Divorce in Peace authors Judge John Roach and Laura Roach join Cathy DeWitt Dunn on Women Money & Power Talk Radio to discuss their book.
Wedding Season is Here. Let’s Talk about Divorce.
Judge and family law attorney write book and revolutionize business of divorce
In the height of wedding season, why talk about divorce? Because there is no better time, especially as almost 50 percent of all these blessed unions will end up in a courtroom. One couple – both experts in the field of divorce – stands together in the thought that divorce doesn’t have to destroy everything. In their new book, Divorce in Peace: Alternatives to War from a Judge and Lawyer, they outline the new philosophy that they say many couples are requesting as marriage – and divorce – move into a new era.
Texas District Court Judge John Roach and family law attorney Laura Roach have seen and participated in more than 20,000 heart-wrenching and devastating divorces. They believe it is neither the couples nor the lawyers to blame; instead, the problem lies in a system that sets up husband and wife as adversaries, two fighting forces where the supposed winner takes all. The Roach’s mission is to revolutionize the way couples approach divorce by informing, educating, and empowering them to take control of their circumstances and resolve their disputes with minimal damage to themselves, their children, and their finances. Divorce in Peace is the “conscious uncoupling” for the rest of us.
“We are helping couples to rewrite the narrative around divorce,” said John Roach. “We have all heard, and many of us have witnessed, the worst of divorce. Many grew up in a home that suffered from divorce. Today’s couple is one who ultimately doesn’t want that, and knows that what’s best for themselves and their families is a new approach to ‘conscious uncoupling.’”
Divorce in Peace outlines and simplifies the family law court system, the high costs of fighting over a divorce, various solutions and methods for settling a divorce without a court trial, and legal steps to making your divorce decision final. Throughout the book, John provides his insights in the judge’s perspective and Laura in the mediator’s perspective. Divorce in Peace, released in May 2016, is available to purchase online at, Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. ($14.99 Kindle, $32.95 hardcover, $18.95 paperback)
“Divorce doesn’t have to be an atom bomb that annihilates everything you have built separately and together,” noted Laura Roach. “Though there is hurt, and disappointment, and mourning, there can also be hope. For many couples, divorce truly is the answer. But a devastating divorce isn’t a necessity. With the expertise we outline in this book and in our online community, we define a divorce for a new decade.”
In addition to the Divorce in Peace book, Laura and John believe it is crucial for couples who want to divorce in peace to find like-minded professionals – attorneys, financial planners, mental health professionals, and others – who are committed to the same principles of peaceful resolution. They created a web site of attorneys in family law who have committed to the Divorce in Peace Pledge (think Angie’s List for family law attorneys) who pledge to attempt to settle divorce in non-adversarial manner to minimize emotional and financial impact of the case through mediation, collaborative law, or arbitration, and do not pursue disputes where the cost is greater than the benefit to you and your family.
John Roach is a Texas district court judge with a true passion for the law. Those who appear in his courtroom quickly learn he takes the decisions he has to make very seriously. As a judge, he has had a front-row seat to more than 10,000 family law cases. He has witnessed couples completely destroy their personal finances and family relationships in contested divorces. As a judge, he also interviews children of those couples who are going through a divorce; where he has listened to the heart-wrenching stories these kids tell about the trouble in their home. John has watched as the adversarial nature of the family law court system has taken its toll on countless families. He knew there was a better way.
Laura Roach is best known for her high-energy personality and her uncanny ability to help people reach a resolution to their problems. As a partner at the law firm Albin Roach, a family law attorney and mediator, she has helped more than 2,000 families work through their divorce issues and has represented thousands of clients going through a divorce. Like John, she has seen people who once loved each other turn against one another and fight until there is no fight left, and no money left to fight. As an attorney, she has been in the trenches fighting the battles that are required when people are forced to be adversaries in open court. As a mediator, she tries to salvage what is left after the case has gotten too far out of control.
Cathy DeWitt Dunn: Good morning and welcome back live to Women, Money, and Power. I am Cathy DeWitt Dunn. Steve, it’s great to have you on the show today.
Steve: Glad to be here, it’s a beautiful day, Cathy.
