Right Divorce Lawyer

Hey, everybody, lee Wright here. I am a divorce coach. Welcome to my channel, seasons Ebb and Flow for the season of divorce and beyond. Today I’m really excited. I am going to be interviewing Damon Weiss. He is a divorce attorney here in Orlando, and he was actually my personal divorce attorney, which is how I know him. And I asked him if he would be willing to come on and answer some questions. So we’re going to get started. Damon, I’m going to turn it over to you and have you just tell us a little bit about your background and what you do.

First of all, thank you for the opportunity to speak today and thank you or be interviewed and also thank you for the opportunity when I got to represent you. I am the managing partner of the law firm in Maitland, Florida, called Weissgreener and Barnett, and we’ve been around for a long time. I’m in my 25th year of practice. I’m actually a second generation divorce lawyer. My father practicing for over 50 years, although the last 19 just in mediation. We have several associates, and we practice 90% family law as a law firm in total. That’s it for that. Okay, awesome. So what I wanted to start with because part of my training as a divorce coach was how do we help clients who have attorneys be credible clients so that their attorneys can work with them and move the process faster and close the case or get to the end of the settlement quickly? And from your perspective, what makes a client easy to work with so that you can actually get the case? Hold on, I’m going to reassess that. I’m watching Two Dogs, and then I have my own let me shut this door and multiple gigs. But I have a guy who helps edit this, so just when the dogs bark. Okay. So when I was in my training for divorce coaching, they talked about what makes a credible client so that the attorney can work with them and have them close the case and get to the end as quickly as possible. So it doesn’t drag out from your perspective, what helps you as an attorney with your clients? Like, what do they do that makes it easier for you to work with them? Well, the first and foremost in having a better client, I’ll say, or what we call an a client in my office, we rate them as far as how they go and how they are, as far as facilitating the process for themselves as well as for us as a law firm. And in doing so, the first and foremost to me is information, information gathering, first of all. In other words, if you can come to me and it’s not necessarily in the first meeting, but definitely by the second meeting, I want my client to, whether they’re informed or not financially, if they can get me copies or have copies of any financial documents, preferably if there’s children’s issues and the children aren’t doing well. I want to see report cards. I want to see a psychologist report if there is any things of that nature. And then secondly, and probably even more important is the honesty of the client. So if a client feels that there is what I call skeletons in the closet, it’s better to tell me in the first appointment rather than the second, 3rd, or better yet, me finding out when we’re in front of a judge at a hearing or a trial. That’s the word. I can give you examples, timing, memorial. It’s the worst thing that can ever happen. You don’t want me to learn something about your case. And while I think I’m pretty good at it on the fly and can do very well in courtroom because sadly, after 25 years, it’s not one or two clients who have failed to tell me pertinent information. But certainly if you can tell me in the first consult or in the second, preferably the first, we can talk about it, so to speak. Put lipstick on the pig, as they say.

That definitely helps because everyone may have skeletons. Not everyone has skeletons. But certainly there’s things that, oh, you know what? I wasn’t good at this, or I wasn’t the best parent when I did that. Or you know what, maybe I shouldn’t have spent this last week. Or give me the information ahead of time and we can talk about it. Maybe there’s ways to fix it. Maybe there’s ways to dress it up. Maybe I want to figure out how to go first in the hearing. Maybe I’m going to file something so that way I get to talk about it first, which makes whatever the issue is smaller when they try and when the other side tries to question my client. Those are things I can try and do, but you’ve got to let me know when there’s something bad that you may or may have done. If it’s not paying taxes, if I beat my kid or while my kid was with me last week, something happened and he broke his finger in a car door, things of that nature. Got you. Yeah. That makes a lot of sense that if you are having someone represent you, the way they can best represent you is if they have all the information and use their professional experience to choose how to address it. Absolutely. That’s why I say information is the most important. Okay. Also, the sooner I get all the information, the sooner I can guess. I will just say yes. The sooner I can give information, give advice. So one of the things, as you know, people always want to know what their alimony is going to be, right? I don’t have a crystal ball, but with 25 years experience and a lot of trials, I have the experience to know what judges typically in my area of practice and area of concentration. In other words, like what counties I practice in. I can make recommendations based on the financial information once I have all the financial information. Right. But getting that sometimes is difficult. Client search. Slow to pull it all together, right? I’m always very scared when people ask me in my first consult, what do you think I’m going to get for Alamo? Or what do you think I’m going to have to pay in Alamo the first time I meet you? Probably not the best time to give you advice and then I can give you guestimates. But it really is a very wide spectrum that I’m going to give you because you might know what your spouse makes and what you make, but we don’t know all the expenses and stuff, and right assets.

