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Announcer: [0:01] You’re listening to the OverDivorce Podcast with host Tom and Adrian — two guys swapping stories about getting over divorce.

[0:08] If you’re going through a painful divorce and are struggling with anger and anxiety, then you found the right podcast. Hang with us for the next 30 minutes or so, and we promise, you’ll gain useful insight and effective tips and techniques for getting over your divorce and rebuilding a better life.

Tom: [0:23] Welcome to the Over Divorce Podcast! I’m Tom.

Adrian: [0:26] And I’m Adrian.

Tom: [0:27] We’ve got a special for this today. Louis Tesser from KS Family Law is joining us. Louis is an attorney based here in Atlanta.

Louis Tesser: [0:37] So glad to be here.

Tom: [0:38] Thanks for joining us! People are interested in hearing about the legal technicalities of going through what involves a dreaded and facing the reality of actually talking to an attorney. I thought you could take a minute and tell people what you do.

Louis Tesser: [0:52] I represent men and women going through divorce or domestic cases, which is often, virtually always, a tough thing for anybody. Sometimes I’m representing somebody that is really ready to be divorced and can’t wait for it to be done. Sometimes I’m representing somebody that really doesn’t feel that way.

[1:17] There’s quite a variety of cases I deal with, a variety of challenges and, the satisfaction of the job comes from doing it well and helping people that really need help.

Adrian: [1:29] Can you walk us through the typical divorce process, from start to finish? I know there isn’t really a typical divorce, but can you outline some of the things that happen in the process?

Louis: [1:43] Well Adrian, I think you’re a hundred percent right that there’s no typical divorce. Every case is absolutely different in some way or another. There is some sort of stereotypical way that it goes.

[1:59] Which is, you file a case. It is served, which means that the person that is the defendant, the person that didn’t file the case but is being filed against, is served with either, a sheriff hands it to them or they sign something that says, “I acknowledge that this lawsuit is out there”.

Adrian: [2:19] Yeah, that’s got to be a rough experience, where someone isn’t expecting that, having the sheriff come and knock on the door.

Louis: [2:27] It absolutely is. It’s something you’ve seen in the movies. You can have a guy just throw it at you, you can hire somebody. The typical easiest way to get it done if they won’t acknowledge service, if they won’t just sign off on it, is to have the sheriffs come to the door.

[2:44] A good lawyer who understands that there’s a good lawyer on the other side, that should be a rarity. In other words, almost always both parties should agree. Let’s just sign off on the fact that this lawsuit is going.

[3:00] Once that’s going, once service is perfected, in other words, once that service has happened, now it’s time for people to exchange information.

[3:10] That can be as simple as somebody just saying, “Look. I know what’s out there is this asset. We don’t need to be any more formal about it because I really know and trust my spouse, or I just know what the situation is.”

[3:25] It can be as elaborate as filing something called interrogatories questions, filing something called request to produce documents, which in essence is subpoenaing documents from the other party.

[3:37] You can also subpoena documents from their doctor. You can also subpoena documents from their bank. You can also subpoena documents from their employer.

[3:47] You can also depose them. Ask the questions under oath. You can do that to the parties. You can do that to the girlfriends. You can do that to the boyfriends. You can do that to the people that you think might be those people.

[4:00] You can turn over the world, but the idea is now you’re in the phase of figuring out what’s going on.

Adrian: [4:06] What usually happens? I know that there probably isn’t a lot of trust there. How does it usually work?

Louis: [4:14] The truth is and I think that the scandal of family law is that for your average person it’s pretty expensive. Your average person doesn’t trust their spouse.

[4:28] Your average person has some questions about maybe what ended the marriage or about what happened to the money that they thought they had.

[4:37] All this stuff costs money. Depositions are pretty expensive. Subpoenas are pretty expensive if you’re going to do that extensively.

[4:46] The average person really more or less trusts the information that the other person…their spouse that now they apparently hate or don’t love as much as they once did…hands to them.

[5:01] It’s sort of a practical question for the lawyer and their client how much discovery you’re going to do.

Adrian: [5:08] Is most of that pretty accurate? With a lot of the dissolving of trust, are people playing in the gray or are they pretty straightforward?

Louis: [5:20] How would I know, Adrian?

