Good morning and welcome to the podcast. With me, as always, Sam Sanchez. How are you doing?
I’m doing well. How are you doing, brother?
And yet it would. Neta, how you doing?
Good. How are you?
Good. Good. So I say we start the day with, you know, a popular celebrity type of divorce. Sam, what you got for us?
Well, you know, obviously, there’s so many in the news to choose from, but I was really intrigued by the Shakira or RFK fiasco that’s going on, kind of all these different places, rock star soccer and a rock star. You know, her hips don’t lie. Apparently, her bank account does. So does her CPA.
But yeah, she’s a little bit trouble with the Spanish government for the tax situation. So hopefully, hopefully she’ll get that sorted out because I guess they got divorced and now she’s going Taylor Swift on her and taking shots in her latest.
Song, I guess. Well, you know, and the challenge with somebody like that and we’ve experienced it, obviously handling the clients that we do is, you know, they have residencies all over the world. They’re spending time in all these different places or getting sued in different places, or at least she is. And so, you know, at the inception of that case, obviously, when you’ve got a lot of assets, you know, it’s always interesting to me how you choose venue. Where where are we going to get divorced? And while that.
Is, where do you spend most of your time? I don’t know.
Yeah. And even then, like, where are the kids? Where’s the property? Well, if it’s all over the place, it can add a lot of complexity. And it’s things that we’ve talked about. But I definitely feel like that’s something that we’re going to. It’ll be interesting to see how the details came out because they were one who and a lot of celebrities try to do this. I think even normal people, you and I.
Would you like to hear the lyric?
Yeah, give it to me.
You traded a Rolex for a Casio.
Well, and how old is he?
You traded a Ferrari for a Twingo, which I guess is a certain type of Renault that I’m not too familiar with. French or Spanish automobiles. They traded a Rolex for a Casio. Woo!
She’s mad. Well, she to be fair, as your artist. He’s a good looking kid. I’m sure he’s going to do just fine.
Both of them will. But, you know, like, when we’re when we’re looking at divorce, I think that’s something that people have to really understand is, one, if you want to try to keep it quiet like they did till it’s done, you really have to kind of work with your attorneys and have a plan. But the second part of that, I think that I’d love to hear you guys kind of take on is where do they where do you file? A lot of people we talk to clients who live in multiple states, especially now with a mobile kind of economy, everything digital.
I don’t know. These people are worth. You know, millions and millions of dollars and they don’t live like us. But I would think that this is a situation where, like, you don’t let emotions like get the best of you. And I know that didn’t work with Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. But, you know, you would think that that you plan this thing out and you try to plan it to where you get the. Or both of them can get the best treatment you know for for the divorce is possible and I think you business deal this thing just like everybody else is you know ridiculous as that sounds. I think you plan this thing out and that’s why you got a team of attorneys and accountants and different people to try to get you on the you know, get you on the right track and let them deal with it. That’s my thought anyway. I mean, when you’re living with that kind of money, I mean, she goes and stays in the Bahamas. He’s yeah, he stays in Spain or whatever. And they don’t have to see each other to see each other for months. It’s not like they’re living in the same house and the judge has to throw one of them out, you know?
Yeah, I guess it depends on also what property maybe they had before and maybe also what they accumulated during. So then in that case, what what may be the best venue or jurisdictional area for one may not necessarily be the best for the other. And at the same time there, while they have lots of money, they’re still people. So they, I’m sure, will use their emotions as part of the divorce game and.
Right. Which is why you get the why why you would get the team right.
Or you try to anyway.
I mean, the challenge is obviously you have two kids, you know, in their situation. So that’s going to affect stuff. And not only that, but if you think about the tax implications that are coming out in the news now. Right. You know, it’s not like they weren’t married when potentially some of this income was made. Well, you know, obviously, none of us are licensed to practice law in Spain. But I mean, if you need me to do that, I can try to work on it. But, you know, like in that situation, you know, like, how are you insulating somebody? A lot of times you can’t insulate people from the tax implications of what comes out during a marriage. You know, it’s you know, while Spain is part of our legal foundation, whether the community property laws are applicable in the same way, I mean, in Texas, that’s something that people should always kind of contemplate and consider, whether it’s Texas or Florida or at least things that I know that they come in and they’re like, you’re an international person. You want to get divorced in the United States and the state in which you’re in. But there’s all kinds of implications, not just state taxes, but federal taxes. And how do you can you shield somebody maybe a lot of times you can’t you know, it’s it’s far reaching and the federal government doesn’t care about state orders.
I think you try to eviscerate them in song, though, after the divorce is over with. I think it’s the way you go about it.
I think they don’t trade a Rolex for a Casio, so I can tell you.