Sometimes you may have a huge house, you may have a lot of money in a house, but we don’t know what the equity is. Invariably one spouse knows what the mortgage is and the other one doesn’t. Or if you’re going to have a large expense coming up, we have to put on a speedy thousand dollars roof on our house, things of that nature. I had one today where the biggest question was, who’s paying next year’s tuition bill for $30,000 for the two kids? That kind of thing. Or what percentage is mommy going to pay versus Daddy going to pay? Right. So when you’re talking about hearings and litigation like my divorce, we didn’t go in front of the court at all. We started with mediation. There were his attorney who was a shark attorney. I would classify him as that. I don’t know if you remember who it was. I don’t need to name him. And my ex stopped listening to him in mediation pretty quickly because he was like, we’re going to court. But we didn’t have any hearings, even though he filed some things that were like scare tactics, from my perspective. Yeah, I don’t get scared by that. But yes, there are motions sometimes motions that were like absurd and you were like, don’t worry, I just have to respond. But we never had hearings or anything. So when is it that clients have hearings before they even go to mediation? Because I know in Florida you’re required to do mediation before litigation. So locally right now, a very limited amount of hearings can be had prior to a mediation. Okay? So things such as a motion for attorneys fees can be heard before a mediation. Temporary relief such as temporary alimony or things of that nature are not going to be heard until after a mediation. So depending on who I’m representing, I may want to rush to a mediation knowing that it’s not going to get very far, but I know at least I can get my hearing so I can get the relief for my client.

the temporary relief is done in mediation because I was pretty strapped, but I was just using my credit cards leading up to mediation. And I didn’t reach out to you and say, like, I can’t make it to mediation because I was like, I will make it to mediation because I didn’t want to have to go to court for relief. And I wasn’t sure what that process was. And I didn’t ask too many questions before mediation. So there is mediation for temporary relief. If the mediation is the full, mediation is probably going to be way far out. Correct? Because also you might be talking about a lot of information that needs to be gathered. So if your spouse owns a business or a share of a large business, your spouse may not know the value of their share of the business. There might be records that I need to get from that business, and that’s going to take time. One of the things, like right now we’re at the end of the year in 2022, but I can’t get the financial records because a lot of people, they’re not ready for year end numbers to go. And then it takes a month or two at least for their CPAs to put their business numbers together. And as a result of that, I may not be ready for a real hearing anyway for another 90 days, for a while. Because for people who don’t haven’t gone through divorce, temporary relief is basically temporary alimony, child support. If one was the main bread winner and they’re not providing enough money to make ends meet in order to get to mediation where right. It can also include I need exclusive use of the house because the two parties aren’t getting along. I’m not saying that a court is going to award that either way, but that may be an issue or a temporary issue. May be timesharing as far as I need to go on vacation or I need to go to business conference or things of that nature. Are we filing taxes together or separate for this year? I need supervised contact because my spouse is addicted to drugs or causes physical harm to the children, things of that nature. Okay, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. From your perspective, what are the differences between a case that has a lot of issues when it comes to child custody challenges versus the splitting of assets? How do they differ in the challenges for the client and for you? Do you approach those two situations differently? Totally different. Money is different than timesharing. In Florida, we got rid of the word custody over a decade ago, and we call it time sharing. Okay. I’m not trying to teach anything. No, that’s really good for me to know. Custody was a dirty word. Okay? So we now use time sharing because everybody wanted to be the primary parent. Back in the day. When I started practicing, it was all about the primary parent. Interesting. And so we don’t do that. We talk in terms of time sharing, who has what days, what nights, what weeks, whatever it may be. And so dealing with children is totally different than dealing with money. I always say, I can split money, I can’t split kids. I can’t give you the top half of your son and give your husband the bottom half of your son, but I can take 100 out of $100. I can give you 90 and give him ten, or I can give him 90 and you ten. So there’s different remedies available between and they’re separate. They’re mutually exclusive, so one has nothing to do with the other. How you approach them is totally different. I mean, a lot of times in a money case, I’m going