Adrian: [5:22] Yeah, we just picked you up hitchhiking. We appreciate you stopping by.

[5:25] [laughter]

Louis: [5:29] By and large, I believe when you get information from somebody and you dig deeper often you find that while what they said is strictly true, maybe the way they put it out there didn’t tell the whole truth.

[5:45] For middle class people, for example, their finances aren’t all that complicated. You can certainly go overboard with the discovery.

[5:54] Sometimes it’s used more for sort of a torture method than to actually discover information which it’s meant to do. From nothing, if your client walks in and says, I pretty much know what’s out there. There’s a jeep. There’s a house with this mortgage on it and there’s a savings account with ten thousand dollars, that could be pretty inexpensive.

[6:17] If both parties have jobs that produce W2s, I mean, it’s sort of hard to fight with them about what the income is.

[6:27] When you have people that have independent businesses, when the finances are complicated, when you go to town and really dig in. Especially for wealthier people, discovery can be tens of thousands and beyond.

Adrian: [6:46] The point you made about the torture thing. I think is really salient. I felt that way.

[6:51] I know my ex felt tortured by it and was offended by it even though we discussed the futility of it and still. The idea of yea I agree it’s probably too much but my attorney doesn’t know what they don’t know.

[7:09] You can’t really argue with that but it’s like, you’ve never lied to me before and I’ve never lied to you before, why would we start that now? Still, these questions after question after question.

Louis: [7:22] Right, absolutely. I think even with these people that consider the other to be, to have been truthful during their marriage, may wonder if they are still dealing with the same person.

Adrian: [7:35] I think that is true.

Louis: [7:36] It is a case by case basis, what discovery you want to do.

[7:40] I have represented a person who was on the receiving end of more than a hundred thousand dollars of a private investigator following her around.

[7:52] Certainly there are situations where people take it to extremes.

Tom: [7:56] The private investigator thing, I want to probe that a little bit because I think that part of it is fascinating.

[8:01] Two things; one, I’ve heard private investigators say that if you suspect something is going on, there almost always is. I have also read that private investigators are under a great deal of pressure to produce something.

[8:16] Even if there is not anything going on, they’ve got to figure out that something is going on to sort of rationalize their pay. How does that get resolved in the real world?

Louis: [8:24] If it’s possible, I think both points are good ones. I think you probably have a fairly decent sense as a spouse when your spouse is checked out.

[8:38] It’s not unusual for better or for worse in this society for people to maybe line up their options for the post divorce world. They don’t want to be alone. They’re not happy in their situation and it’s not completely unusual for people to line up another relationship.

[8:57] The detectives certainly benefit from this idea that you need to dig into it.

[9:02] I think one idea that is true in Georgia, and I suspect is true throughout the country is that conduct such as adultery in an actual trial may not be as just devastating to the actual outcome of the case as one imagines it would be. In other words, morally we all sit here and say, gosh, if you caught your spouse cheating on you, it would be game over, you get everything; you get all the chips.

[9:34] Actually it doesn’t work that way in Georgia, generally, and I don’t suspect that’s true throughout the country. If you put yourself kind of mentally on a jury and you say, is adultery really just such a simple thing?

[9:47] I mean, were the parties unhappy with each other? The fact that there was adultery means that they were a terrible spouse throughout the marriage? If you put yourself in that position as a juror, if you’ll imagine that, you might think, well, I still split the money, I will still make sure they are both OK.

Tom: [10:05] You know, I’m shocked to hear, as stupid as this is, that it goes to jury trial. I just thought that there was always a judge.

Louis: [10:14] Tom, you’re 99 percent right. However, you happen to live in the unique state in the entire United States that has jury trials for divorces.

[10:26] It’s not the typical thing, but it is possible in Georgia to have a jury trial for your divorce. Not true of the rest of the country. Texas has it to some extent.

Tom: [10:36] How often have you tried in front of a jury?

Louis: [10:40] I have had a few jury trials. I had one last year, which was a substantial jury trial. It is something that in Georgia people sort of deploy usually to intimidate. They say, “We’re going to take this all the way to a jury,” and you sort of think, “Wow. You’re probably kind of bluffing right now.”

[11:04] It can be done. I think that lawyers sort of feel that the jury is going to really punish conduct such as adultery. What you’ll find is people just kind of want to be fair. They’re not so judgmental as you might imagine.

