Hot Topics Around Divorce



We love getting questions from our listeners and social media followers and everyone in our Ex Experts community, and we had a lot of fun recently answering a bunch of those questions.

We always say the goal here on the Divorce Etcetera Podcast and through the Ex Experts website is to give you the information and answers you need so you can get through your process in the best way possible for you and your family.


So in today’s episode of the Divorce Etc… Podcast, we’re welcoming back another one of our favorite lawyers and we’re going to go through kind of a hot topics hit list of questions that she has been dealing with just for you.

We’re the exEXPERTS, Jessica and TH.


We help you navigate your divorce and successfully move on with your life.

Let’s bring in today’s guest.

Hey everybody, it’s TH here.

And Jessica.

And we are happy to have Tracy and Moore Grant.

She’s got as many names as I do.


The founder of the Amicable Divorce Network, She is a family law attorney and mediator.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Did we just lose TH?

She went away.


OK, so I will pick up from here.

We met Tracy through the Amicable Divorce Network and have been working with her and collaborating with her and are so happy to be part of each other’s networks because obviously all of our resources are for the benefit for you.


So as I mentioned briefly, Tracy also gets a lot of questions from her community and has brought to us, like I said, kind of a hit list of hot topics to talk about, which we thought was really great.

It’s kind of like the questions that you might have that you don’t really know who to ask.


Is that kind of how you would categorize it, Tracy?

Yeah, I would say exactly that.

You don’t really know who to ask the question to or really how to find the answer easily.

And these are some top misconceptions that I see that people are usually surprised about the answer.


And so I’ve been sort of keeping track of those hot topics, those questions that I’m always being asked.

And so I thought we would to go through some of the most popular ones today.

So thank you very much for having me on.

It’s always a great and fun conversation to be with you guys.


So glad for you to be here.


And and we like literally just finished talking about something.

I almost kind of want to start there.

You were talking everyone when they get divorced, doesn’t matter who you are, is always thinking about the money how much money it’s going to cost.

What can they do to save money.

What can they do to not have to spend as much as they think that they’re going to.


But you said that you’ve seen some crazy, costly mistakes that people have made that really could have been very easily avoided.

So, one at a time please.

OK, so I’ve seen two really big ones just in the past few months with clients.


And so I think well meaning clients usually are trying to go online, figure out what needs to be done in their divorce and they want to handle as much as possible before going to see an attorney because they’re afraid of attorneys and they’re trying to reduce costs, reduce conflict and try to get things handled.


So if they go online, they read you’re we’re going to have to divide all the assets.

And so one mistake I saw was that a client was like, gosh, I’m going to have to split my 4O1K.

And so he went ahead prior to meeting with me or any other attorney and cashed out half of the 401K, took the withdrawal penalty on it, took the tax it on it for that year and then gave the half of those net funds to his spouse.


And I was like, Oh my gosh, I really hated to tell him that when you are transferring funds pursuant to a divorce, there is a very special court order that applies and it’s called a Quadro QDRO and that stands for Qualified Domestic Relations Order.


And so once a divorce is final, a second order is put in front of the judge and they sign it and you can transfer funds from your 401K to an IRA for your spouse.

And nobody is penalized.

The person who owns the 401K, they are not penalized for taking any money out.


The person who’s getting the funds, they’re not penalized for receiving money in any way.

And so this is a very tax neutral event that almost all clients don’t know about.

So usually they’re asking that question or surprise to learn that transferring funds pursuant to a divorce is a tax neutral event.


So that guy should have held his horses a little bit and would have saved a lot of money and penalties and taxes is there.

Anything that’s a perfect example of you don’t know what you don’t know.


Because you would never know that.

And I and every and he had the best intentions.


They both did.

They were like, we’re going to have to divide this account.

Let’s go ahead and do it.

And you know, I felt so bad because they really were trying to approach things in the best way and had no way of knowing or understanding the mistake they made.


And so and then you said for another client you saw with regards to their house.



So the same idea, you know, they went online, were looking at what do you need to do to, you know, divide your divorce assets.

And so they were thinking for each asset, every single bank account, retirement account and the home equity, that each and every item was going to have to be divided.


But what we actually do in a divorce case is we look at dividing as few count accounts as possible.

So we look at is there one place where we can move the money from and do it in one transaction.