You go ahead and eviscerate them and song later you get it. The business part worked out and then you then you make the song right and hope it’s a hit. So let’s talk about our kind of topic of the day, which is the $50 Billion a year family law industry, the divorce industrial complex, for lack of a better word. They’ve estimated that there’s this documentary on Amazon that, you know, we’re going to watch and review at some point. But for right now, let’s hit the high points. Basically, the $50 Billion a year family law industry in the United States is what they’ve estimated family law costs and what people deal with. The movie centers around the no fault divorce law that passed in California in 1969. There’s a similar no fault irreconcilable in support ability difference in Texas. So there’s there’s basically that in Texas as well, making divorce easier to file. But the the downside of that is divorce is not necessarily easier to complete. So so we can speak to that. I mean, you know, divorces are as simple to file, but not necessarily very easy to complete. But I think, you know, I don’t know, regardless of trying to shine a happy light on it, I mean, let me my my firm opinion on this is divorce is never a good thing. So it’s not like you’re ever going to get anything that paints a rosy picture of this. I mean, the the documentary or the movie outlines, you know, their their big critiques of divorce is that it’s needlessly complicated, expensive, unfair and corrupt. So I think we can probably hit on all of those topics if you want. I mean, let’s start out with needlessly complicated. So easy to file, hard to complete. Right. So what do you think?
So yeah, it’s hard to complete because one, a lot of the procedural aspect that different courts might have with respect to what you need to file when you need to file certain things by forms, a lot of different courts have different ancillary forms that need to be completed. Upon filing a final document, of course, the final decree needs to have certain aspects that have to be met statutorily and possibly based on the court’s policies and rules. If those aren’t met, then you’re not getting a divorce.
I don’t know that it’s I mean, I don’t play devil’s advocate. I realize the process is complicated. I don’t know that it’s necessarily needlessly complicated. I mean, they there’s a reason why they they have the things that they have. I mean, they try to streamline it as much as possible. And it’s a difficult situation all the way around. I mean, it’s not easy to to, you know, do a lot of things, but I mean, like inventories, trying to get agreements and sworn inventories, Yeah, it takes a lot of time to complete those things, but. I mean, it’s better if the two parties can agree on values of things rather than fighting over value of everything. So that’s where an inventory could be helpful. I mean, is it needlessly complicated this the question.
I think it is when you talk about like the new changes that have come about recently. So mandatory disclosures as an example, to start the discovery process, it’s a it’s a requirement. Now, when you file in Texas from the second that you file, you’re instantly on the clock. That that’s something that’s going to have to be done and produced to the other side. Now, can they waive it? Sure. Is that an additional cost that’s unnecessary? I think so. And in a lot of divorces, it’s really not necessary. Now, in a plenty of divorces, it becomes there’s a reason that we want it as lawyers because we’re going to need it. Right. We’re going to need that information to try to complete any kind of document or the process for clients. But does it have to be formalized? Does it have to go? Because anytime you formalize something as attorneys, we all know that means expensive. You know, you talk about discovery and that’s, you know, legal assistant time, paralegal time attorney time. And it just adds to the expense when it’s something that a lot of times smart lawyers would try to work with clients and opposing counsel to try to get that done without necessarily incurring that cost. I think we’ve done things of late that really lend themselves towards spending more money early.
Yeah, and the funny thing is they the Supreme Court is kind of past that to try to make the process easier. But and, you know, it does make it more complicated, certainly, especially if you’re a pro se trying to go through the process. I mean, you, you know, not having a lawyer, not knowing these rules. I mean, I get where where that becomes complicated. And then obviously having to hire a lawyer, it does it does make it expensive. Let’s talk about expense. They say the average contested divorce in America. So this is Countrywide. So it takes everything from Washington state to Florida to New York to Maine to to LA. The average cost of a contested divorce is about 50 grand. I’d say that’s probably in the ballpark. I mean.
I think it’s a little low. I think it’s a little low if you’re talking contested, because if it’s contested and let’s say that you’re going to have to go to a conclusion, meaning you go into a final trial. I mean, you could spend $50,000 just at trial. And so to say that that’s the whole process and that’s what you spend and it was contested. Now, contested is one of those terms of art people here contested. And I think they kind of go, oh. Contested just means that we didn’t necessarily agree, but in the end, we got to a conclusion. No contested means. You fight about stuff all the time. You go to court and go into court. I’ve told you guys this before, but it’s like playing polo, right? Kings. Super expensive to play that game. If you’re going to fight in court, just expect to pay tons and tons of money because our time, judges, time, other other sides time, the ancillary things that come from a hearing or any kind of contested litigation is expensive. And so you can.
Talk about time is the is the family court system unfriendly and untrustworthy? I wouldn’t say that it’s untrustworthy at all. I would say that I wouldn’t say that it’s necessarily unfriendly, but I mean, it isn’t you know, it is an adversarial process and it is the judges and the courts want to make sure you’re you’re you’re doing these you’re getting all the everything right on these complicated things. So, you know, I don’t I could see how there’s the appearance of friendliness.
