Pro Se Divorce In Kentucky

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Many people cannot afford a divorce. Pro se litigants are causing a huge strain on our judicial resources. Legal Aid is without the staffing and finances to help further. To its credit, Jefferson County , Kentucky Family Court has developed a set of forms for clerks to provide pro se litigants for post-divorce motions. New is a set of forms to assist pro se litigants from the outset. They are not finalized and the Louisville Bar Association has issued a call to lawyers to come by and help review the 100 pages drafted to date. Please take them up on the offer! The better assistance the clerks can be to those who cannot afford counsel, the less onerous our judge's jobs will be.
Here's the email call to action:
"The Pro Bono Consortium, in coordination with Family Court and the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, has developed pro se divorce forms that are in their final stages of editing. The pro se packet (over 100 pages) is now available for review at the LBA office and we encourage your participation.
These forms were developed to help meet the needs of those who cannot afford an attorney and appear in Family Court each week unprepared to navigate the legal system. In Jefferson County, at least one-half of the cases heard during motion hour are pro se on one or both sides. Pro se cases create a backlog as most litigants appear before the judges without proper documentation and have to return multiple times to resolve their issues. More importantly, it may limit access to court services for the most needy in our community.
As a reminder, a pro se post-decree packet was created in 2005 through a pilot project between the Consortium and Family Court. Over 100 packets are distributed weekly and the Family Court judges have seen the positive impact of providing accurate forms to these litigants.
If you are interested in reviewing these documents, they will be available at the LBA office from Monday, September 25th until Monday, October 9th. They will not be available on-line until they are ready for distribution. Notification of their completion will be sent to all LBA members via email and through Bar Briefs.
The LBA’s Board of Directors will review comments from its members as they consider endorsement of the pro se divorce program.
The pro se documents will be evaluated over time and modifications made as necessary. For further information, please contact Kim Farmer, Executive Director, 569-1369, kfarmer@loubar.org or Kate Lindsay, Pro Bono Manager at klindsay@loubar.org."
I am known to bristle at the suggestion that the practice of divorce law is filling out forms, and I have eschewed forms for twenty-five years. Yet, the volume of cases inundating our courts, and the very limited time our judges have to consider the most complex financial and psychological issues, requires that we who value our system of jurisprudence somehow deal with the massive inundation of cases clogging our dockets. For people who want or must help themselves, making the task easier for them makes the task of the judges many more times less difficult. Each week they come back on the same motion because it wasn't done correctly the first time, means less judicial time available to hear substantive issues.

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