Anybody Can Represent Themselves in Court
Video Transcribed: Two options for getting divorced in Oklahoma without a lawyer. I’m Tulsa divorce attorney, James Wirth, and we’re talking about how to divorce in Oklahoma without an attorney.
So, first, off you are not required to have an attorney. Anybody can represent themselves in court. Whether that’s a practical or a good idea is another thing, but you are allowed to do so. So if you’re going to do that, how do you do that? There are primarily two ways to do that.
So first off, in Oklahoma, unlike in some other states like California where they’ve got forms where you can checkboxes at the courthouse, that’s not a thing for divorce proceedings in Oklahoma. Each divorce, the party is responsible for drafting their own pleadings and making sure that they comply with Oklahoma law and even the local court rules or the local judge’s rules in the way he likes things.
So that can be a complicated thing to do. So generally there are two options. One, you can hire a drafting service. So sometimes there are paralegals that maybe specialize in providing drafting services for people, or maybe they do that in their off time. There are also drafting services like Payless Divorce and other companies.
They provide documentation and can draft it up. If there is an agreement in place, they can try to draft those terms. So’s the first way to do that is you hire a drafting service to draft your pleadings, and then you go to court on your own, file that with the court clerk, get it with the judge, go through those processes.
The other way is, if you don’t want to pay for a drafting service, then you’re going to have to draft it on your own. So how do you do that if you don’t have experience? When people call me and say, I don’t have money for an attorney, I don’t have money for a drafting service, how do I get this done?
I generally tell them, “Well, court records are public records. So you can go down to the court or you can look online and look at other people’s failings. You can take a look at those and see the way that they did it, how they drafted it up. And you can find the cases that may be similar to yours, take pieces from here, pieces from there, and use that as a guideline to draft your own pleadings.”
So is that the best option? Probably not. I’m going to say your best option is hiring an attorney. But if you can’t afford an attorney, don’t want to use an attorney, don’t want to use a drafting service.
That’s your second option is, look at what has worked for other people in court cases, copy that as applicable. If you have any questions about either of those options or getting an attorney for you, I may be able to help you with that. Or you may be able to talk to somebody else in my office. For that, you can go to makelaweasy.com.