
    Pro Bono Net

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