But what about judges? Like, I’ll tell you my experience, but your experience, Do you feel like judges are mad or meaner or are less patient than they have been in the past?
I think yeah, I think they do get I think judges get I think judges get pressure to move dockets. I think that’s obviously true. The courts have been backlogged because of COVID. I mean, that’s also true. Are they unfriendly? I mean, I think a lot of them are trying to do a hard job. I mean, really, I mean, when you think about it, how does a judge decide a custody case between two good parents? I mean, that’s the that’s the hardest thing in the world to do. There’s two good parents here. They both want custody. How do I decide this? You know, So.
I mean, I don’t think they’re meaner or anything like that. I think I agree with Brian. They have a hard job to do. In my experience, I think they do the best job that they can, given the fact I think they they look at both sides, They consider the evidence. I think a lot of judges that I’ve seen, they do give pro se parties the benefit of the doubt and they do try to help them to a certain extent. Of course, they can’t give them legal advice because they’re not there. Counsel But I’ve seen judges direct them to the right person or location to try to get help. So I think, you know, they’re there to help the people. They’re there as a governmental entity. They try to do the best job they can, given the hard job that they do.
Now, I think there’s sometimes some difficulties with with judges. And I think after they’ve after they’ve been on the bench a long time, sometimes there is there is the tendency to get cynical and to get, you know, I don’t know, get a little bit more short, I guess is a better short with with the litigants when they’ve heard the same thing thousands and thousands of times and they hear it every week. You know, I think that can come across as maybe mean. But I mean, if they’ve heard the same thing over and over and over again for years, then, you know, they are going to get a little jaded. I mean, it’s human nature. It’s not you know, it’s not complex. It’s not rocket science. It’s human nature. And so, you know, I think you’re going to have to, you know, present more. And I think you’re going to have to show more and you’re going to have to show differences in your case versus somebody else. If if you’re going to sway that judge after a while. And I think sometimes they just want people to move on because they’ve heard it. They’ve heard it all, They they most of these judges were practicing attorneys before and they’ve heard it all.
Yeah, I think that I agree with you guys. I do, however, believe that I think our society courts are reflective of our society. You know, I feel like it may take courts a little longer to kind of catch up, but I feel like our society right now, we’re very impatient. We are very terse with one another. We we are. And I think courts have adopted that. I think that they’re post COVID way behind their dockets are smashed. And you’re right, they do hear to each client your story is unique to a judge who hears these types of cases all the time. It’s not so unique. And so I feel like all those things have led to an environment that’s very uninviting for clients. So I try to really dissuade clients from necessarily wanting their day in court, not just because I want obviously we’re litigators. That’s where we were raised, that’s where we spend our time, that’s where we’re good. But what I try to tell people is just go into court doesn’t mean you’re going to get what you want. You know, there is a cathartic side to go in a court, you know that, you know, you get to open your mouth and say what you want and it’s on the record for God country to know.
But the other side of it is that the repercussions of doing that are far reaching and not always friendly and not always what you thought they were going to be. So I do kind of feel like the environment has shifted from when I started practicing. You know, judges are have always been grumpy and it’s okay. I get why you’re grumpy. Listen to frickin people’s problems all day long. You’re going to get grumpy, too. And they’re complicated and hard, like Nita said. But I do feel like there’s been this kind of shift of very like we’re very dissociative or dissociative, I guess would be the word as a society. And I think that’s running into the courts where there’s just kind of this like, I ain’t got time. And and I really I’m not going to say I don’t care because I do care. I’m a judge. I’m getting paid to care. But to Brian’s point, you’re going to have to really spend a lot of time and energy to get me to a point that makes me want to do something unique.
Right. And I don’t think there you know, I look at it from the standpoint of you really have to have something something and I’m not saying that you don’t like you said, I’m not saying you don’t go to court and have your day and tell everybody, you know, everything that you feel is wrong. And but sometimes the judge isn’t going to agree with you. I mean, isn’t going to think it’s as bad as you think it is. Because if you think about these the frame of reference for for a person that’s a judge, I mean, they’re here in cases where there’s abuse, whereas legitimate abuse, you know, and and you’re mad about, you know, dad brings the kid 15 minutes late to soccer practice every week. I mean, you know, the judge is not going to care as much about that when they’re, you know, the next case in front of them is a domestic abuse case or something. So, you know, I think that can seem like it’s unfriendly, certainly. And I think they’re trying to be efficient. I think I think efficiency sometimes you sometimes lose the message with with trying to be more efficient. And I think that does happen. I think I think that certainly happens.
I think partly unfair that people might think also is that sometimes the law is not fair. So you have to consider what the law is based on what you’re wanting and is what you’re wanting going to be in line with what the law says. And in that in that sense, if it’s not, then you go to court or not. You can maybe agree to something that might not be what the law is. But if you’re going to court, you’re probably not getting something that you consider fair.