Sometimes that’s not possible, but I’ve rarely had a circumstance where we’re actually dividing each and every asset.


And then this circumstance, they realized that they were going to have to divide the equity in the home.

And prior to meeting with me, they went ahead and completed an equity buyout.

Refinance took the equity out of the home and he paid her her half of the equity because he was keeping the home.


Now he refinanced something around a 3.1 interest rate into something around the 7% interest rate.

It about doubled his monthly payment and then some because the mortgage was now increased for the amount of equity that was pulled out.


And just assessing the finances, I could show that that transaction could easily have been done with the value from an IRA and another asset or investigating the option of doing a home equity line of credit as opposed to an actual refinance.


But that changes your interest rate.

He could have just pulled out some dollars with a HELOC and so just didn’t just didn’t know, you know, and we’re really trying to do the best thing and to try to be very efficient and proactive and actually it was an extremely costly mistake.


So let me ask you something is is that a lawyer who answers those questions or do you need a financial planner to answer those questions?

Because people are going to think that’s money related.

So do I need a financial planner for that?


A financial planner would know the answer, a lawyer would know the answer, a CPA would know the answer, and in regards to the mortgage, a certified divorce lending professional would know that answer.


And so there are many different people, but I just want to always encourage people to not be scared to seek advice before making big moves like this.

I mean, if you’re talking about cashing out accounts and dividing assets, have a consult with somebody, whether it’s a legal, professional, financial professional and ask those questions first to make sure you’re going down the right path.


So you guys know we have many podcast episodes on divorce, etcetera, with a certified divorce lending professional with Jody Bruns and Emily Flowers, and with a bunch of CDF as and different financial experts.


So if you go into the My Wallet section on, you’ll find experts there and information related to what Tracy is talking about, as well as in my stuff for any questions about your house and those kinds of details that Tracy’s also addressing.


Don’t be afraid to ask a question.

It’s totally fine.

That’s what everybody’s here for.


And and I mean that’s like literally what we talk about all the time.

Also make sure that whoever you’re working with that you feel comfortable with them and that actually answering your questions and not making you feel silly or you know that you that you don’t know the answers or that you even have those questions because that stuff is really important.


Kind of in that same vein, you know, this is before people getting married, talking about, you know, prenups.

But when you get divorced, obviously that’s when those things are activated.

So for people out there, what are the benefits of a prenup when you’re getting divorced?


There are many benefits.

I love that you’re asking this because somewhere here on my desk is my prenuptial agreement necklace that I’ll have to get out for this.

So I feel so strongly about prenups that I went to the trouble to buy this beautiful necklace that says prenup on it and they’re taking a picture.


I’m taking a picture.

You need to hold it up a little bit more.

Ready 1/2.

OK, so a lot of people say, well, a prenup is acting like you’re going to get a divorce, but nobody feels bad about buying a life insurance policy.



Because you don’t expect to die.

But you’re sort of like, well you know, things happen.

So a pre and with marriage is still ending at about a 50% rate.

It’s it’s an insurance policy for your marriage.


And what it also really does is that people don’t think about is it really causes couples who are about to get married to have a really good conversation about money.

As a divorce attorney, I see people come to me all the time and finances is one of the biggest reasons that people get divorced.


And they say my spouse was a spender and I’m a saver and we don’t have the same attitudes about money or I had no idea how much debt they had.

And it’s put so much pressure on our family.

And so when you do a prenup, you actually disclose all of your assets and you share it with the other party.


Now, when I do a prenup for couples, I also include all of the debts and make sure that that is shared.

That isn’t required in every state, but I think that’s important disclosure.

And so then you have to have those conversations about money.

The first thing a prenup does is ’cause those conversations.


The second thing is it memorializes what parties had at the time of marriage.

And sometimes that’s nothing.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get a prenup.

If it’s a young couple and they’re just starting in their careers, that’s fine to say.

I have $200 in my bank account and a use Honda Accord.


Great, because what we spend time and money in in divorce is figuring out what people had at the time of marriage.

You spend a lot of time and effort and attorneys fees figuring that out.

If parties have a prenup, it’s done.

It’s streamlined that this is exactly what we had.


And so that is a really great way to use it you.

Hear stories in the news that the prenup is contested.

It’s not holding up in your like look at Kevin Costner’s situation and somebody you know.

We only hear about it obviously as it relates to celebrities and people with a lot of money.


