Part 4 of the Women Money and Power Talk Radio interview with authors John and Laura Roach discussing their newly released book, Divorce in Peace.
Cathy DeWitt Dunn: And welcome back live to Women, Money and Power. I’m Cathy Dewitt and thank you so much for joining our show today.
Well, I have two wonderful guests and hopefully, you’ve been with me throughout the entire hour, but if not, well, I have Judge John Roach, who is a judge up in Collin County. He’s here today, talking about how you can avoid spending a lot of money if you’re thinking about a divorce or if you’re in the middle of a divorce. And then I also have his wife, Laura. What a great, fabulous team you guys are.
Laura Roach: Thank you.
Cathy: We were also talking about, on the break, some of the crazy cases and how you were able to just kind of rope them in and get it all handled in about a couple of days. Tell me more about that and also the audience.
Laura: Yeah. You know, I’m an attorney but I also do a lot of mediation, so in this case, I wasn’t the attorney on the case, I was just the mediator. This involved a professional athlete and he was getting divorced and it was a pretty nasty divorce. It had been going on for four months. And luckily, the attorneys were smart to get to mediation early and not after a year of litigations.
But after four months, they had spent $1.2 million in attorney’s fees, in just four months. They came to me within two days of mediation. We did a mediation on a Friday and finished the mediation on Monday. We had the case settled and they had a divorce decree entered within 30 days and the case was done.
I wish I could have come on day one and done that for them and not waited until they spent $1.2 million in attorney’s fees, but at least we stopped the bleeding after four months.
Cathy: Yeah, and I think that’s a powerful point because there’s a lot of…I’m probably going to get in trouble and get some calls from attorneys here in town, but just because you have an attorney and you are going through the motion and you just get the bills month after month, you might want to just take a deep breath and go, “You know what, maybe I need to get off that treadmill. Maybe there’s a better way.”
Because I have had clients come in right and left into my practice and they’re sitting in the office and they’re arguing about something that has not even come up with the attorneys because the attorneys don’t understand it. Or they’re in court, or they’re working on another case. That issue goes to the back burner for the next time they talk about your case in four or six weeks, before the next hearing. And, like you were saying earlier, they don’t even know what the issues are. So here in my office, just on a financial issue, and we figured out the taxable event on it. They were able to figure it out. They called their attorneys and said, “Hey, we want out. We’ve got this worked out.”
They were like, “Wait a minute, we need to get together.” No, you don’t. This is what you’ve agreed to.
Laura: One of the reasons we wrote the book was to educate the public, obviously. But to also try to connect people that want to get divorced the smart way with lawyers and professionals that get people divorced the smart way.
So we developed a website in association with the book, it’s called divorceandpeace.com. What I’m building on there is a network of professionals and attorneys that think the way I do and approach divorce the way that we talk about in our book. So it’s divorceandpeace.com. We’re building it. It’s in the very beginning stages of it but that’s the intent of the whole website is to be able to connect people that want to do divorce the right way with the lawyers and professionals that are committed to doing it the right way as well. So that was our whole point in doing it.
Cathy: Yeah, and I think it just goes back to what the judge was saying a little bit earlier is, after everything he’s seen in his court, it doesn’t have to be that way. It does not have to be nasty.
Do you love the cases where they come in and they’re like, “This is what we’re doing?”
Judge John Roach: I absolutely love it, I always congratulate them. I say, “How did you do that?” I’m more curious about how they found it and when in the process did they find it, did someone else recommend that to them or whatever. That’s the great thing because, you know, they come in and sometimes when they’re doing the prove up, and that’s what you have to do at the very end of the case in front of a judge is prove it up. No matter what happens, you have to do that.
Sometimes I see them crying, holding each other’s hands still, or patting each other on the back and that’s what you really want to see.
Divorce is going to happen. That happens sometimes and that’s okay, you shouldn’t be ashamed of it or anything like that. It’s what you do from the time you file for the divorce ’til the time you prove it up that really, really matters to yourself, your spouse, your finances, and most importantly your kids.
Cathy: Yeah, and I think that’s really important. One of the things I wanted to touch on quickly is we had talked earlier about gay marriage. Laura, I’m going to let you talk a little about that and how having the law, I guess, revoked, what does that mean for everyone?
Laura: It’s interesting because obviously, it’s new, right? Gay marriage has been allowed in Texas for a year now. So we were recently at a conference and learned a whole bunch about gay marriage, about different property issues that were coming up. And I honestly was like, “There’s no property issues,” but then I found out that…not that I found out but I realized they made the law void that a man can’t marry a man, or a woman can’t marry a woman. They made that law void, which means, if you’re a gay couple from 20 years ago that called yourself husband and husband or wife and wife, held yourself out to be that in public, lived in a house together, you’re common law married.
Laura: And that means community property may have started accruing back in 1976 or whenever that happened. The law is still being developed, to be honest with you. But it’s an issue that has to be addressed. So if you’re a gay couple or you have friends that are a gay couple, thinking about getting a divorce, you need to really consult with a good attorney that understands the different property issues that may be involved in a gay divorce, because they’re there.
Cathy: A great attorney on that issue, not just a good one.
John: That’s right.
Cathy: Because that is a huge issue.
Laura: It will be a huge issue in the future. It’s definitely an issue now but it’s got to get through the appellate court so we really understand the law on it, but it’s developing right now, as we speak.
Cathy: All right, so if you all would like to get some information today, you can log onto womenmoneyandpower.com. Right in the middle of our web page, you’ll be able to link up with Laura and also the judge. And this book is great. What’s the price point on it? It’s $17.95?
John: Yeah, on Amazon.
Cathy: So 18 bucks.
John: Yeah, that’s right. I think it’s a good money…
Cathy: I was gonna say. You know what, you go to Starbucks two days in a row and there you go, now you can save yourself thousands of dollars and at least understand from a judge’s perspective on what you could do differently. And also, from Laura’s perspective as an attorney on all your different options as far as collaborative law, mediator, arbitrator. All the things that you might not be aware of. Or you could also log onto, was it divorceandpeace.com?
Laura: Yes, that’s right.
John: That’s right.
Cathy: That’s their website as well. Or you can give us a call today. I know that if you’re driving around, you’ve heard a lot of things today. Just take a look at the dial, WBAP, you can find me when you get back home or you’re at work tomorrow. My phone number and the link to my website is all there and we’d love to help you.
And if you’d like to reach out to Laura, feel free to call me and I’ll put you in touch with her at 972-473-4700, again, that’s 972-473-4700 and it was great, Judge John, to have you on.
John: It was great to be here, thank you so much.
Cathy: And Laura, you as well.
Laura: Thank you so much.
Cathy: And I know my listeners are just going to be so thrilled with all this information because there’s different options available to them other than Googling, “I want a divorce now and I want the biggest, baddest attorney out there.” Because he or she is going to be very expensive.
Laura: That’s true.
Cathy: Once again, thank you for joining the show. Log on today to womenmoneyandpower.com or pick up the phone and give me a call, 972-473-4700. Hope you all have a great weekend.