If it’s not the law, especially if you think that you’re entitled to more than what the law would prescribe. I mean, you’re going to automatically think the system is corrupt just because you’re never going to get you’re never going to be able to get what you think you’re entitled to because the law is not not set up that way. I mean, that that that conversation we have all the time. You know, the law is just not set up to get you 100% of this. It’s just not.
Right. I mean, a perfect example of that, I mean, to your point is, let’s say a standard possession schedule in Texas. Right? You know, there’s this huge trend to do 5050 possession schedules between parents who have kids in a divorce practice, same amount of time. Well, to one parent, that sounds like super fair to another parent that is like absolutely not. The law as it stands right now is that, no, a judge’s obligation is to weigh two parents and choose somebody based on history or the current situation that’s better and give them more time. And that has financial implications. And so, you know, but people always want to say like, hey, you know what? I know I can convince a judge, let me in to court. And my story is compelling and it’s so hard to tell people. It’s compelling to me because, you know, obviously, I know you. I’ve spent time with you. I understand. But it may not be compelling to a judge. And a judge has this foundation in Texas. And really floor is a little different. But in Texas, they have the law to lean back on that says, no, I mean, I don’t have to pay attention to that. It’s presumptively fair that I give you one person more time and one person less time. That’s the law. And when you tell a client that, a lot of times they don’t understand it, so they get the impression when they go to court and they have that kind of a result that it’s absolutely unfriendly, you know, like, hey, you know, he didn’t even listen to me when he did. He’s just like, Hey, you’re a perfectly good parent. That’s why I’m giving you what the law says I can give you to this point. So you’re talking.
About one of the critiques is that there’s wildly inconsistent judicial standards that basically the best interest of the child standard is wildly inconsistent. I would agree with that. Yeah, it is. I mean, it varies from court to court and judge to judge what they think is in the best interests of a particular child in a particular case may vary from court to court and person to person. And yeah, that’s that’s the the dice roll you get when you when you go to court like that.
Yeah, well, we elect judges in Texas, too, right? So you add that as the mad scramble.
That’s that’s another thing that all the lawyers are in it with the judges. And the judges are trying to become mediators after they’re judges. So they they’re looking they make their rulings based on campaign contributions and what their their hustles that they can get after after being judges. I, I think that’s that’s pretty unfair to judges, honestly, or trying to do a hard job. I mean, personally, I think I think I think I think judges look at attorneys. They know and appear in front of them a lot. And I think they you know, they rely on the officers of the court who who appear in front of them a long time. A lot. And the way I mean, yes, Texas, Texas has campaign contributions for judges and stuff like that. But the only the only people that give campaign contributions to judges are normally people that they know and people that appear in front of them. So, you know, you don’t most people don’t know who all their district judges are or who all they’re, you know, probate court judges are or all their county court judges are. So, you know, who how do they finance their campaigns? By getting money from people that they know who appear in front of them a lot. So does it. Make the system unfair? I don’t know. I mean, if you think the judge is completely corrupt, there’s mechanisms for that. And there’s always another election four years down the road. And so so but I guess I think I think I think a judge, you know, trusting an attorney or trusting the argument that the attorney is making is sometimes confused for corruption. And I don’t think that’s necessarily fair for the attorney or the judge.
Yeah, well, that’s another reason to know your judge and know which court you’re in, because there are people, too. They have preferences based on your history in front of that court. You kind of know which way they tend to rule on some issues. And of course, that’s an issue with new judges because we don’t really have that history and don’t know how they’re going to be. But that takes time. So.
And how many times have you guys been in court with when your client comes out after it said, I had all this stuff and the judge wouldn’t even listen to me? And, you know, I had all this stuff. I proved all this stuff in court. I showed all this stuff and the judge didn’t listen to me. Well, yeah, you did show all that stuff. Yeah, you did tell all that stuff. But maybe where the law was that that didn’t really matter, you know, because the lawyers and the judges know exactly kind of where the where the law looks at these things. And, you know, maybe that just didn’t matter. You know, I proved all this stuff. I proved all this fraud. But maybe it was just a it was a no fault divorce. And, you know, there was no fault grounds pled. And so, yeah, maybe you brought in all that evidence, but it doesn’t necessarily change the the ruling because it wasn’t pled right or, you know, there’s any number of reasons.