Cathy DeWitt Dunn: Yes, absolutely. You know, and I’m really excited about our show today. It’s a little bit something different and I’m thrilled to have a little bit of a different format today. So you wanna stay tuned, we’re gonna talk about divorce, that’s a big word, isn’t it Steve?
Steve: It is and when it comes to retirement assets and planning for your future, there’s a lot of things you need to know in regards to divorce.
Cathy: I know, and I tell you what? Unfortunately I went through one of those many years ago, so there is typically one or two people that financially do well during that scenario. For a lot of people that are out there that might not know, I’m a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst and I hope a lot of families that are going through a divorce and especially this time of the year the holidays are right around the corner, etc., there’s two people that really make out well in a divorce scenario and it’s his attorney and her attorney.
So, you know, there’s a way that you can really reduce your expenses on that, and I’m really pleased today that we’re gonna talk about divorce in peace and it can be done. So with that being said later in the show today, I’m going to have Judge John Roach, he’s in the 296th Circuit in Collin County. He’s been a judge, it seems like I think forever and his name has been in Collin County for as long as I can remember, and one thing that’s really interesting about him is that everybody that’s ever appeared in front of his bench, they know that he takes what he does very seriously and he makes decisions very quickly. And when a divorce happens and things happen with people in their lives, that’s sometimes the best thing that can happen just put an end and put out the smoke, and let’s make some decisions.
So one of the things that’s pretty interesting about him and his wife, Laura Roach, and she’s also an attorney here in town is, is that they try to help people come to a resolution with their problems and it’s pretty an interesting concept because people are so bitter and they get so angry that in the end, they end up just spending all of their money on their anger. Where as I’m on the other end, getting a divorce many years ago, one of the things that I thought Steve was is that I’m gonna be smart about this. I don’t want the one only one that I wanna win is have me win, right? I wanna save all that money.
So a lot of people are looking towards collaborative law, because like you were saying with the assets, I mean, in retirement, you know, that’s one of the largest assets typically people have is their home and their retirement savings, and you wanna have that depleted because you’re gonna need that money for the rest of your lifetime.
Steve: Right, Cathy, and I think one of the important things here is the fact that there’s a lot of experience that goes behind this. You know, we take your experiences on the financial side, but now as a certified divorce financial analyst and then we take Judge John Roach’s experience and just the collaborative effect of you guys and him being on the show, has been really incredible and it’s a really good thing for our audience because we all know the statistics, we don’t have to spell them out over the radio.
Divorce is something that most likely is gonna happen, so you have to have a partner on your side that’s gonna be able to help you navigate those tough times.
Cathy: One that you win is… The ultimate goal is, is to win, right? And win means having money in your bank account, not spending it along the way with all the attorneys.
Cathy: And I’ve had a couple of other attorneys, you know, throughout the years on this show talking about how ridiculous in some of the things and what people argue about. So they wrote a book, “Divorce in Peace,” and we have a link on our website at Women, Money and Power, to their website that you could actually order this book, and one of the things that’s nice about this book it puts in perspective. He tells them stories about some things that have happened in front of him, what to do, what not to do. And, you know, before when they were in our offices just some of the crazy things that he hears behind the bench, it just I don’t even know how he can keep a sanity.
But with him being a judge here in Collin County, him and his wife decided that people really needed to take a look at divorce in a different way, so we’re gonna have them on our show today and talk about things that you might think about later down the road. And also with that being said, Steve, now that we’re coming up on the holidays, now it’s also the financial season with people and we really wannna help them protect and grow their assets.
Steve: Yeah, Cathy, we definitely do. There’s a lot of exciting opportunities that are out there due to where the markets out right now and pricing, and there’s ways for us to leverage a portfolio and provide different guaranteed lifetime income streams. But, you know, the challenge is always gonna be, you’ve gotta pick up the phone and call us. You have to come in and visit, you’ve gotta sit down and see what your options are and we can do that for you.
Cathy: Yeah, and we’re also gonna talk next week a little bit about leveraging your money. Do you have a PPA in place? Do you have tax free income that’s gonna later come out to you ninefold? That’s leveraging your money, that’s part of financial planning that people really don’t think about, and Steve we have a quick video on one of our other websites at retirementwatchusa.com, that talks about leveraging your money and having benefits come out tax-free.