Adrian: [11:19] At the end of the day, it doesn’t sound like hiring a private investigator would be money well spent, unless you’re going to go by trial by jury.

[11:29] Even then, it doesn’t sound like it would be money well spent, even if you have a Matlock case.

Louis: [11:36] That’s correct. Often people will just sort of admit it. Certainly, it’s worth it if you have some money to burn and you just want to be satisfied as to know what it was and sufficient to you to just look your spouse in the eye and say, “You lied to me, and I know it now, and that’s the way it is.”

Adrian: [11:59] A little bit of peace of mind and some closure perhaps. You know what’s kind of going on.

Louis: [12:04] Correct. I’ll tell you one place that I think a private eye can make a huge difference, and I’ve certainly experienced this, is if you’re alleging that your spouse is a drunkard, is a drug user. I’ve had a private investigator follow people where they’re just drinking in the parking lots. A private investigator watches them down a bunch of drinks.

[12:28] You could do it using credit cards if they’re not smart. People that are real alcoholics know to buy their liquor with cash.

Adrian: [12:40] When does that come into play? Is that more in custody issues or just standard divorce issues? When?

Louis: [12:47] Correct. Custody would be a primary where proof of that nature would absolutely come into play.

[12:54] I think that private investigators can be worth the money under the right circumstances, and every case is different. I don’t want to be going on the record saying that they’re not a good value, but they’re not always a good value.

Tom: [13:09] There is pressure for them to find something right?

Louis: [13:11] Absolutely.

Tom: [13:12] They’ve got to be able to dig up some dirt.

Louis: [13:16] I will tell you that as fascinating as us lawyers are, they are really a lot more fun to trade stories with than we ever could be.

Tom: [13:27] That’s a good tip, Adrian. We should put that on the list. Get a good PI.

Adrian: [13:32] We’ve got five pages of disclaimers.

[13:35] [laughter]

Adrian: [13:38] Don’t worry about going on the record with us.

Tom: [13:40] It’s all safe.

Adrian: [13:41] You’re safe. What happens after the discovery process? What’s the next part that happens?

Louis: [13:48] Thank you for kind of keeping us on the roadmap. Once you have the information, presumably two good lawyers and two common-sensical people should be able to sit down together and work it out. The typical process for that is called mediation, which involves perhaps you and your lawyer, her or him and his lawyer, and a mediator, a professional who is really a go-between.

[14:19] A good mediator isn’t just a person that carries offers back and forth but thinks creatively. Sometimes what seems like a zero sum game can actually be worked out in a way that benefits both parties. It’s a creative and intelligent person that hopefully can help you work through it.

Tom: [14:37] How often do people choose mediation versus going to a judge?

Louis: [14:42] That’s kind of a trick question because most judges, at least in Georgia, will require mediation before listening to your hearing.

Adrian: [14:52] It’s like, “You kids try to work it out. If that falls apart, come to me and I’ll make the final ruling”?

Louis: [14:59] Right. The judges frankly don’t want to hear it if they can possibly avoid it. A domestic case is hard stuff to listen to day in, day out.

[15:08] It’s essentially 50 percent of what a superior court judge does in Georgia. It’s a huge volume of cases.

Tom: [15:16] Largely petty, I would think.

Louis: [15:17] I believe that a lot of judges feel that they could sum up most cases in a few sentences. Instead, they take days to hear.

[15:26] The judges certainly want us to be as efficient as possible and really encourage settlement. Another thing is that this is not two corporations facing off against each other where really who cares whose feelings are hurt.

[15:40] This is often two parents of children that if they go to court and they swear against each other and they call each other lies, they question each other’s morality, they push on each other’s conduct during the marriage, it’s going to make it very tough for the kids in the future.

[15:59] You’re really kind of hurting the kids if you try it. Sometimes it’s something you’ve got to do.

Tom: [16:03] When do you have to do it, do you think? What cases have come up where it’s like, “Yeah, we’ll go through mediation, but this has got to go to court”?

Louis: [16:10] When your client says you’ve got to do it, you’ve got to do it. When do I advise that? Well, if I have an idea what’s going to happen in court and I know that’s only a guess because I never know…you cannot know.

