If it hasn’t been made evident by now, we love people here at AAT! We love hearing about their stories and passions for our community, but we also love hearing about what our fellow locals do and why they do it! For example, we have some wonderful neighbors who own/manager some fantastic local businesses and serve our town tremendously by doing so! This fact is why AAT has partnered up with our good friends at B3 Glass, to bring you all “Small Business Fridays!” Each week, we’ll feature a different, local small business and talk with its owner and hear about their journey, their business in general, as well as their heart for their customers and our city!
Life is full of significant events. Some of these events bring tears of joy, and some bring tears of sadness. Whatever the occasion, specific milestones come with many emotions to process. Therefore, the last thing anybody wants to do during these times is worry about lawyers, money, and legal documentation. Today’s highlighted business, and business owner recognizes this fact and desires to help people in our community do what they need to do to simply move on with the rest of their lives. We’re talking about Deborah Barnhart and her business, DPS of Northern Nevada. Although not an attorney, Deborah aims to provide affordable legal documentation and filing.
Before we talk more about what DPS does for members of the community, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself, Deborah? “I’m ex-Air Force. I was an information manager; I prepared our official documents, publications, and regulations. I was brought on to stand at the Global Strike Command to be their first publications and forms manager; this was all for a brand-new space/nuclear command. I have a criminal justice degree and worked as a truancy officer on Southern California, so I was very familiar with courts and court forms even before starting DPS, which I started here in Elko in January of 2017. When I started, I was located inside of Wright Motors on Court St. for a year, and now I have my current location across the street from the Court House.”
It sounds like you have a lot of life experiences, Deborah. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you do at DPS? “I do forms for divorces, adoptions, bankruptcies, name changes, answering petitions and motions. Many of the counties where I’ve lived have had their court forms online, but Elko county does not. So, I think that’s where a lot of my services really come in. So, what happens is, let’s say a couple is looking to get a divorce, they’ll come in, pick up what I like to call a simple “worksheet,” fill out all the information and bring it back. When they do, I’ll type it all up and get it through the county courts. My record, from when a couple comes in, to when their divorce is finalized, is actually twelve days! However, I can’t give legal advice. I can’t represent them in court; I can be in the gallery if they would like!”
That’s a great way to help people, Deborah! Do you love what you do every day? Does it bring you any sense of joy working with people and documents? “I love what I do down at DPS because, with Elko being so small, a person is limited in the number of attorneys of which they can seek help. Sometimes, a person is only given a certain amount of days to respond when served with something and to get in to see a good lawyer within twenty or ten days is almost impossible. I also do documentation work for a fraction of the standard costs, and I take payments! I think I’ve irked a lawyer or two, but I do get referred to a lot by some lawyers. I just don’t think anybody should be stuck and unable to move on because of money or because it all seems too big and scary with lawyers needing to get involved. Two other aspects of my business that give me satisfaction are name changes and step-parent adoptions! You’d be surprised; I do more men name changes than you would ever think. These are men who want to change their last name to honor the gentleman that actually raised them; maybe their dad was a dead-beat, and someone else was there. Normally, doing a name change like that would cost about $4,500, but I only charge $600.”
“People joke because I can work on a divorce between a guy and a gal and then marry them to someone else a little later on because I’m also a marriage officiant! I own the Hitching Post (wedding venue) which is right next to DPS. So, I want to put out a couple of sandwich boards which one would say “divorces done here” and a couple of feet forward having another one saying, “weddings done here!” Deborah joked. “It just worked out that way! I love it; I love doing marriages. Everyone is so thankful, sweet, and appreciative for whatever I do. The people here in Elko are so easy to work with. If I had a dime for everyone who said they should have come to DPS first…I’d have a lot of dimes!”
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See you around a local business, Elko!