Steve: Yeah, Cathy, it’s a magnificent video, white board video that’s absolutely incredible, it’s so interesting how those artist can draw as fast as they do, I wish I have that type of skill, but definitely we wanna go to retirementwatchusa.com to view that video.
Cathy: Yeah, and inside of that video, Steve, one of the things that I find most interesting is that how people can take $100,000 or $200,000, you can do it lump sum or you can do it over 10-pay I guess it is, right?
Cathy: Leverage your money later down the road and one other things that I did with my husband, Rocky Dunn here in town is is that we went ahead and decided that we would like to start off our PPA with $10,000 a month and tax-free benefits for each of us, and it’s growing at a rate of 3% per year and each and every year that we do not go on claim, that’s gonna help us with our future, help your costs, so that’s right now $20,000 a month and tax-free income that we have if needed.
Steve: Yeah, Cathy, that’s absolutely incredible and one of the main issues when facing retirement is healthcare. There’s an absorbent amount of money that’s going to have to go to, you know, nursing home facility, assisted living, folks that come into the house to help take care of you, so that could be anywhere from 30% to well over 100% of which you have saved all these years. So you have the ability now with the plan that we’re gonna talk to you about, the PPA to take 10% to 15% of your portfolio, lump sum it over and provide benefits that are guaranteed for the rest of your life.
Cathy: Yeah, and that’s a tremendous amount of money.
Cathy: Tax-free, I mean and that’s really what everybody wants later down the road is tax-free income in leveraging your money. So one of the things by leveraging your money today, you wanna stay tune when we come back from our break is we’re gonna have Judge John Roach on the air with us along with his wife, Laura Roach, and they’re gonna talk about preserving your capital, preserving it in a different way, divorce in peace and it’s pretty interesting everything that goes along and collaborative divorce.
They’re gonna talk to you about how to limit your exposure with your current attorney and when to call it quits if you’ve got the wrong attorney maybe in place. Maybe, you know, one of the interesting things is that attorney might be looking at you thinking that you’re his annuity too. It’s the only time in your life when you walk in the front door, when you’re going through a divorce, Steve, the first thing that they ask you is what’s the estate valued at? Then you give him a number and then all of a sudden they go, the retainers going to be $35,000 before they know anything about you.
So one of the smart things is if you’ve got a large estate, you might not wanna walk in the door and tell him how grandeur your estate is right upfront, you might wanna save that for later, but it’s the only place you can go on earth when you’re shopping and they wanna know upfront how much you’re worth before they even began the process. That doesn’t happen when you go to buy a car, how much are you worth? When you go to buy a home, yes, but before you buy the home they’re gonna prequalify you, right?
Cathy: You walk in the door, tell me everything about you in two little pieces of paper and then boom! This is how much your retainer’s gonna be.
Steve: Right, and that just goes to show you that Judge John Roach and Laura Roach are passionate about what they do. I mean for them to put this information inside a book for you to be able to do some due diligence while you’re going through the process, there’s gonna be some things that are gonna come your way that you’re now gonna have answers to.
Cathy: Absolutely, so you wanna stay tuned and Divorce in Peace is their book, and we’re gonna talk about it when we come back from our break, but one of the biggest things is is that, it’s this time of the year the reason why I wanted to have them on our radio show is because there’s a lot of conflict around the holiday time, people don’t know where to turn, emotions get a little bit spiraled out of control, and let’s think about just our entire life being in peace.
So when we come back from a quick break, Judge Roach and Laura Roach will be on the show and they’re gonna talk to you about the ins and outs, so we have somebody just thinking about, maybe getting a divorce or how to limit their exposure on the expense side, I think you’re gonna find this show to be very powerful, you might wanna share it with everybody on social media, but divorce in peace, and if you have any questions for us today, please feel free to pick up the phone, you could reach us at 972-473-4700. Again, that’s 972-473-4700 or you can look us up in the web at womenmoneyandpower.com. I’m Cathy DeWitt Dunn, I’ll be back with Judge Roach and Laura Roach right after a quick break.