It’s Always Good to Get Advice
Video Transcribed: Do I really need a lawyer to get divorced? We’re not fighting. My name is Brian L. Jackson. I’m a Tulsa Father’s Rights attorney here with Dads.Law, where fathers are not disposable. And I want to talk about whether or not you need a lawyer if you are dealing with an uncontested divorce.
As a preliminary matter, you always have the right to represent yourself in court. I mean, that’s a fundamental constitutional right. No one’s going to take that away from you. If you want to represent yourself, you can, and you may have very valid reasons for wanting to do that. Lawyers aren’t cheap, and if you’re financially pinched, that could be a problem.
However, when you’re making that decision, here are some things to keep in mind. Even with an uncontested divorce, there are pitfalls that could potentially come up later that you might not have thought of, particularly if it involves kids or if you guys have a lot of assets or a lot of liabilities. With kids, if you guys think you’re just going to agree and you have some really loosely worded schedule and then you end up crosswise later, you’re going to wind up back in court and spending a lot of money you don’t need to spend and it could create a lot of headaches. Also, you may have a situation where DHS is in the picture and you have to deal with them, and they require very specific statutory language and orders before they’ll sign it. And there are certain types of provisions too that, absent of compelling reason, the court just won’t let you put it in a decree.
One example is that a lot of people seem to labor under the illusion that they can waive child support. Nine times out of 10, at least in Tulsa County, you try to waive child support and the court won’t do it. They just won’t do it, even with joint custody split time. So those are some examples. If you have a lot of debts, you probably want to have some indemnity language built into your decree to make sure that whoever’s supposed to be paying it is agreeing to indemnify the other party against the creditor if something happens. If you have a lot of assets, especially if you have real property, you want to make sure that it’s worded properly so you don’t cloud up your title or you don’t end up with other problems over who owns what.
So yes, you can represent yourself. You may still want to consider having a lawyer, even if it’s just somebody who acts in an advisory capacity and they don’t walk into court for you, but they’re just there to give you advice, to help you draft a good decree because there’s just a lot of potential issues that can come up that you might not have thought of. And if it’s not done correctly and then a few years go by and a problem comes up, it may be that you can’t resolve it easily because the other party’s being non-cooperative or they may not even know where they are. I mean, if you’re talking about no children and it’s just property in a debt division and you end up with a clouded title on a pro property that you didn’t know about until you go to sell it or mortgage it if you don’t know where that person is, you’re going to be screwed. You’re going to have to file a quiet title and that’s expensive.
So it might be worth that couple of grand just to get someone to consult with so that you don’t have those problems. And if you’ve got questions about that or you’re dealing with a divorce, one place you can get a good divorce lawyer in Tulsa, Oklahoma is at Dads.Law, where fathers are not disposable.