to bring in a forensic financial expert sometimes who’s going to help us talk about your alimony needs or your ability to pay alimony, or the value of your business, or the value of certain assets, things of that nature. Whereas if we deal with children’s issues, I might bring in a licensed mental health counselor or a psychologist, and we can deal with it that way. So it’s different experts, and it’s different and it’s different remedies. So it’s different conversations. I mean, conversations you can have at the same time, but they are mutually exclusive. Yeah. Okay, that’s good. When it comes to mediation, what are some recommendations that you give to clients to prepare for mediation? So I tell clients normally ahead of time, that if mediation is going to be successful, you are not going to get your best day and you’re not going to accept your worst day. At the same time, the other side is not going to get their best day, and they’re not going to accept their worst day. Right. So I tell them, look, the goal is in the beginning to figure out what your highest demand is, what their highest demand is. At least we didn’t have book ends. Now the question is, over the time of mediation, how close can we get and hopefully reach the resolution where you’re going to be a little unhappy and your spouse is going to be a little unhappy? Right. That’s what mediation and I always say, remember this, I was taught this by my father is that at mediation, both of you when I say both of you, you and your spouse have a pen. You have the ability to write down whatever agreements you want to come to.

When you go to court, neither one of you does. The judge has the pen. The judge can say or do whatever they want, and if you don’t like it, you’re going to be a long ride to the appellate court. It’s going to be very expensive. Yeah. I’m so grateful that we finished in mediation pretty quickly, and I think we were both on the same page that we didn’t want to make our lawyers rich and have our money disappear. Well, you’ve been to my office and you’ve seen pictures of me and my family, and I always say, Listen, we live a wonderful life, thank God. But how much you choose to fight determines how well we’re going to live as a family. So I don’t wake up in the morning, nor do I make any of my associates wake up in the morning to figure out who we’re going to bill and how much. But the work leads us that way. But I always say, listen, I can teach you how not to spend money. It’s up to you whether you want to do it or not. And it’s always incongruous the people who don’t have that much always want to spend more, and the people who have the money don’t want to spend it. Right. It’s interesting, I think, that choosing your attorney is really important, because if you choose an attorney who wants to instigate trouble and get you escalated to where all of a sudden you are in war mode, then they’re not going to be in your best interest to help end the divorce. Correct. I feel like my ex’s attorney wanted us to go to court, and he did many things like that motion that were kind of creating an acrimonious environment for us when we had talked from the get go of an amicable divorce so that we were amicable co parents. And I feel like my ex probably chose an attorney quickly. And thank God he had the rational mindset to realize his attorney wasn’t helping him in mediation and then just worked with our mediator, who was wonderful. But had he not, we could have gone down this path of letting his attorney direct us into a money pit situation. There’s no question. I always say you can catch more bees with honey. So while I’m a heavy litigator and I try a lot of cases in Central Florida, probably more than most, I have a large practice with other lawyers, so the percentages might be the same, but I’m still in court a lot. But I can tell people that I don’t wake up in the morning and want to get a court. I want to see if I can resolve it, because, as we said, your outcome is controllable. In a mediation, or even without a mediation, I’m going to bring this up. A lot of times I’ll say, oh, in a consult, I know your spouse is a lawyer. Yeah, it’s interesting when I say that, there’s two responses. One is, that’s great. It’ll be resolved quickly. The other response is, whoa, I don’t want to hire this person. Oh, they’re friendly. They’re in cahoots. I can tell you I’ve never worked with another lawyer on the other side to try and do anything shady or whatever just because I’m friendly with somebody. That should prove to be a benefit to you, because I can pick up the phone and say, hey, tell your client to stop doing ABC and D, or they can pick up the phone, call me and say, hey, stop doing ABC and D, and then I go to you. Or they go to your spouse. And the problems rectified without motions, without hearings, without a lot of litigation, and better for you guys. I mean, on the way back from mediation this afternoon, I was on the phone with another lawyer, and we were just talking about a case that we have and we’ve been trying to resolve it. I think we’re going to resolve the temporary matters without having the hearing next month. Wow. Yeah. That’s going to save both sides thousands. Exactly. On the sides. A guy I get along with right. He didn’t fold for me, and I didn’t fold for him.

