My entire website and all of the documents and instructions I provide in the divorce actions I handle are written with extreme care and precise meaning. As a lawyer, I am obligated by law to be as complete and precise with the English language as possible. Indeed, it might be argued that precision with the legally-recognized language of a jurisdiction’s law is the reason for the existence of lawyers. At the same time, without sacrificing accuracy, I write in ordinary English, not in what some refer to as “legalese”.
While the internet and other sources provide tools for translation into other languages, they have proven to be insufficiently accurate to be useful. Moreover, since I speak, read and understand only English, I have no way to determine the accuracy of any type of translation, be it internet-provided or even by a lawyer fluent in the other language. Accordingly, because English is the only language I fully understand and in which I can trust myself to be accurate, I am bound to use only English in my law practice.
I understand that this can be a problem in certain circumstances, perhaps most often when I have a client divorcing a defendant spouse who has difficulty with English (or who may not understand it at all). In my law practice of low-cost, simple, uncontested, no-fault divorces, both my client and the client’s spouse must be in full, total agreement and be willing and able to read and follow my instructions. Everyone who becomes one of my clients is told this before they spend a penny on legal fees. That happens in my free information sent to everyone who contacts me about my services. I let no one become a client unless and until they have received my free information (which is provided with absolutely NO obligation, by email, through the US Postal Service or both).
Knowing that only English will be used, a client must do what is necessary to secure the full cooperation of the defendant spouse and maintain that cooperation. That can mean securing the translation of documents. Friends, relatives or acquaintances may be called upon to help with that. If that assistance is not available, a paid translation service may be needed. Yes, that would be an additional expense, but that would be the case even if one retained a full-service law firm and spent several thousand dollars on the divorce instead of several hundred.
The important thing in a low-cost, simple, uncontested, no-fault divorce is that your spouse signs the required documents. If your spouse signs, the Court will accept that the signatures were made with the full understanding of the signed documents. Your spouse alone bears the responsibility of your spouse’s signatures. Claiming later not to have understood what was signed will not change anything.