[16:24] If you have a lawyer that tells you they know darn well what’s going to happen in court, I would question that. If I have a pretty good idea what’s going to happen, I’m going to tell my client take 10 percent off of that.

[16:37] If they’re still willing to do that, I think you take that because you don’t know what’s going to happen. Certainty is worth a lot. This is a pretty bloody process, which you’d rather avoid.

Tom: [16:51] Do you think most attorneys feel that way, or is there the motive to grind up the billable hours? Screw that. We’re going to court.

Louis: [17:00] I think that there are lawyers that are a little bit more prone to do that. You’re going to wind up in fights that you didn’t really need to have.

[17:10] I think the other thing is that you have to take a step back as a lawyer and not completely drink the Kool-Aid of what your client is saying. Your client doesn’t really have a good idea of what goes down in court. Your client is not looking at his case in a critical way.

Adrian: [17:32] Probably not the most rational mindset. I know that I was out of my mind when I was going through my divorce, and I wasn’t thinking clearly or rationally.

Tom: [17:43] I was completely rational.

[17:44] [laughter]

Tom: [17:47] It’s like it’s very odd that you would say you were irrational.

Adrian: [17:51] How do you help people see the rational side of things when they’re so distraught?

Louis: [18:00] I would say that in the immediate term, the easiest thing to do is to agree with them about everything. It’s just easy to agree with people. When someone is paying you to take up their cause and to fight for them, I think it’s very tough to receive advice from somebody you are paying a bunch of money to, who says, “Hey Tom.” “Hey Adrian, I know that you believe that you deserve that and you were very convincing when you said that, but I am not going to agree with you.”

[18:30] “I think that you are asking for more than you are going to actually wind up getting, and here’s why. The judge is not crazy in disagreeing with you.” The only reason that I do, because I am not a person that particularly likes that kind of pain, is because ultimately, when we go to court, it’s awful to go to court with a person that you have told, and I haven’t had this experience, but I’ve had the experience of going to court with people that I’ve earnestly told, “Look, I think you are going to get this” and sometimes it doesn’t happen.

[19:00] When I say, “I think the court is probably going to give you “X”” and that is not the way it works out, because we don’t know what the judge is going to do. We really can’t predict that with complete accuracy.

Adrian: [19:12] It’s just stunning how capricious it is. Because I am listening to you, and I am thinking about people that we’ve talked to, and I have talked to. I certainly heard that decisions are capricious, with people who had no interest in telling me otherwise.

[19:27] Think about in the State of Georgia, how they have that worksheet to figure out exactly what’s required for child support et cetera. It’s interesting that the rule of law hasn’t, particularly precedent, hasn’t established “This is how it’s going to be.”

Louis: [19:39] Life is complicated and even where you have a form where you can just put numbers into a calculator. What are those numbers? [laughs] Life comes…

[19:51] [crosstalk]

Louis: [19:52] …in a great deal of variety.

Tom: [19:53] Is that what the judge is doing? Is the judge figuring out the veracity of the number?

Louis: [19:58] The first thing I would say…I wouldn’t use the word capricious. Because I think that implies that there is almost just a willful, crazy, quality to it. If we had a judge here, they would say, “I promise you this, and I really…” It has been my experience, Tom, they care. They are really doing their best, and they are really trying to consider everything as fairly as they can.

[20:25] A lot of their decisions may not make sense to you, but they come sometimes from experience, when they’ve seen the people come back and they’ve paid the price as a judge for having done something that didn’t work out.

[20:38] It would be hard to really codify set of rules that absolutely governs every aspect of this, because every case is different. People are different.

Adrian: [20:47] Yeah. It’s interesting because in the divorce literature, the self help stuff, it’s kind of “Six Buckets of Divorce…” I am certain that even judges, to a point, every case being different but still kind of go, “Oh. Yeah. This guy is running around, it’s that kind of thing.” Or, “She is running around and it’s that kind of thing.”

[21:10] The various sorts of buckets that we all put people into. Right?

Louis: [21:15] You are right. I think that there is probably ways to characterize it. I think that a lot of time, as a person who is in it, you are thinking about moral questions. Why am I in it? Who really let the marriage die? Who did the wrong thing? Who did the right thing? What would the truly just outcome of this be, in some sort of ultimate sense?

