Episode 187 THE Amicable Divorce Expert podcast: Honesty is the Responsibility of Everyone
Listen Here: https://judyweigle.podbean.com/e/how-to-identify-and-find-amicable-attorneys-wtracy-ann-moore-esq-of-the-amicable-divorce-network/
On this week’s episode of THE Amicable Divorce Expert podcast we interviewed Georgia Attorney Tracy Ann Moore-Grant, founder of the Amicable Divorce Network, an organization that provides vetted lists of attorneys, mediators, therapists, and other divorce professionals who are committed to honesty, integrity, and a collaborative mindset to treat people going through divorce in such a way that they are not over charged, not pushed into a litigious mindset (‘I’ll fight for you’), considerate of minor children and their exposure to a divorce, fostering a more balanced, conciliatory approach to divorce and custody. Moore-Grant’s philosophy is that if people could see a list of say, attorneys, who have been vetted to walk the walk of honesty, integrity, and collaboration, many more families could be spared the enormous cost of litigation, and the emotional cost of the fighting as it affects their entire family well into the future.
Tracy even went so far to say that when she was a litigator – her practice is focused on mediation and out-of-court filings and settlements – that she would call opposing counsel and ask for a pause in the filing process so that her client could regain their emotional footing in order to be able to negotiate with a clear mind and heart, to make decisions that were well thought out, and that would conceivably work in the future when the spouses would be exes and on their own to navigate co-parenting.
What is desperately needed in family law are lawyers who don’t want to fight, and lawyers who don’t want to highjack their client’s bank accounts and savings by taking advantage of people knowing they are emotional and due to high emotions may allow their attorneys to engage in unnecessary work, take way too much time, getting to the settlement. You see, lawyers know the language and process of law that mere mortals don’t. It is so easy for an unscrupulous attorney to take advantage of their position as a holder of information and process that the average person wouldn’t know. People have to put their faith and trust in divorce attorneys because people are emotional, not always thinking clearly, fearful, in pain, and lacking in understanding of what is necessary and unnecessary in a divorce filing. Unfortunately, a Forbes.com 2018 poll of the 15 most trusted professions for their ethics and honesty, number 1 being the best, attorneys came in at #12. This isn’t good. The professions who ranked lower were business executives, car sales people, and Congress, in that order. Horrible!
There is a movement afoot, that actually started around 2018 or a little earlier, in the legal community, and that is to allow Paraprofessionals, people with some legal background, like Paralegals, to give legal advice and go to court with people, at a much reduced rate. This has already taken place in several states. Allowing non-attorneys to give legal advice and speaking for people in court have always been the two aspects of law that were solely the purvue of attorneys. This came about because the public distrusts attorneys in how they charge and how they provide service. This is frightening and disconcerting to attorneys because their income is being chipped away – and well-deserved if they are the attorneys who violate their client’s trust.
This isn’t a blanket comment on all attorneys. There are wonderful attorneys who don’t take cases if their services aren’t truly needed, and introduce their clients to lower cost options like Legal Document Preparers and Mediators to handle the filing of their divorces. I have been blessed with a wonderful community of attorneys who operate with the utmost integrity and consideration of people’s money.
This all being said, the clients have a responsibility to be honest, ethical, considerate, with a willingness to be as respectful to their soon-to-be exes as possible, especially if they have children to co-parent. Divorce doesn’t have to be ugly. Divorce is as awful or as good as both spouses want to make it. But if attorneys refused to operate on this low frequency level, and instead said that they are committed to the health and welfare of their clients and still work within the law and their legal responsibilities, this might rub off on the people who have ill intent to their spouses going into the divorce.
Attorney Moore-Grant has taken the bull by the horns and started her own movement to vet attorneys who are committed to honesty, integrity; focused on the needs of their clients and perhaps in so doing feel that a non-lawyer option would work better for some people, while only providing the services to their clients that are absolutely necessary. And she’s going national!
Help is on the way because the public demanded it. The public needs it. And the public deserves it. I have a dream that all attorneys will work towards doing the right thing for the families of the people who contract their services, maybe different than the fight order that the attorneys may be given by their clients, and instead making it their mission to show their own clients another way of looking at their divorce so that the whole family has a chance of growing through the divorce experience. I have this dream.
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Tracy Ann Moore-Grant Biography
Tracy Ann Moore-Grant, Esq. is the founder of the Amicable Divorce Network, established to address a growing need to assist clients who desire to keep their divorce low conflict and to effectively connect them to professionals who are vetted for having a resolution mindset so parties can avoid unnecessary and expensive litigation. The professionals in the Amicable Divorce Network design both the timeline and team for the divorcing parties based on their needs and finances. Ms. Moore-Grant is passionate about helping families navigate the difficult process of divorce in a respectful and family-focused manner and now represents clients exclusively in amicable and uncontested cases. She is also a mediator, arbitrator, parent coordinator, divorce consultant and guardian ad litem.
Ms. Moore-Grant is a registered mediator with both the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution and 9th District ADR for both family law and domestic violence cases as a mediator and arbitrator. She is a step-mother, baker, and schnauzer lover. She is also a Board Member for Mentor Me of North Georgia, contributing writer to My Forsyth Magazine, Mock Trial Coach for Alliance Academy, and teaches Constitutional Law at Lanier Tech. She has achieved an AV Preeminent Judicial Rating from Martindale Hubble, was named a Woman of Forsyth by the Forsyth County News, and has been listed as a Top 10 Female Family Law Attorney in Georgia since 2016. Her firm, Patterson Moore Butler received a Best of Forsyth award in 2022. In 2020, Tracy Ann was personally awarded the Georgia Legal Award for Distinguished Leadership for founding the Amicable Divorce Network, recognizing its positive impact on Georgia family law and families. Ms. Moore-Grant has been a guest on many podcasts and has authored many articles on the topic of amicable divorce.