It’s a win win if you are there to try and resolve it for your clients as quickly as possible and peacefully as possible. Correct. I’d rather save your money because I don’t advertise. I think one of the questions we’re going to get to later is about how to pick a lawyer. Advertising is not one of them. I don’t believe in it. I don’t do it. But to me, you want your lawyer or hopefully to have some friendship to a certain extent with the other side. In fact, one of the things I do whenever I get a case, regardless of who it is, I call and I pick up the phone, or I pick up the phone, I call the other side, and I say, hey, here’s what I understand about the facts of the case. What do you understand about the facts of the case? What do you think the parties agree on? What do you think the parties don’t agree on? And let’s see if we can get a writing down and agree to settle those things that we agree on, and then we can focus on what needs to be fought. Right. Everybody wins in that. And I believe that the faster I can close the case out, the sooner I’ll get two more cases in, typically, with what happens. And then you’re more inclined to refer a client to me because I did it economically, efficiently, and effectively. Right. Absolutely. Yeah. I think referrals are definitely the way that most people do and should hire attorneys. Unfortunately, they don’t. A lot of them do go through advertising. Really? Yeah. I mean, otherwise Google, Facebook, all those resources would be out there. But I do believe that you should be getting a referral from word of mouth. Hopefully somebody who’s used that lawyer, whoever is exactly. That, I think is vitally important because they have the experience. You can put anything on Facebook. You can even buy leads. You can buy commentary on these things, which bothers me. So I saw a lawyer, not in this town, about a website. He’s been out six months and had 100 and something reviews he could have had 100 and something clients in six months and closed those cases. Right. That bothered me somewhat. So be careful of the advertising that’s out there. Ask people. If not, your local bar association sometimes will make referrals. They’re not always the best, but basically if you have a CPA, if you know professionals, other doctors, other investment advisors, people like that, they know lawyers who they’ve dealt with or had clients who’ve dealt with other lawyers, and they are a good source of referrals. A lot of people are afraid to ask somebody because that means they got to tell somebody, hey, here’s what’s going on in my life. Right. It’s going to crush my image that I have the perfect life. Right. It’s okay to go through this process. It’s better for children. I mean, if the two of you are not getting along in the house with children and you don’t get divorced, you’re just teaching them to stay in an environment that’s bad unhealthy. Right? Yeah. It’s stressful for you and the kids. I believe the kids grow up in that space between the parents and if it’s unhealthy and stoic and there’s no affection, that’s what the kids are growing up in and that’s what they are seeing as a healthy marriage or assuming that’s what marriage should look like. Listen, one of the best couples I’ve ever worked with or client ever worked with, they do coparenting is you. Thank you. You should be applauded 100 fold. You should teach how to coparent. Yeah, I do work with my clients on that. And my thing with that is choose your battles. Really choose your battles and recognize that you split for a reason. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t actually work together as a team. We agreed when we split that we were just going to be a family with a different shape. And that’s really what we are. We still do holidays together and get along at kids events. The one thing I will say is we’re both rational people. We have our moments that we disagree. But overall, and I think it’s very difficult for people if they’re dealing with an ex who is mentally unwell or the situation. I am lucky that we are both rational people who can communicate through challenges and who wins in that, right. 

