David Brunson | Collaborative Divorce and the Financial Neutral

Today, we’re excited to welcome David Brunson, CFA®, CFP®, CDFA®, President of Lifeway Financial Corporation, to the Texas Family Law Insiders podcast. David has over three decades of experience in both the financial planning and investment management fields and holds several financial services designations. He’s also a frequent speaker on the collaborative divorce process.   

David says, “Just about every dispute has to do with money to some extent.” He joins us today to talk about his role as a financial neutral in the collaborative divorce process. Listen as he shares:

  • The value of bringing in a financial planner or financial neutral in a divorce or collaborative case
  • How long typical collaborative cases take and how to work with the natural frequency in collaborative divorce
  • The most critical point in the collaborative process, and how neutrals can help keep your clients from dropping out 
  • And much more

Mentioned in this episode:


David Brunson: At the end of the day, we can provide these structures and opportunities. Litigation obviously provides this particular structure. Collaborative does as well, but it’s ultimately up to the clients to take advantage of the opportunities that they’re given.

Voiceover: You’re listening to the Texas Family Law Insiders podcast, your source for the latest news and trends in family law in the state of Texas. Now, here’s your host attorney Holly Draper.

Holly Draper: Today we’re excited to welcome David Brunson to the Texas Family Law Insiders podcast. David is the president of Lifeway Financial Corporation, a fee only financial planning and investment management firm located in Plano, Texas. He holds the Certified Financial Planner, Certified Financial Analyst and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst designations and is a member of the Financial Planning Association, the CFA Institute, the Institute for Certified Divorce Financial Analysts, Collaborative Divorce Texas and the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals.

David has a Bachelors of Science in mechanical engineering from Texas Tech University. Guns up. And an MBA with a concentration in finance from UT Arlington. He also holds a graduate studies certificate in alternative dispute resolution from SMU. David has published numerous articles and is a frequent speaker and trainer in the area of neutrality and interdisciplinary teams within the collaborative divorce process. Thank you so much for joining us today.

David: Glad to be here, Holly.

Holly: So why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?

David: Well, native Texan, grew up in Dallas. When I got out of college, I was an engineer for a while and decided to change careers, went back and got my master’s degree at UTA. Got into fee only financial planning and investment management back in the mid 80s. And that was kind of unheard of back then. And time has gone on and time has moved quickly. And now I do a lot of work in the divorce area.

Holly: So why don’t you tell us kind of start off with your current practice for us. I don’t know if practice is the right term in the financial world.

David: Yeah, so so we can have our core business, which is our financial planning and investment management firm. It’s a family firm. And we’ve been in business now for 21 years. I started that after I got my master’s degree in 86. I went to work for Dave Diesslin in Fort Worth, who’s doing fee only financial planning. Great guy and kind of a pioneer in the area. Then I had moved around a little bit in that career and worked for Trust Company for a while. And then when I came back to Texas to raise my kids, I kind of am a lifelong learner. So I went, at SMU they were having this program, this graduate certificate and dispute resolution. And I thought, well, I work with clients. So to understand a little more about conflict a little bit more about dispute would be a good thing to do.

So I went and joined that program and got my graduate certificate. And while I was there, they didn’t really have a financial course. And as we know, Holly that just about every dispute has to do with money to some extent. And so I told the program director, I said, you know, you really ought to have a finance class. And so he said, well, hey, I teach his family law class. It’s kind of a mediation class, I guess you’d really call it because it qualified for people to become mediators and meet their hours. So why don’t you come in and give a talk about the financial side. So I came in and on a couple of classes he had I did a talk about, you know, finance and disputes and things like that. And he liked it. So he said, well, hey, would you consider being an adjunct professor at SMU? I said, sure.