Yeah. You know, so state bars, local bars. And I don’t mean the place where you go have your drink at. I mean, like we’re attorneys are participating and belong to. I do think that relationships matter. I do think that while I don’t necessarily want to say that, it’s you know, it’s not a bad thing to have a collegial bar is a good thing where we’re attorneys know judges, where judges know attorneys, where your reputation, reputation for honesty and integrity and skill precedes you in a courtroom is a benefit to a client. And I don’t know that that necessarily makes it where there’s this big incestuous or nefarious setup that lawyers and judges are taking advantage of. However, however, I will tell you that it can absolutely work to a client’s detriment if they don’t realize that if they if they select somebody who doesn’t know a judge and his predisposition or her predispositions. Because, you know, judges, I tell people judges have the patience typically of gnats and gnats. Attention span is very short. And a judge is kind of the same way because they have finite amounts of time to spend on any particular issue in any given day. And so if you don’t know your audience or really have the respect or at least a little bit of confidence that the judge will listen to you, you can step in a landmine without even knowing it. And and a client can do that if they’re not guided appropriately by their attorney. And so that can make it seem like, hey, you know what, this other attorney, everything that they said, the judge was like, yeah, yeah, yeah. Everything that you said freaking the judge was all over you. You couldn’t get anything in. Well, you know, sometimes it’s knowing your audience. Sometimes it’s just like Brian said, the facts of it. The judge is like, I don’t find that relevant at all. But it’s hard to distinguish those two things. It’s hard to listen to that or have that experience and not feel like the fix is in.
Or if you had there was used to be a judge, I think down here that was a like a drug court criminal judge before being a family judge. And so her particular her hackles were up when it came to drug cases like drugs were a huge issue for her know, whereas another judge, you know, little weed didn’t care, didn’t care that much, you know, So it’s kind of like you said, it’s kind of knowing your audience. So, you know, the slightest hint of of drugs in this lady’s court and everybody’s getting drug tested. And, you know, this other judge said, well, I don’t really care about weed. You know, that doesn’t doesn’t bother me. And so, you know, and these were in the same courthouse and then down the hall from one another. So. Um, you know, the other stuff. I mean, the judges and I’m not to say that the second judge who didn’t care about the weed, didn’t care about kids or didn’t care about safety or anything like that, it’s just, you know, his particular viewpoint wasn’t as wasn’t as strict as the as the judge who ran the drug court for a number of years. You know, it’s just it was a different, you know, a different feeling. Um.
Well, Bryan, just last point on that, guys. So, like lawyers, right? I think clients get upset when they see lawyers talking to each other, like, Hey, we know each other. Guess what? This is our job, and we probably do know each other. And even if we don’t like, it’s important as it’s part of our code of ethics that we’re supposed to treat each other professionally. I mean, this is something that we’re going to be practicing in this courtroom with these attorneys long after your case is done so that we don’t get in somebody’s face and act a fool or, you know, are rude or it doesn’t mean that we’re in cahoots with them to try to sabotage your case. And the same.
Thing if the judge is friendly to a lawyer, doesn’t mean that that they’re in they’re going to just side with automatically side with them. I’ve had judges rule against me. That was that shook my hand before they walked out on the bench for sure. So, you know, just just because like you said, just I mean, the the professional ethics require that that attorneys are collegial with one another and judges are collegial with the attorneys. And that’s the way it’s supposed to work. It does help people move through a difficult time and a difficult system much more quickly, I feel like. Because if you notice how when you’re at odds with your opposing counsel and I know I’ve noticed this, when everything everything becomes a chore, it’s a slog. At that point, you’re arguing about everything, You’re objecting. They’re objecting to the taste. The case takes three times as long. It normally inevitably, it probably has the same outcome as if you got along. But you know. Um, you know, sometimes you don’t get along so.
Well, of course, that you’re arguing about everything. Sure. Sometimes you don’t get results all the time. Sometimes it’s not being aggressive. So you do get along to see if you can reach that benefits the clients. And there is a time and place, I think, to be aggressive and maybe not be aggressive.
And the the. So what do you think about the current court? You know, divorce industrial complex creates false domestic violence claims, high support and high alimony and.
Divorce industrial complex. I like that. That’s good.
Do you think that it creates more false domestic violence claims or higher support, child support or higher alimony? Well, in Texas, I mean, child support is basically capped. So I don’t know that that necessarily becomes an issue. Does it create more domestic violence claims? Probably. I mean, in a contested case, you’re going to use everything that you think is is important and make make a mountain out of every molehill. So and. And then, you know, there are there are legitimate cases of abuse and, you know. There are. Fake cases of abuse, I guess. But there are some legitimate ones as well. I mean, you know, that sometimes comes along with any kind of emotional, emotional situation. I mean, there is there is you know, we’d be stupid to say there isn’t domestic violence, but are they all fake claims? No, of course not. Are they all false claims? No. Are there more false claims because of the process? I don’t know. I don’t know that you can necessarily say that. I guess the question is, do you think there’s more more false domestic violence claims because of the way that the the divorce process is?
I don’t think it’s because of the way the divorce process is. I think it’s because they’re going through a divorce in general that they’re going to use whatever they can to possibly their advantage. And if that means. Trying your luck to see if the domestic violence sticks in court and possibly getting alimony when you may not otherwise meet the burden. Then why not give it a shot and maybe that client’s mind or that that person’s mind?
Yeah. I mean, I guess that’s true.
