Thursday, December 28, 2006

Parenting Plan Forms en Espanol

The Northwest Justice Project has posted a new translation on Parenting Plans and Child Support for Dissolution Cases and Modifications of Dissolutions Cases / Planes de Crianza y Manutención de Menores para casos de Disolución (Divorcio) y Modificaciones de casos de Disolución. This is a big packet of forms and instructions -- 110 pages in all -- translated by a court-certified interpreter/translator.

Instructions in the packet are all in Spanish, and then the official court domestic relations forms has the Spanish translations inserted, line by line. A caution on the front of the packet reminds users that all the forms have to be filled out in English -- but having the line-by-line translations should make it so much easier for those whose primary language is Spanish.

Surely there are plenty of Spanish speakers who can function in English day to day but would have trouble with lines like "Unless an emergency exists, the parents shall use the designated process to resolve disputes relating to implementation of the plan, except those related to financial support." The translations should help them past these hard parts. (Of course, some native speakers of English might lack the literacy skills to handle the forms smoothly, but that's another issue.)

Having accessible forms for domestic relations is critical. In several jurisdictions studied, at least one divorcing party has no lawyer in 70-80% cases. (See post at Shlep.)

In Washington State (according to the 2000 census), there are over 321,000 people over 5 who speak Spanish at home. Over 155,000 of them speak English "less than well." Table.

Thanks for the lead: Michele Storms.

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