NOTE: This is a partial transcript of an interview by family law attorneys Joanne Kleiner and Kathy Bloom of Tracy Ann Moore-Grant from the Amicable Divorce Network.
Tracy Ann: Joanne Kleiner and Kathy Bloom are the amicable divorce ambassadors for the Amicable Divorce Network in the Philadelphia area and what that means is that they have stepped up into a leadership role to help us build the network in the Philadelphia area to really help people divorce better.
Joanne Kleiner and Kathy Bloom interviewed Tracy Ann Moore-Grant, Founder of the Amicable Divorce Network. They had several questions starting with Joanne Kleiner’s first question:
Joanne Kleiner: How did you first conceive the idea for Amicable Divorce Network?
Tracy Ann: So I actually have been a family law attorney in Georgia since 2002 and so for a really long time I’m also a mediator an arbitrator a guardian ad litem and a parent coordinator and like many family law professionals, I got really burned out and found the job to just be just really dragging me down and around 2018, I actually took a step back from my law firm and started teaching constitutional law at a local college and was really just trying to figure out how I could continue to be a family law attorney with you know all the all the negativity of the job and I really thought a lot about what was bothering me about family law, and it wasn’t the clients. I expected clients to be upset and to be in crisis and to be helpful to them during this time it was really the opposing councils and the other professionals in the cases that I found to be really causing a lot of conflict for financial gain and so I thought a lot about how I could solve that and so I thought the best way was to have a private organization where we vetted people for the things that are really important to the public and to preserve the Integrity of the family law process and that was to have experienced professionals who are also vetted for being resolution focused and engaging in fair billing practices where they’re not churning on clients for financial gain.”
Kathy Bloom: So when you could you just go over a little bit how it works you know we get so let’s say Joanne and I both have clients who want to do an amicable divorce why don’t you tell us how it works?
Tracy Ann: Okay. So, a client comes to you, and they really like amicable divorce and that’s how they want to get divorced. The two attorneys in the case design the process for the parties as well as the timeline so we’ve had clients all across the board they say oh we’re selling this house and we need to get divorced as soon as possible or they really need to take it very slowly for whatever reason so the two attorneys can talk about their different clients’ needs and can say we’re going to attend a mediation in 60 days or maybe we need more time maybe we need you know a few months to get our ducks in a row and so they would also see who’s needed for the team and it can be very creative. Perhaps you have a special needs child who needs a vocational assessment or special needs trust set up. Perhaps the parties have a small business, and you need a business valuator or perhaps you need a psychological professional to help the children or one of the parties. So, whatever the problem is, or the needs of the family are, hopefully we have a member of the network who can jump in and help this family through this time and be a part of the team so when parties um agree to divorce amicably they agree to maintain the status flow so you know abide by certain rules and then they um are on our technology platform where they can upload their assets and debts do marital balance sheets and things of that nature to get organized.
Kathy Bloom: So, it sounds like it’s a pretty flexible process according to the needs of the individual family yeah it is because every family is different you know the court system treats every family the same you know you have to respond by this date you have to do these things and that just doesn’t work for every family. With amicable divorce, you can design it for what that family needs and what they can afford.
So weren’t you concerned about your bottom line if you stopped doing any litigation going to court?
Tracy Anne: Of course. I think you know all attorneys think how will I pay the bills when you’re in a small business you know you think about that all the time but what I have found is by really promoting myself as doing low conflict, non-litigation divorce, this is my entire practice now I have not stepped inside a courtroom as an attorney since 2018. When COVID came around, it really didn’t impact me at all. My practice was completely shifted and I do mostly flat fee work which a lot of family law attorneys find mind-blowing but when you can really know what that process is and there’s no wild cards. You know you really can really change your practice and your approach because you’re working with really great professionals who all have the same mindset that you do.
Kathy Bloom: One of the questions that we’ve been asked is, say someone comes to us and we want to do an amicable divorce they want to do an amicable divorce how, do we get them to the other person do you do that?
Tracy Anne: I reach out to the other party directly I send them a very nice letter that is not like the normal letter you would get from a divorce attorney. This letter is like I’ve been hired for an amicable divorce your spouse desires a really child focused efficient low conflict process we think you value the same thing we send them an informational booklet about amicable divorce and also a list of professionals in the area they can also find professionals on our website at amicable divorcenetwork.com.
I try to make it as easy for them as possible and just say here’s the list. Sending that letter actually has a very high success rate across the network we’ve seen that to have about an 80 percent success rate that the other person agrees to an amicable divorce. Even if they get really upset initially that they’re getting a divorce, or they’re surprised by that generally, they come around and decide if I am going to get divorced this sounds like a great process to go through and they agree to it.
Kathy Bloom: So what do clients tell you about their experience with amicable divorce are they satisfied with it to all your cases settle how does that work?”
Tracy Ann: I think something that’s really interesting for you know people to point out is most people get divorced once, so I think some and a divorce is always terrible so it’s really hard for people to gauge this was a good divorce because they’ve never had a different divorce to compare it to so I think for a lot of people they don’t understand sort of how good they had it so that’s usually the professionals that are trying to explain to them you know if we’d gone through the court process, you would have spent sixty thousand dollars and all these different we’d still be in litigation and you know things like that.
It’s hard I think for people going through a divorce to really understand, but I’ve we’ve just gotten so many “thank yous”. You know people really appreciate that we have their best interests at heart their children’s best interest at heart you know that their process you know if they hear about something from their friends, people are sometimes really proud to say they had an amicable divorce and you know that that’s how they handle things, We do have a lot of fans which is weird to say, you know, but I think people will appreciate it, but I think it’s more the professionals who understand how different their experience is now.
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