Why wouldn’t a prenup hold up in your?


Yeah, So prenups are really tricky and the law surrounding them changes the law.

It’s it’s sort of a quasi contract family law issue.

And I’ve been practicing since 2002 and even during that time in Georgia, the requirements for what’s required for a prenup have changed.


And sometimes the law will say, well, here’s an example, in Georgia, you have to have it signed by a notary, both parties, their signature notarized, plus a witness.

And a lot of people make a mistake of not getting an additional witness because they think the notary is the witness, but it is actually somebody else.


And so that is a new development I’ve been practicing 22 years.

So there’s been a lot of developments, but that’s one of them in in prenups.

And so they might say, oh, a prenup has to have a notary plus a witness as an example, and they will honor past prenups.


Even if the law was different at the time the prenup was made.

Now that doesn’t mean that it really serves no value, because regardless if it’s going to be enforceable or not, it’s still is a notarized list of assets and debts at the time of marriage, which is still going to save people thousands of dollars in a divorce.



We’re just going to take a quick pause here because we know when we were getting divorced from our exes.

We hope someone would take us by the hand and make sure we didn’t make all of the mistakes and more that Tracy is talking about here and more to come.

So you’re in luck.


Just like building X experts for you, we also created a divorce rule book and it’s free.

We we share what we wish we knew back then so you don’t make the same mistakes that we did.

If you want your copy, all you have to do is go to and it’s right there for you.


You don’t know what you don’t know, but the exEXPERTS do.

So, Tracy, I love that one of the questions that you had is one of these, you know, who do you ask?

Type of a thing was whether or not your spouse has to actually agree for you to keep your married name.


And I thought that that was so funny because after my second divorce, I actually changed my name back to my original first husband’s last name.

And so and he and I had told him that I was doing it.


It’s my kids’ last name.

We’re still really close like I was It just made sense for me to do that.

And I he had made a joke like I was going to have to pay him royalties for having that last name.

So then when I saw that you were saying like, just do you need someone’s permission?

Like, is that a thing?

People think that all the time.


So a lot of times I’ll have a client say, gosh, I want to keep my married name, but I’m not sure my husband will agree or reverse.

I’ve had men say I want to force her to not keep my name.

And there’s just this misconception that there’s some sort of permission needed by the other party that it’s something that we can negotiate and it isn’t.


It’s your name.

So you can choose to keep the name, you can choose to get rid of the name, but it’s ladies choice, so to speak, because that’s the gender we see most often changing their name.

So it’s whatever you want.

You don’t need the other person’s permission.

They can’t force you to change it.


And it actually is one of those things where I see becomes a source of contention.

And it’s one of those things that we don’t need to be arguing about because you really can’t do anything about it.

But I’ve had people even try to negotiate one way or another in the initiation, and I’m like, it’s it’s off the table.


That’s not something that we can negotiate here.

So you can do what you want with your name, ladies.

I was really afraid for what your answer was going to be.

I was.

I was like, wait a second.

Is she going to say that I can’t change my name or that I have to change my name because he says so.


So I’m so glad that that was your answer.

Totally your.

OK, let’s talk about another thing that you brought up here, about not bringing your mother into your divorce process.

Well, in particular, I have people try to bring their mother and others to their divorce consult.


And so this is a very controversial topic.

And so I think I had a TikTok about this and people were really on both sides and coming after me in the comments.

So let me work through it.

So I’m a divorce attorney and so when somebody comes to meet with me, it’s that person’s case.


They are the one who is getting divorced.

And often they will want to bring somebody and they’ll say, well, this person is just for support.

I need help to get through this process and this person is very grounding for me.

And that may be wonderful, but I am a stickler for the rules.


And so in Georgia, if you bring somebody else into your console, you no longer have attorney-client privilege.

And so you all not at all, Well, not at all be if there’s a third party in there who isn’t a member of your legal team.


So if you bring in your mom, for example, that means if you then get asked questions, you know, did your attorney advise you to cash out that account or you know, something like that.

Normally we can say don’t have to answer that, that’s attorney-client privilege.


But you wouldn’t have that if somebody else is in the room.

And so you really do want that attorney-client protection as much as that person might be a comfort to you and very helpful.

What I always tell clients is let’s meet together first, let me go over all of your questions.


And if we need to bring in that person later to just give them a recap on some of these things, that’s fine.