The children, absolutely. I’ve never seen a situation where that doesn’t benefit the children. Yeah, that was my main anytime there was a battle, I was like, should I bring this up or address this? And usually a lot of the time it was like, no, it’s not going to change anything. And I don’t need to make waves because for the most part, everything is going somewhat smoothly. And in the beginning, I know that my ex kind of felt like he got screwed in mediation. And I think partly that was because I’ll take that as a compliment. I think he wasn’t well prepared for mediation because his lawyer set him up to believe that there would be no alimony, which was just absurd with our situation. And so he wasn’t well prepared. And I had done a ton of research and soul searching and came in with my binder, so I was really confident and knew what I thought made sense and was fair for our situation. And so I know right after the divorce, he was angry, and there was a period where we didn’t communicate a lot or interact that much. But time healed. Yeah. And things kind of settle into place, and you just have to recognize that it does take time, because the divorce is stressful for people who are just starting out, and they don’t want to break the bank, and they’re trying to decide, like, should I hire an attorney with a retainer? Should I try and do it an attorney by the hour? Should I try and get a mediator and see how far we can get with a mediator without hiring attorneys? Like, what are the different approaches? I’m sorry to interrupt you, but it all depends on the facts of the case. Yeah. Okay. It really does. I mean, if it’s a short term marriage, it’s a year and a half long, two years long, let’s say, and you both make somewhat similar monies, and all you did was buy a house together, maybe get a consult or two, and you should be able to figure it out yourselves. Right? Okay. I would hope. But then again, if you started a business together and you had a kid and it’s still a two year marriage, and you can’t agree on time sharing, and you think your spouse is a drug addict okay. That’s not a simple case. Yeah. So you can’t just say, okay, anything under two years, you do it on your own. Anything over two years, you do an attorney. It’s very fact specific. I always say I don’t practice McDonald’s. You can’t come into me and say, I’ll take number one. I don’t have a board that says I’ll take number one. But super size it, right. It’s not that option. Yes. I try to use a three tier pricing approach as far as my retainer goes, the same. And it’s not how much money you have. There are lawyers who do that, and that’s bad lawyering. That’s a lawyer who you should run from. Just because you have money doesn’t mean it’s a big retainer. And just because you don’t have money doesn’t mean it’s a cheap retainer. Yeah. And listen to what your attorney is telling you is realistic. I had a lawyer I had a client come in one time. It was about five years ago, and the client came in. The client was making well in excess of half a million dollars a year, and it had been a 27 year marriage, and there was essentially no assets. These people have lived on every dollar. They made kids in private school, four cars, the boat, the beach house, the house, things like that, okay? And there was no money to go around other than his income. There was no 401. There was very little 401 and very little money now. And so the client came in and came in for a second opinion. He met with another lawyer, and he said, Look, I met with this afterward, my consult. He goes, I’ve met with another lawyer. He says he didn’t think I’d have to pay any Alabama. He said, not only do I think that’s wrong, I’ll guarantee you you’re going to pay alibaba. I said, God himself is not going to get you out of this one. And I said, here’s what you should do. And I go, Then why did you come to me? He said, well, that boy, you’re wanted a $25,000 retainer. You only want a $10,000 retainer. I said, I’d go back and tell this is what I told him. I said, I’d go back to the other one. Tell me puts it in writing that he guarantees no alimony, you’ll pay him $250,000. Right. And he’s like, Well, I thought something was up. I’m telling you it’s up. You can’t do it. I go, he was trying to get your retainer money, and that’s not going to happen. Right. You got to be concerned about that stuff. And so think about it logically. Thank God that client was a student enough that he recognized that was an implausible outcome. Yeah, absolutely. You wind up representing them and doing a good job for him and whatnot. But you’ve got to be realistic. I can’t win every case, but depending on what the fact pattern is. But the question is, how much better can I do for your loss? Right? You’re going to pay. Alamo the question that was, how much less can I get it than what they want? Right? Yes. That’s the win. And I think that what you said, realistically, what that guy was promising is just absurd. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true. Using your wits is a big part of yeah, but at the same time, if you came to me and your spouse makes $2 million a year, you don’t have any savings, and you say, Listen, my spouse is offering me $2,000 a month, and I say, you should take it. You should probably get a second opinion. Right. Common sense is important. Also, depending on who your referral source is. Thankfully, a lot of people get more than one referral when they come to see me. They’re like, oh, hey, so and so referred me, and so and so. If you feel comfortable with me, that should be good, or whoever you go to, if you got two or three people that used that person and you feel comfortable when you met them, that should be enough. I wouldn’t go out and try and interview 20 lawyers. Then. You’re not going to know where you’re going and you’re going to just be worse off than you were. If you want to just pick two or three. Yeah, absolutely. And how important do you feel is having, like, an easy rapport with the lawyer? Well, like I said earlier, the better the rapport, the more economically advantageous to the parties it is. And more likely than not, the chances are it’s going to resolve itself without the need of litigation, without the need of hearings or trials. Right. Okay. So one other question. When it comes to people who want to try and use like a mediator first without hiring attorneys, do you take that settlement, let’s say they get to a decent settlement with a mediator and then bring it to lawyer, each bring it to their own lawyer and have the lawyer review it? Or is that kind of I don’t like that when they come to me for that, I’ll just be honest with you, because invariably when they come to me, I don’t have enough documentation for me to guess. So if you bring me a settlement agreement and say, hey, is this good? He’s willing to pay me $10,000 a month in Alamon. Right. I can’t tell you if that’s good or not because I don’t have a w two, a tax return, I don’t have a financial affidavit. I don’t know if he owns part of the stock, part of the business. Have we had the business value? I don’t know. If your spouse works overseas and doesn’t pay taxes, that’s another issue. I mean, is your spouse about to go granted, your spouse might be making $100,000 now, but your spouse is set to get a raise and become part owner and maybe make $500,000 a year. Right. I need to know all the facts. Yeah. And without that looking at a piece of paper, I’m merely guessing. Yeah. And I’m not saying we have to litigate everything. I’m saying, come to me, bring me everything. Yes. Once again, it goes back to the first thing we talked about. It’s information. Yeah, information power. So one of the things I was just thinking and I’ve forgotten hold on. So for clients who are coming to you and emailing you every day with another question, like one of the things that in my training we were trained to help people organize their thoughts and organize their questions and consolidate so that they may be set up one meeting to talk with the attorney, and they have everything organized versus the one off email every other day. First of all, you’re going to save yourself a ton of money. Yeah, that’s why I try to help a ton of money. I tell people the worst thing you can do is constantly email me if you want to email me and say, hey, are we still meeting today at 03:00? That’s an email. Yeah, but hey, my spouse and I were talking last night and I think that I’m going to accept this for alimony and this for time sharing. What do you think? Right. No. Yeah, that’s called get on my calendar, let’s talk. That’s not an email because no matter what I email, you’re coming back. Right, well, I appreciate that, but I’m thinking this or this is another no, it’s cheaper and easier to talk than it is to email. Right. It’s going to be faster. Yeah, absolutely. You don’t want to be going .1 to send you an email, .1 to review it. And this next thing you know, you spent 2 hours emailing today saying it would be handled in a 15 minutes phone call. Yeah. So do you recommend, if they have a question about something like the alimony discussed, is to call the paralegal or email paralegal and say, no, not the paralegal. Well, call the paralegal or the receptionist to set up a time scheduled assistant. Right. Call and get all my books. Right. Yeah. And then you have my undivided attention. I have your case in front of me, whether it’s on a computer or the physical file or both. And I can sit there and say, okay, well, let me go back and look at your spouse’s tax return or your spouse is this, and I can assess all that. Right. That’s a thing. And then the other thing in my training, they talked about how as a divorce coach, we can be there to support the emotional aspect and the stress rather than having people lean on their attorneys whose hourly rate is 100%. 