[21:40] What the judge is often looking at, is really nothing more exciting than a spread sheet and, “How do we get these people who don’t get along apart, without anybody being completely in trouble?

[21:55] It really is just practical stuff, and they are rarely interested in being punitive or delving into that.

Tom: [22:02] You inferred something really interesting which is, the person engaged in the divorce process is looking back, and the judge is really kind of looking forward in a way that the people who are getting divorced, whether they brought it or whether they are defending it, they are really looking back for going, “He did this. She said that.” That’s kind of the difference.

Louis: [22:24] You’re right.

Tom: [22:25] …I think what’s interesting too, is the role of the legal representation sort of steering the person going through it and saying, “Hey listen. You are looking backward, because that’s what you do through this. I am here to tell you that, looking forward, that this is…”

[22:42] I see you did a really good distinction about the word capricious. Because it’s not random and fanciful, it’s forward looking versus backward looking. It’s not about justice as much it is about practicality.

[22:54] I think that, that’s a learning for me. It’s interesting that it is not really so much about justice as it is about…I wasn’t deluded by figures about justice more than I thought it was strictly about the children.

[23:06] That’s doing it a disservice too, because it’s more than just the children, like you said, “Make sure somebody is not ruined”

Louis: [23:11] That’s right. Even if it were only about children, the court has an interest in both parties participating and being there for the kids. That means, that certain minima have to be there.

[23:28] Even if they were looking at it through that matrix, they would have an interest in making sure everybody came out.

Adrian: [23:33] I have a question about judges and the judicial process. How much does a typical judge…

[23:39] [laughter]

Adrian: [23:40] …make these days?

Louis: [23:42] I have a…

[23:43] [laughter]

Adrian: [23:43] …and I want to…

Louis: [23:44] Yeah.

[23:45] [laughter]

Louis: [23:45] OK. I have a price…I do think that it’s a fairly wide spread thing, that people believe that there are ways to corrupt the judge. That connections matter greatly and this sort of thing.

Adrian: [24:06] Everybody has heard “That’s The Night That The Lights Went Out In Georgia.” So…

[24:09] [in unison] everyone knows.

Louis: [24:10] Right.

[24:11] [laughter]

Louis: [24:12] Exactly. [laughs] I have certainly had many people come to my office and say, “We lost the case, and I do believe that it was due to the judge being paid off.” I have never heard, by the way, someone come to my office and say, “We won the case, and it’s because I did pay…”

[24:34] [laughter]

Louis: [24:34] “…the judge off.” [laughs] Everybody that won, won because of merit. A lot of people that lost, may say that it’s for some other reason.

[24:45] My personal belief is that actual corruption of that nature is very, very rare. I personally have not seen any situation where I am convinced that a judge acted corruptly. You do have situations where, for example, a lawyer gave money to the judge’s campaign. It is a very, very common practice.

[25:06] I think if you go to a court in a rural area, and the judge had to announce before every case, if the lawyer had supported them on their campaign. I think probably the judge would be unable to practice, because it is fairly typical for any substantial lawyer in a rural area to have supported the judges that are there.

Adrian: [25:28] I don’t know, that sounds like a lobbyist to me. If you dump in a couple hundred thousand into a rural judges campaign, that is going to carry some weight. [laughs] I mean it’s hard to deny that.

Louis: [25:40] I don’t think what that buys you is something corrupt. I think what that, having a connection with the judge, sort of gets you is, the judge knows that you are participating in the community. That’s a positive. No judge is going to sort of say, “Well. I just owe this person a legal victory.”

Tom: [25:56] I didn’t even know that like you could as an attorney, support a judge’s candidacy. That would be like a cost of doing business right?

Louis: [26:02] That is the way the political system generally works. Which is that, your congressman can certainly receive money from you for their campaign. It goes all the way up. I don’t want to debate the fine points on whether that should be the case or not, but I would I would acknowledge that it is an issue.

Adrian: [26:19] When it comes to selecting an attorney and hiring an attorney. Are there some things that you should look out for? Or watch for? Can you give us some guidance there?

Louis: [26:29] I have some ideas. First of all, certainly if the guys name is Louis Tesser…

[26:34] [laughter]

Louis: [26:34] …then I think you are in great…That is, if they pass that check, they are great and you really need to think no further. If you are not using that test, and 99 per cent of the time, I guess you can’t really be using…

[26:47] [crosstalk]

Tom: [26:48] That’s what’s known as the Tesser test.