But I don’t want to destroy attorney-client privilege because sometimes in a highly contested case, I when I used to litigate, which I don’t anymore, I did have it come up.


And then they even in a deposition, they’d say, well, when you’re when you had this appointment, who all was in the room because they know, because somebody was talking about it, that they were at the console and they put something on Facebook and blah, blah, blah.

And it all blew up.

So they know they can now open up all those questions.


The second part is Mama might be a witness.

My father was with me every step of the way.

And I I’m like trying to remember, as you’re saying all of this, I don’t think he was in some of the meetings, but when we’re sitting in the courthouse getting prepared for going in to see the judge, he was surely there.


So I guess if you bring somebody in, you have to really trust them.

And also make sure they’re not going to be a witness in court.

I’m also wondering though, is there, if you know that, is there anything that you can do to kind of protect yourself proactively?


Like, could I say I’m bringing my brother, my dad, my mom, whatever, and walking in and having some kind of documentation there to sign to say that we have attorney-client privilege because of this or this, or if they are in that?


Frankie’s shaking her head No.

For anybody.



Well, she’ll answer in a second.

But also like, if they’re in that first meeting or in one meeting, are you losing your attorney-client privilege forever, or just for the purposes of that one meeting?


Just for that meeting and what went on in that meeting.

And so that’s where it extends to is the attorney-client privilege for what was discussed during that particular incident.

And so that’s important to know.

But the flip side of that is the people closest to you most likely would also be witnesses for you.


It should a court hearing occur.

So, for example, if THS dad had to get up on the stand and testify about what’s been going on in her life and all these different facts, ’cause they probably make a great witness, ’cause they know everything that opposing attorney can then say, OK, Dad, well tell me what happened in this meeting out here?


Did anybody tell you anything that you need to do about your testimony?

Was anybody telling her to like take off that sparkly ring that she had on what happened to her Rolex?

What did her attorney say about this other person?

And none of that is protected.

And so tricky Tricky attorneys know that, and not even tricky attorneys, any attorney knows that.



Know that they can get to this information.

So you need to be very mindful of that.

And it’s perfectly fine to have a support person leave them in the lobby or have them come in at just the end to ask their questions, maybe to the attorney separately.


But as far as things that you want to keep private, which would be litigation strategy, legal advice, it’s you and your attorney have attorney-client privilege and anybody on the legal team, the paralegal, the private investigator, things like that.

Anybody else, The privilege is broken.


That’s huge to know.

I hope everybody listening understands that, because I think it’s fair to say that it’s probably pretty common practice for when we’re going through divorce to bring a loved, trusted person into, if not every meeting, you know, at least one or several of them.


And to think that that could actually be somehow hitting you in the ass on the back end is kind of scary.

And let me make a little caveat to that.

So I have had over the years where I’ve had clients who have a traumatic brain injury or have some sort of disability perhaps that they do need assistance.


They need somebody there taking notes.

Or if I meet with clients on Zoom, I’ve had situations where I have to record the meetings so they have it later because they maybe have severe memory issues.

So some accommodations can be made, but you would have to show that extenuating circumstance.


So I fully understand people are nervous and they’re upset and they want that person with them.

But let’s just be extra careful and do it the consult yourself and these meetings yourself because it usually after a couple of minutes those nerves die down, people feel a lot better and you know, can move on with the consult themselves that that’s been my experience, but I don’t find myself to be particularly scary.


So I would just say just on the interest, in the interest of caution, you know, leave Mama at home.

That’s amazing.

That’s amazing advice.

All right.

And so last question, I love these like hitting a bunch of different things But obviously we always talk, do a lot of talking about dating after divorce and you said specifically you know people ask you why shouldn’t they date before they’re officially divorced.


And and I want to know in your in your answer, is this also a state by state answer?

OK, so this was my most popular TikTok by my divorce TikTok standards.

It went viral and I just did a random post one day on why you should not date until you’re divorced and people went wild.


And the point of what I was saying was you shouldn’t date until you’re divorced because the other person gets mad.

Oh, so when they get your dating and when they get.

Mad gets MAD.

Which person?

The person who’s either who just the other.


Person your your ex.

You know so your ex-spouse, your seem to be ex-spouse.

So they see Oh my gosh I heard from somebody that they were at the bar with this other person.

They were seen on a date and the other person gets mad.