 I always tell people, look, deal with you as a coach, deal with your counselor. Anybody else is going to be cheaper if you’re talking about it from the emotional aspect, unfortunately, the law is not emotional. Yeah. And so if you want to deal with the emotional part of it, there’s cheaper avenues to do it and there’s more readily accessible avenues to do that. Right. And by the way, at least in Florida, you want attorneys fees. You don’t necessarily get attorneys fees just for handholding. So unless it’s productive in the case, just calling to talk once a week is not compensible in that regard. So you want to be pointed in your conversations with your attorney. Hey, here’s what I’m thinking. Right. And let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about the facts, dealing with the emotions. I’ll listen to you, but I’ll be honest with you. US lawyers, while we’re called attorneys and counselors, we really aren’t the counselor part. Right. I know of one attorney in town who’s got a background in mental health. Right. There may be more, I just don’t know. But sure, why pay the hourly rate? And secondly, you want to separate that from the value of your lawyer representing. Absolutely. I would love your kids and I do love your kids, but you want me to be focused on getting you the relief and the remedies you want and not focused on taking on the psychological part of what handling, not lawyering. Right. That detract from my ability to do what I want. What you want me to do, right, absolutely. Oh, this is a question that one of my clients was just asking. If inheritance comes in during a marriage, is that a marital asset? That’s a great question. The answer is it depends. I thought I heard something like that was a little if you’re going to receive an inheritance, it needs to be received by I prefer and I always tell my clients a new account only in your name. That is never commingled. Got you. Leave it alone. If it’s left alone, you have the argument that it has not been commingled. It was received as a gift or an inheritance. It is not subject to the court’s equitable distribution authority jurisdiction. Right, okay. But if you get it and you put it into your joint bank account, then you’ve muddied the waters. And I’m not going to say it’s 100%. There’s cases that go both ways. It depends on how long it was there, how often it was commingled, how many checks went in, how many checks went out, how many years has it been, things of that nature. Right. Very muddy. Okay, got you. That’s good information to have. Always take check with your lawyer or talk to your lawyer before you’re going to do anything. If you’re going to put it into a separate account, if you’re not going to put it in a separate account, be very cautious. Yeah. Okay. That’s good information for just my knowledge. Last question, what are your thoughts on, like there was a lot of trending towards, like, people talking about collaborative divorce versus traditional divorce. Both uses lawyers. But what is your take on collaborative versus non collaborative approach? Very case specific. Okay. Very fact specific. In my opinion, not every case is a collaborative case. There are lawyers in town who only prefer to do collaborative and there are lawyers who only prefer to do litigation. I don’t agree with either. Okay. I think a happy medium is where you should be. Right. So it depends on what you want. So I have done collaborative cases then a few where the same concept backpack was around where the husband and wife are both parties, depending on the genders, they own a business together. And let’s say it’s a transportation business, a medical business, medical, manufacturing business, things of that nature. I even have one with a franchise. Both parties are integral in the success of that business. Okay. Yeah. More likely than not, the case law suggests that if you bring the business to the court, the court has to elect who’s going to get the business and who’s going to get half the value of the business. Okay. But sometimes and I did this one in the transportation company years ago whereby both parties were heavily needed. One worked the inside of the business and one worked the outside of the business. My client was the only outside. Both parties unequivocally agree that they both need to be business partners going forward. Okay. He needed her, she needed him. Right. They made a lot of money and they made a lot more money together than they were ever going to make a part. Sure. And whoever got the money, if they went to court, somebody was going to get the business and somebody else was going to get cash and they were going to open up their own business and compete. Terrible. That would have been the worst thing they could have done, was competing against each other. Right. It would have been is successful and it would have been financially, you would have been dissipating. So that was a perfect collaborative case because we did it because the remedy that we needed was available.