[26:49] [laughter]

Louis: [26:49] The Tesser test. [laughs] I think you want to have somebody…you want to have somebody that you do think could be effective in court. In other words, not somebody that really kind of just only deals with nice cases.

[27:06] If you are going to be looking at something that might be fought out in court, you have to have somebody that goes to court. Not everybody does.

Adrian: [27:13] Are you asking them for a percentage of time that they spend in court? Or how often do they go to trial?

Louis: [27:21] I think you just have to…I don’t know how you determine it, but if you get the feeling that they could do it, that’s one thing. If you get the feeling that they are just kind of a nice person…You may have a fight on your hands.

[27:35] If it’s a case that there is likely to be a contested case about it, I think you need somebody that can go to court.

[27:42] I think you also need somebody that doesn’t just need to go to court, unless you feel absolutely that you need to go to court. Because I think that there are also lawyers out there that maybe feel it’s their duty, just to get in a fight and to fight it out.

[28:00] If you are not on that page, now I would suggest that most people are not or don’t need to be on that page. Then don’t pick the guy that is just going to play it in such a bellicose manner that you get out of your divorce and your spouse hates you. They don’t need to.

[28:21] I think that, that’s a thing, you have to have a realistic financial picture, it is expensive to litigate. If you’ve got somebody that has got some gray hair, and they certainly have some high fees and the top guy in their firm, and you are a 20 year old and you are not really dividing a lot of money, that might not be necessarily the way to go.

Tom: [28:46] Yeah. It’s interesting the idea of “Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.” It’s also kind of true and you don’t really hear this, “Don’t bring a gun to a knife fight…”

[28:56] [laughter]

Tom: [28:58] You don’t want to escalate things by overpowering the opposition. There is sort of an “Art of War” thing to it. Everybody always hears about “Amass your army around the perimeter so your enemy doesn’t fight.”

[29:14] There is also that, if you miss the mark, you get across from somebody that has got something to prove, or your guy is really heavy and now they need to send two people in, because they are not really sure that the junior partner can cover it, or…

[29:26] I think that balance is tricky, and getting a sense of that is important.

Louis: [29:30] A realistic person, realizes that in a situation like divorce, where you have a pie and you are very best case scenario is just a piece of that pie.

[29:37] You are not getting the whole thing, you’ll never be entitled to all the money, and all the access to the children and all that stuff that you were entitled to as a married person. No matter what, that is going down.

[29:54] You are probably not going to be completely delighted with the way it comes out, through negotiations or through trial. Probably you are not. There are a million expressions that address this. One that I think of is, “Hogs get fat, pigs get slaughtered.”

[30:08] If you can negotiate something that you can live with, you are probably doing pretty well.

Tom: [30:14] That’s a really great point. “Bulls and bears make money, but hogs get slaughtered” I think. The idea that, you will never have that same access that you had when you were married, that is important too.

[30:26] What does a win look like? In business as a consultant, I ask my clients that all the time. What does a win look like? Framing that up for me like in thinking, “What does this look like successfully, when I get back to the other side?”

[30:40] It’s important to think about that, because had I not, it’s still, I think you pointed out early on, you’re never going to be happy with the outcome. But the thing is just to not be undone or destroyed by it. It’s kind of the win, right?

Louis: [30:55] Right. I think a win is something that you can live with, and it’s something that the road there was not unnecessarily long and expensive. Look, sometimes a win is you were forced to fight. You went to mediation and they said, “We’re just not really willing to compromise with you. We’re not anywhere close to your position. We just completely disagree with you. We need to have everything. You’re not going to get anything.” You had to go to court and you won. That’s a victory, too. The former is much more common.

[31:33] Look, I hope for everybody that listens to this, when you negotiate your case, if you have a case, that the other party is listening and is being reasonable, too. I hope you’re reasonable.

Tom: [31:46] Right. It gets tricky, particularly as the negotiations starts to come down. The other party overreaches or you overreach or whatever. Even as a negotiation tactic. You brought this up earlier when you were saying it’s not two corporations. Standard negotiating tactics take on these emotional pieces, and what was really weird for me, emotional impact of tactical negotiation. I had never had an experience like that.