I think as attorneys, you have to advise your client, though, whether it’s really a domestic violence case that you should pursue or not, because you don’t want to be that attorney that’s pursuing a frivolous domestic violence case and court and then have a bad reputation with that judge.
What about verbal abuse?
Emotional abuse? You know, I honestly I feel I feel the other way. I feel that the way that the law is currently written, there’s such a huge advantage to. Victims of that. And obviously I’m very sympathetic to anyone who’s had to endure that type of situation. And I understand the law and the purpose behind it. And I think it’s it’s valid and it’s honorable. But I do think that it lends itself to abuse, because people who look at that and say over a glass of wine with their friends, hey, if if I can assert a domestic violence claim and those are a lot of he said she said very difficult to prove. Right. Very difficult to gather evidence. Now, when there’s evidence and it’s clear and the law, I feel, should apply. But even in those situations, you know, it’s very difficult a lot of times to discern who’s the victim, who’s the instigator, what was it done for, what was the purpose? But the effect of it is a slam dunk. It smashes somebody else’s case. It ends a conservatorship conversation because it instantly, if somebody is found that that’s the case, then the judge awards all the rights to the other parent.
It doesn’t necessarily affect time, but it can it has implications financially, right? Because judges, when they hear those kinds of things, I feel like if they feel that they’re meritorious, they absolutely will apply that to further the case. Future hearings, decisions against or for your client. The ramifications are really large, and in part it’s because the way we’ve crafted the law in Texas specifically, which gives you so much of an advantage when that happens. And the purpose is to protect victims. Right? It’s supposed to be kind of, in my opinion, this deterrent that says, hey, guys, don’t do this, because if you do, here’s the crap that’s going to happen to you. But we don’t deal with the in front of actions. We’re really reactive, right? What has already happened and how do we apply it. And so I feel like there are people who not a lot, but I think there are people who take advantage of that understanding that if they can go spaghetti against the wall to this point. Right. And it works, then they’ve just really won a case in its entirety. And that can happen very early on in a case Very early on. Sure.
Yeah. And it’s very hard to discern what the, what the legitimate cases are from the from the fake cases sometimes. I mean, it really is. What are the cases? Like you said, they’re very fact specific and they lend themselves to, you know, a lot of he said she said a lot of mutual, you know, mutual combat type of situations. You know, those those create a lot of difficulty. But yeah, you’re absolutely right. If if you’re able to make that case, then yeah, you are automatically slam dunk. The other side’s probably getting supervised visits, you know, batterers, intervention courses, all kinds of counseling and different things, possibly a protective order. You know, it’s it’s absolutely a slam dunk if you can if you can make the case. But at the same time, I get why the law is in place, because you can’t have you can’t have an organized society when there’s you know, when there’s, you know, horrible, you know, abusive things going on in homes. So you’ve got to you’ve got to make sure that, you know, it’s tough. I mean, that’s a tough that’s a tough situation. I guess the question is, do I think that there are more false domestic violence claims as a result of the way the system is set up? I mean, I guess it’s possible.
I mean, there’s no way to know. There’s no way to ever know for sure whether that’s that’s true or not. I mean, I guess. Yes. I mean, if somebody is conniving enough and there are a lot of a lot of sociopaths out there and narcissists or different people that can definitely make make, you know, try to make this kind of stuff work for them. So, yeah, I mean, could there be more? Yes. I mean, it’s certainly possible. Do I know is there any way to to verify that for sure? No. Unless you go into everybody’s home that’s ever had a divorce case and see whether that’s true or not. You know, I mean, I think with respect to men and women, I think, you know, and I don’t want to sound sexist here, but the fact of the matter is men are less likely to report it. So I don’t think there’s as many false claims when it comes to men reporting because men are less and less likely to report domestic violence. And that’s that’s a true statistic.
Well. So now, do you think law enforcement is working better on that aspect? At least I’ve seen in cases it seems like they’re more apt to kind of even in a mutual combat situation, they’re just kind of like somebody leaving. And probably both of you guys are getting citations, which makes it even more complicated. Right. But I think like the Dana White incident that just happened recently. Right. So, you know, they’re at a party. You know, his wife comes up, whatever he pops off and says you rares back smacked him in the face. He takes a second, smacks her back. So she came out and said, no, I’ve been a victim of domestic violence. He’s been this is how he’s treated me, you know, for years. You know that divorced. I mean, the guy is worth a billion billions of dollars now from selling the UFC. So is that going to it’s obviously video evidence. I mean, do we know what led up to it? Do we know what happened behind closed doors? Are her allegations or assertions going to be proven true? Who knows? That’s going to be an interesting to watch as well. But in this situation, do you know what I’m saying? Like, it’s very clear from the video evidence she comes up and just frickin hauls off in Wales on him and that he responds, well, should he have no ever frickin just like walk away, be a man.