A lot of times I represent physicians or professionals where they need to do collaborative because of their schedules. I’ve represented physicians where we’ve done every collaborative meeting after 05:00 at night. Okay. You got to make sure the attorney on the other side and the neutral professionals are willing to work at night. Right, I see. So I did one where both sides were attorneys and everybody was in agreement. They didn’t want to do it nine to five. And so we did that after hours. I’ve done a couple of doctors at night, things of that nature. It doesn’t have to be a professional. It can be anybody of that nature. Or third, nobody wants sometimes there’s reasons why you want privacy. And in a collaborative case, everything is done privately. It’s not being published, you’re not filing stuff, and so nobody knows your business. That’s interesting. Yeah. That makes a lot of that can be a huge benefit to the parties. Right. And it’s not necessarily a lot of money. A lot of times it’s accusations of criminal activity, things of that nature. You don’t need that. Right. So every case, you have to understand collaborative cases. While they may save a lot of money at the end, depending on what the type of case is, there’s still a burden and it’s a little higher than the average case to get started because you’re hiring two more professionals. You’re hiring a mental health professional and you’re hiring a financial professional that are both neutral. So you’ve already got an added cost. Yes, for sure. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it because a lot of times that’s cheaper than if we litigate. I mean, I’ve got one where we needed a financial expert right. Now in the case, it’s not a collaborative case, but we realized that we just needed one financial person. We agreed to share the same expert without prejudice. Right. Because that person could be neutral. Right. And we hired an expert and we’re doing it that way, whereas it would be that way. In a collaborative case, the experts are neutral but it’s the added expense right off the bat. Not when you need them. Yes, that makes a lot of sense. People come into me all the time and they say, oh, is this good for collaborative? Or I definitely don’t want collaborative. And I tell them why, or I tell them why they shouldn’t. I’m not going to lie to you. The majority of my cases are in litigation. There are benefits. There are benefits to collaborative cases. Right, okay. But also you have to be collaboratively minded as far as both parties go, is what I mean. And getting back to information, if your spouse isn’t willing to voluntarily give the information, then you shouldn’t even be going into collaborative. Yeah. Okay. Because collaborative is probably going to fall apart. Right. Yeah. And so when you say collaborative versus litigation in my head, litigation means you’re going to court litigation. What I’m understanding is attorneys could end in mediation or could litigate in court. Correct. Okay. Because I always call it collaborative versus traditional, because I wasn’t sure what the collaborative versus litigation? You’d call it collaborative versus traditional. It’s still a very new word and so the nomenclature can be anything you want it to be. Right. But yes, there’s definitely two different approaches. But also you have to look at who the attorney is on the other side. There’s plenty of people who say they’re collaborative, but I wouldn’t bet on it. And I got to be honest with you, sometimes I get into a collaborative piece and I go, wow, I’m not the collaborative attorney for this. Or you know what, I really believe this one should be collaborative. Yeah. Because sometimes I’ll find out information I did one years ago without getting into the facts of it because it would be disclosed. But I learned some facts that were astonishing to me and it was very good that we were in collaborative because that would have been an embarrassment to the family and the person paying the alimony would have been economically destroyed if those facts are not out. Wow, interesting that they needed to stay collaborative. Yeah. And I wonder if that person realized upfront going into collaborative or they just got lucky that they chose collaborative when that they got lucky that they chose the attorneys who recommended collaborative. Because this was so new into collaborative times that we got into this. In fact, it was one of my first ten and it was probably the and I know it was the other side first. Oh, wow. And it was a benefit to the parties without okay. Yeah, that’s really interesting with that fact about the privacy. One more question. I thought, okay, so how do attorneys choose the mediator that they agree? Like, you and my ex’s attorney chose Amy Goodblatt and she ended up being a wonderful mediator for us, and I felt like helped. How do I look at it? I get the attorney on the other side to hopefully pick up the phone a lot, don’t, I’ll be honest with you, but I try and get on the phone and say, okay, who has the more difficult client? Okay. And then I’ll say, okay, if my clients more difficult, here’s why my clients more difficult, and what person is going to facilitate my clients personality the best? Is it somebody older? Is it somebody younger? Is it somebody of the male sex or the female sex? Is it somebody who only mediates or somebody who mediates and practices law? To me, it depends on those facts. 

 I think lawyers a lot of times use whoever they like and don’t get along. I have preferences of who I like, of course. Yeah. But at the same time, if my client needs a special type of mediator or the other side needs a special type of mediator, then let’s accommodate that, because that’s going to reach the resolution for the parties. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I’m not just going to pick my friend because I like my friend. I mean, I want to get the case settled. Yeah. Once again, I don’t advertise, so I’ve got to get you settled to get you recommending me. Yes, exactly. Yeah. A case ending fast and smooth is definitely the best case scenario for a client to refer their divorce attorney once it gets dragged out. The question is why? And sometimes, obviously, if the X on the other side is difficult or the other lawyers difficult, you don’t have full control. But I guess a good attorney who’s been around a long time knows how to work with difficult lawyers on the other end as well. Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. Okay, Damon, thank you so much. This is great. Thank you for the opportunity. I really appreciate that. Yeah, so I will be in touch just to let you know when this is up on YouTube. And I just really appreciate your time. Happy holidays, and we’ll chat soon. Thank you. Thank you so much. All right, take care.