Adrian: [32:16] Yeah. It takes it into a whole other realm where your emails become chess pieces in this game, and if you’re not used to dealing with that or having these strong emotions — I mean, who is? — that can be a really tough experience and tough to handle and tough to keep it together.

Louis: [32:36] I just think despite what sometimes I’ve heard my clients sort of say, I think that just about everybody goes into their marriage earnestly, meaning they think this is the person for them. They think that they’re making a decision in good faith. They go in front of their community and they promise these things and make these undertakings and they mean it. It’s not just a dream. It seems like it can work. For that to die, for just about everybody, is very tough. I have yet to experience somebody that takes that lightly.

Adrian: [33:16] Yeah, because I think as the divorce parties is about going backwards. You’re always thinking about what happened. Even if you want out, I don’t know. Is that true? If you’re in love with someone else and you just want to be with them, are you still thinking about what happened?

Louis: [33:31] Well, even those people. But those people, we don’t need to go into this subject, but guys, the rebound person, watch out for the rebound person. That is not necessarily going to work out that great. Yeah. I’m a lawyer and not a psychologist, but I have certainly seen the rebound person being kind of issue-fraught.

[34:02] Often, by the way, the rebound person has this sort of incentive to create more drama than there needs to be. But that’s a whole different matter also.

Tom: [34:13] Even people that have moved on with another person, is that gender based or is that true for both genders?

Louis: [34:19] I think it’s true for both genders, absolutely. Let’s say a couple’s divorcing but each of them hooks up with somebody. Well, the guy’s new woman is just very happy to criticize his ex. Of course. She wants to show that she’s better than him, that she’s taking his side. The woman’s new guy certainly wants to be more macho and more moral and out-compete the guy in every possible way. It’s just natural. It’s nice to go to your new person that you haven’t been with for years and hear their reassurances about how great you are, but are they adding to the drama or subtracting to it? I would suggest that often they’re adding to it.

Tom: [35:06] Oh, the drama!

Louis: [35:07] Maybe that can be something that’s a separate part of life they don’t really have to participate in.

Tom: [35:15] Maybe that’s your trick to knowing if that rebound person is really the person that you’re looking for. Are they diminishing the drama that you’re experiencing or are they aping it up?

Adrian: [35:31] Yeah. We can dedicate seven more podcasts to rebounds for sure. That’s a good litmus test. It goes with the crazy test.

Tom: [35:41] Well, we’ve really gone over our time today, Adrian, and I don’t even think we got nearly through all the questions we wanted to, but it certainly was super instructive and I want to thank Louis Tesser for joining us. Louis, how do people, should you be able to help them in their state, how would they find you?

Louis: [35:59] The Internet is good. If you just Google my name, which is Louis L-O-U-I-S Tesser T-E-S-S-E-R, that’ll probably find me. But if you want to email me, I’m at You could also, if you’re a Georgia resident especially, use our website which is I happen to be a partner in a very good firm and our website I think has a lot of good insight for Georgia people and maybe pretty useful for people nationally as well.

Tom: [36:37] I think that’s true. I got a lot of benefit from their website. I thought it was really well laid-out. There is a lot of good, basic information about what to expect and some good reading there.

Adrian: [36:46] I really got a lot of insight out of finding out about the judge’s perspective and how they were looking at things moving forward versus moving backwards and their whole perspective, and that has been really helpful.

Tom: [37:01] Adrian, what are we looking at for the next podcast?

Adrian: [37:05] Next time we’re going to be talking about hope, faith, and optimism and setting reasonable and practical expectations of going through your divorce and what to expect. We’ll also talk about the probabilities on how you can move on and develop yourself, ultimately have a better life.

Tom: [37:24] Is that possible you think? Is there some hope and optimism out there? Is there something to look forward to after all of this?

[37:32] Join us next time. This has been the Over Divorce podcast with Tom.

Adrian: [37:35] And I’m Adrian. Thanks for listening.

Announcer: [37:37] Thanks for listening to the podcast with Adrian and Tom. The opinions expressed are theirs alone. They’re not professionals. Join us next time anyway. It’ll be good for you. Visit to get your free Divorce Recovery Guide and get some fantastic resources on making a better life. Contact us via email at Follow us on Twitter and like us on our Facebook page. We want to help you if we can.