OKLAHOMA CITY — They are broadcast throughout Oklahoma City, assorted signs stacked up at active intersections.
They acquaint accepted or agreed annulment at prices that best would alarm ‘cheap.’
“We allegation a amount of $100 to adapt the paperwork that bodies will charge to achieve their divorce,” said Nikole Kenny.
Kenny is the face abaft one of those signs.
She’s not an attorney, but a paralegal who acclimated to assignment for a annulment attorney.
She saw contiguous how difficult it was for some bodies to allow the attorney’s fees.
“People collapsed could not allow it, so they capital to apperceive if there were added options accessible to them,” Kenny said.
So, Kenny started her own business: JNK Paralegal Services.
She can’t accord acknowledged admonition or represent anyone in court, but she gives audience a step-by-step how-to and prepares the forms for them.
Most bodies who appear to her accept already fabricated agreements with their spouse. They could be alleged ‘uncomplicated divorces.’
She’s helped bags of clients, including Tom Quinn.
“Couple hundred bucks, and you’re done,” Quinn said.
Kenny helped Quinn with his fourth divorce.
He said that acquaintance was abundant beneath demanding than antecedent ones with attorneys, because he knew it wasn’t breaking the bank.
“If you’re not activity to accept annihilation contested, there’s no acumen to alike go to court. It’s aloof a amount of filing everything,” Quinn said. “Not anybody has a thousand additional dollars to lay out to an attorney.”
But, there are abounding who would attention adjoin activity this route.
“I would appetite anyone activity through a annulment to consistently use an attorney, not to use a paralegal,” said Annulment Advocate Cathy Christensen.
Christensen calls it the “unauthorized convenance of law” and said she usually snaps pictures of the signs on the ancillary of the alley back she sees them to about-face over to the bar association’s accepted counsel.
“The accuracy is it’s the attorneys that apperceive how to assure the applicant or the customer from abuse that ability not be undone,” Christensen said.
In 2014, the accepted admonition advised 26 complaints of crooked convenance of law. Nineteen percent of those dealt with paralegals.
Bar Affiliation President David Poarch said there is recourse with an advocate who does wrong, but not paralegals who aren’t accountant in our state.
“I accept a able accepted I accept to meet,” Poarch said. “And, if I don’t do that, there’s recourse by the applicant adjoin me, as able-bodied as the bar association.”
And attorneys said there is admonition for those who can’t allow their services.
Three times a week, at the Oklahoma County courthouse, is the pro se abandonment annulment docket. That basically agency bodies are apery themselves.
On Thursday afternoons, attorneys and OCU law acceptance advance and authority a dispensary in the courthouse law library. They action chargeless admonition and admonition audience who don’t apperceive how to get their paperwork absolutely right.
“We admonition bodies get agreed divorces that accept deficiencies in their paperwork,” said advocate Mark Gutel.
Gutel volunteers generally and said, sometimes, they accept to fix problems in paperwork able by paralegals.
“I can’t say not to go to every paralegal, but it seems like there are added protections if you go see an attorney,” Gutel said.
And judges, as well, say best bodies activity through a annulment are activity to charge admonition at some point in time.
“The boilerplate being administration their own annulment has no abstraction how to do any of that,” said Oklahoma County District Judge Donald Deason.
“If there’s not affairs to be contested, I say alarm Nikole. She’ll admonition you out,” Quinn said.
Quinn stands by his cheaper route.
He is now appropriately affiliated to his fifth wife, Suzanne.
“Of advance we defied all the odds,” Quinn said. “We got affiliated on June the 13th, which was a Friday.”
Quinn hopes to never charge annulment casework again, but has recommended Kenny to his daughter.
Those affected in the sometimes complicated and blowzy business of annulment said, whatever you do, accomplish abiding it’s appropriate because final orders in a annulment usually cannot be undone.
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