That’s my opinion. And it’s probably pretty sexist. But I’m just saying, like, he shouldn’t have. He did it anyways. And so, like, but if it happened that way, is it likely that it happened in the past? Well, as a judge, like that’s such a complicated thing to have to listen to between testimony. And a lot of times there just isn’t there’s not photographs, there’s not videos, there’s not eyewitnesses. You know, this is in the privacy of people’s homes and nobody’s around so know. But there is a huge advantage, you know, whether he’s in California or whether he’s in Texas or whether you’re in frickin Florida, you know, like there is an advantage to the property distribution because all of those places, while well, maybe not in California, but I would tell you, like in Texas specifically, Right. We’re no fault. But there is still fault there is still the avenue to use that. Yeah, absolutely.
And yeah, domestic violence would be would be in the realm of getting a disproportionate division of of assets, history or pattern of violence. Yeah that could be it becomes serious and significant.
Yeah. You can qualify for alimony and all kinds of different things. So are alimony payments demonstrably high? I mean, honestly, this is where I think the legislature’s done a pretty good job in Texas of of kind of scaling that back. Is it always fair? No. But it’s also in line with I think it doesn’t keep people from asking for 200,000 a month in alimony if they’re married to a billionaire. But you know, with the way that the with the way the property division shakes out and the way alimony is set up in Texas, I feel overall, I think it’s it’s reasonable. Is it is it fair in every case? Of course not. You can’t be fair in every case. But is it reasonable under the circumstances to have the alimony system set up? Yeah, I mean, for the most part, I think it is. I mean, do if you can support yourself, you’re entitled to no alimony. Do I think that’s pretty rigid? But Texas is not a it’s not a fan of alimony. So if you have if you’re if you’re the you know, if you make minimum wage, I guess the federal government says we can support ourselves on minimum wage. Right? Supposedly. And your husband’s a doctor. Are you entitled to alimony and technically, legally, probably. No. Is that fair? No, that’s probably not fair in that particular situation. But, you know, if you’re a you know. Make 50, 60, 70,000 a year. And you can support yourself and. And your husband makes $150,000 a year. Is alimony necessary in those types of situations? No, I don’t think it I don’t think it probably is. But because child support and property division can cover, cover, cover, where those where those deficiencies are, you know, because the courts oftentimes will divide property to the to the spouse who makes less money in their favor. It may not be by a huge margin, but a little bit.
Yeah. Again, your audience because it’s very, very on. Not a lot. I had one court. I think the case is pending for a year. Evidence was presented at the trial for two job applications that she submitted and she got a little bit of post-divorce maintenance. Not really. I would say not big reasonable efforts to try to get employment. But then most of my other cases, you know, there may be a disparity in income and they may have tried to get a better job or more education, but no post divorce maintenance in those cases. So very dependent on the judge, I would say also. So I would say the majority of them lean, like you said, Brian, towards no post-divorce maintenance and maybe higher property division in the lower income earning spouse.
Yeah, I agree with you guys. I think that, you know, I think that if you thought what I try to tell clients is divorce is not fair. The only time that there’s fair is in October down at Fair Park and that you go by your freaking corn dog, your funnel cake, and you talk to the big Tex. That’s the only fair that’s going to happen in the state of Texas in relation to divorce. It’s not fair. It’s not designed to be fair. It’s not written. The laws are not written for it. To be fair, it’s just a matter of what can happen in your case. And so when you talk to people, they look at it and they say, well, look, our life together was X, right? We had a certain lifestyle. We lived that way. Whether you’re the husband or the wife or the provider or the person who made less money but supported the family, whatever your role is, it’s not going to be the same. It’s never going to be the same. Your money is not going to be the same. The situation is not going to be the same. And judges know that and the law anticipates that. And so the way the law in Texas is written is not as friendly as other states. Other states really want to look at it and say, we’re going to try to keep equity between somewhat more along the lines of how you were living before. Right. California is one of those states. You can have this perpetual alimony if you never get married again because one’s a huge wage earner and the other one isn’t. So they’re going to try to keep that lifestyle from changing too much, especially if kids are involved. And Texas, to your point, Brian, they do have some mechanism. We do have child support. We do have spousal maintenance. It tries to do that not quite to the level of other states, but I think Texas very clearly looks at it and says, hey, you know what, a level of independence is important and there is not like this indentured servitude that’s going to come from the divorce process.
Which brings me up to the last point. And it’s very it’s very controversial. There’s a lot there’s a lot of talk and articles and stuff being being thrown around nowadays about men not wanting to ever get remarried again because of the unfairness of what they view as the divorce process. And, you know, like, to your point, the potential for a lifetime alimony and things like that. Is that do you think that. Well, number one, I mean, we see a lot of people. So number one, do we think that’s true that you think that men are less likely to get married again because they view the system as set up against them? And and too, you know, is there, you know, any way to correct that? My personal opinion is. I do think that that that yeah, I mean, I think men are down here and women are here in a divorce case. I mean, I do think I’ve done this for a long time. I think there’s reasons for that. I think oftentimes women are the primary caregivers to children and they’re not working as much. So, you know, the financial aspect does go in favor of of a of a wife and that type of a situation. An equal wage earner type of situations. I don’t think it’s as as unfair, but I think men are are in a more difficult position just because of society when it comes to when it comes to.