And the point is you want to tempt more flies with honey.


You want to try to keep cost and conflict low.

You don’t want the other person emotionally upset and jealous and raging at you because as you’re separating, the only way that they can really project their anger is through the court system is through the divorce.

That’s the only weapon they have left because you guys are now separating and so try to do that as peacefully as possible.


Because if the other person gets upset, then they are going to try to do things to heal that pain.

And the only thing they can do is serve more discovery, set more depositions, which a lot of attorneys are very happy to do.

Now people got upset with this because they said, oh, well, my former spouse, or soon to be, they’ve already moved on.


They actually cheated on me.

So you’re saying I can’t move on?

Well, guess what?

That’s what I’m saying because that other person might be a prideful jerk.

And even though they’re walking around town with Susie Q, the minute they see that you have moved on, it is on.


And whether they have moved on or not, they are going to try to come after and inflict upon you and you know their personality far better.

So I always say to wait, it has nothing to do with state law.

I still get questions almost daily like does this apply in Florida?


Does this apply in Missouri?

And it has nothing to do with state law.

Now, technically in Georgia, if you’re not divorced, it is adultery and the court can consider that.

But even in other states where that isn’t the case, it’s more about keeping the temperature down to get you a cost effective and quick settlement more than anything to do with state law.


Because that’s the number one reason I’ve seen things blow up.

People have a nice, peaceful, amicable, uncontested divorce.

They’re working through some issues and then somebody gets ticked off and it’s all off the table and so.

This is like, this is a whole episode unto itself.


Because my divorce took four years.


And he was engaged to somebody else.


And I specifically waited, mostly because I couldn’t.

Like, I didn’t even know what was going on.

I I wasn’t.

Gonna feel like your the kids were little and like.



I was moving right you.

There was a lot of stuff going on.

But then when I did date, I kept it out of town.

So it was like, on my time, and I definitely lied to people.

And it’s not an easy secret.

Your kids like, where are you?

Where are you?


Who you with?

When are you coming home?

You’re not with me, you’re with dad.

I don’t care.

What are you doing?

Are you in the house?

Can I come by?

Can I say hi?

I’m not home.


Well, you know, like, it’s really, it’s really the wrath of the kids that’s going to make you go crazy if you date and you need to keep it a secret.


But I also do want to take note and say that there are certain circumstances and I totally understand what your recommendation is, but you don’t even know what’s going to piss people off anymore.

There are some people that whatever you just stand.


You know, you could get a new house, you could get a new haircut and they’re pissed off.

I mean, you don’t know, you know, or you look good.

And they’re pissed off.

And you’re happy.

And they’re pissed off.


So yes to dating.

I totally hear you.

But just.

It’s no to dating.


No to dating.


OK, she said.

No, she said.

No, everybody.

That’s right.

That’ll be a discussion.

We’ll have to continue that for sure, yeah.

I mean, I’ve had this conversation with people where they’re at the very early stages of divorcing and they say how soon can I date?


And you know, the, you got to remember, two people are usually at two different stages.

So somebody has thought about this divorce for a long time and they’re ready to move on now.

And the other person is in the grief stage.

So when you don’t have people on the same page, you’re going to really further upset that other person as well.


So I usually say, you know, the difference in cost between, you know, like uncontested, amicable and a contested divorce is somewhere in the neighbor of $25,000.

So think how badly?

How much?

Is that?

Worth $25,000.


So if you want to go on that date and then you want to send me a check for $25,000 the next day, do it.

Do it all day long.

That’s your choice.

I gave you your options, but trying to keep things low and private and, you know, not engaging in that can really save a lot of conflict and money.


And I know people aren’t going to like that advice.

They and they never follow it.

People pay me great money for advice that they all follow, but I’m going to put.

It out because it’s a matter of what’s fair.

Like that’s not freaking fair.

Yeah, not fair.

Who gets to do whatever or she gets to do whatever.


And I don’t, and I’m entitled.

So anyway, yes, this is a whole other conversation for another day.

That’s right.

That’s right.

Well, Tracy, as always, thank you so much for being here and for shedding all of that amazing wisdom for us and the community.


For everyone listening, if you’ve enjoyed this episode of the Divorce, Etcetera podcast with the ex experts today, then please help us out.

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For more information about Tracy and the Amicable Divorce Network and everything they offer, check out the show notes.


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Have a great day.

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