Divorce case in dividing assets. I don’t I don’t think that’s that’s and most of the time the men are the higher wage earners I mean, especially if there’s children involved. But that’s not necessarily always the case, obviously. But if you take a cross section of 100 cases, I bet you I bet you it’s in the majority of them. Do I think that influences men not to get married again? Yeah, I think I think there’s a trend in society now where men are kind of opting out because, you know, why would I put up with this? I mean, why am I going to do this again and lose half my shit or whatever? But I mean, I’ve heard that a thousand times. But that’s that’s been in fairly recent years. It’s not not always been the case. I mean, you know, have you ever seen the guy that’s been divorced like four or five times? I mean, they got nothing left. Usually. They got nothing left. I mean, by the time they they get to that fifth divorce, even if they were if they were reasonably wealthy at the at the beginning of the first one, you know, they typically are like spent emotionally, physically, financially, everything by that, the end of the fourth or fifth one. Now, that’s probably some poor life choices in there if you’re married five times. But at the same time, you know, hopeless.
Romantic, I can see where people would would opt out. I mean, of of a situation that they view as unfair. I. I don’t know your thoughts.
So I think it just depends on the facts of each case. Each case is different, but I agree with you, like I guess when it comes to kids, like most most men that. Have kids as part of their marriage. They want 5050 and a lot of them might be involved. But then you have to look at it case by case basis on who’s involved more. And then in that case, sometimes you do have a little bit of an uphill battle representing men on those types of cases financially. I guess it just depends on what each person tends to do for a living and what they have as far as assets and stuff go. On The financial aspect, whether or not they want to opt out of getting married in the future, who knows? But you can protect yourself with a prenup if that’s a concern of yours and try to minimize some damage if you do tend to want to get married again.
But what are the men getting out of the second go round? I mean, the second or third go round? I mean, partner.
Like someone to share the rest of your life with, I guess.
Yeah. I absolutely feel like your points are very salient. I think that it’s true. I do feel like men are opting out, but I don’t think it’s just men. Honestly, I feel like there’s a very consistent trend that I’m seeing. Both men and women who post divorce are wanting to opt out. And if not, I’m really advising them to really seriously consider obviously prenuptial post nuptial agreements before they reenter kind of that that arena and for that exact purpose. You know, I do think that everybody is gun shy and resources I feel like are more and more finite along couples. It doesn’t matter how much money you make. You know, it just really has such a dramatic toll on you financially and personally to go through this process that I feel a lot of people are really looking at that and saying, why don’t we just live together? You know, why don’t we build a life together? Why don’t we be Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell for 30 years? And, you know, we can love each other, we can spend time together, but our estates will be separate. And if we ever want to get married, maybe someday.
But let’s not let’s circles back around to the original point of this thing, which is divorce is not a good thing. So divorce is is never a good thing. It’s never going to be. So, yeah, there’s a lot of negative that comes along with it and a lot of negative that’s negative. Is that seen from the process? I don’t, you know. My opinion is that, you know, people talk about, you know, collusion, complicated, expensive, unfair, because the whole thing is unfair. The whole the whole your marriage is breaking up, you’re going to lose half your shit. I mean, both sides, it’s unfair. You’re going to you’re not going to see your kids as much as you normally would. It’s unfair. It’s not it’s not a good thing. So, you know, I doubt they’ll ever be a documentary or anything like that where where people are talking about divorce being a good thing. I just don’t see that ever coming. If you if you if you can find that for me or if you can make that documentary, I’ll sell you my unicorn.
So we’ll work on it.
We’ll use my unicorn sales to finance the movie. Right. Well, thanks for the time today. I really appreciate it. And we got a lot of exciting shows coming up in the future. So how do they get in contact with us, Sam, Anita, if they want to talk to you or me or are you?
Sam So if you’re up in North Texas or in Florida, then you can obviously look us up on our website as W law Office dot com. You can reach me directly on that site. My email address. You can reach out to me by telephone at 8179145470 and wise.
So yes, our bios are on the website and then my personal email is on there as well. My direct line 8324581502 as well as my direct cell phone is on there as well.
And so we’re completely searchable. We also have so if you’re in Florida, if you’re in out of out of state or in a different county, we have an 800 line. It’s 1888981759. So if you call us, you can reach you to any one of the three of us. Abercrombie Sanchez Inwood, we’re happy to help out, happy to talk to you about any of these issues. I don’t think we’re going to be in any documentaries anytime soon, but we can certainly talk to you about your case. So thank you guys. Have a great weekend and we will talk soon.