So I did that for 10 years. I worked as a adjunct at SMU, in their dispute resolution program for about 10 years and taught a class or two a year, which was plenty and really enjoyed it. It’s a lot of work and a lot of great people. But then in about 2000 is when collaborative law became codified in Texas and came to Texas. And then in about ’03, ’04, they started working in collaborative teams. Bringing in financial neutrals, mental health, neutrals in the collaborative cases to help because in the beginning, it was kind of a two attorney two client model. And in a collaborative setting. That didn’t work particularly well in many cases, because you still had the two attorneys and the two clients and I think it was difficult to keep it collaborative.

And so there were some new models coming out at that time, where they were adding financial neutrals and mental health neutrals and went to our training class and I believe was January 2004. And a lot of great people and attorneys here in the Dallas area that were interested in collaborative and interested in making it interdisciplinary teams. And I had my first case as a finance, being a financial neutral in a collaborative case in 2004. So it’s been 17 years I’ve been doing that. So that’s kind of my side practice so to speak versus my core practice, but they obviously meld together.

Holly: Do you work with people involved in traditional divorce litigation in addition to collaborative?

David: I do. But I don’t do litigation support in the sense of I don’t do valuations, I don’t testify, things like that. When I typically am called on from litigation attorneys are, hey, I’ve got this client, she really or he really needs to be educated about finance. Really need to be educated about their estate. Can you come in and be an advocate and kind of help them. And obviously, since I’m a financial planner, and know a lot about investments as well, in my core practice. It’s kind of a natural fit, because you’re really just advising people on this kind of new world that they’re going to be in post divorce.

And so a lot of times, I’ll come in and help the attorneys educate their clients, or even look at an option they may be considering in a case and kind of getting my neutral opinion on it. Because maybe the client stopped listening to their attorney, hard to believe. So sometimes I can come in there. And so I really act as a support to the attorneys in their litigation process. But I don’t do traditional as you would think of a financial person coming in and valuing companies or testifying in court. I don’t do that. I did that years and years ago and did not enjoy that. So I decided I don’t want to do that. I really want to stick to being a neutral and collaborative and then supporting attorneys on the on the advocacy side when, if and when they need it.

Holly: So I mentioned kind of during your intro that you hold several designations. Certified Financial Planner, Certified Financial Analyst and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. Can you talk about what each of those are, how you get to become one and why an attorney or a potential client that needs financial planning services would want to see any of those designations.

David: So the this the CFP, certified financial planner, obviously, is a designation that is for folks that are actually engaged in doing a financial planning process for clients on an active basis. So obviously, it’s an organization that creates that designation. When I got mine, which was in the late 80s, many years ago, I would say the program was just in kind of in its infancy, in terms of building itself as a credible program. And today, it’s a very robust and strong program. And not an easy thing to get in terms of getting a CFP getting your designation. But it’s really for people who are doing active financial planning, where you’re trying to set goals for clients. Understand what their goals and interests are. Gathering data, looking at options, helping them strategize, you know, financial planning issues around their assets, taxes, cash flow, insurance, estate issues, things like that. Which obviously, you deal with in a divorce as well. Right? So, the CFP is a great designation for that.

The CFA, Chartered Financial Analyst, a lot of people are less familiar with because back in the day, it was kind of for security analysts for investment folks only. So you don’t see many financial planning firms who have CFAs on staff. It’s a, it’s I, I kind of describe it as the CF, the CPA designation for the investment world. It’s a very rigorous program. I’m very proud of that designation. But what that designation really does is you you learn about security analysis, you learn about valuation, you learn about portfolio management, you learn about obviously, accounting, international accounting, everything to do with investments, wealth management, things like that. And that program obviously has evolved over time as well in terms of kind of the world is much more portfolio management oriented rather than individual stock selection oriented. Which say back in the 60s and 70s, the CFA was kind of focused on slaves evolved very well in terms of what they do.

The CDFA, which is a certified divorce financial analyst really is a is a program that you go through that kind of introduces you to the divorce world, and how, what are the areas and the the techniques and the ways that you look at financial issues and divorce specifically. So it’s kind of more of a micro kind of, of a designation. So, but all of them are helpful. Obviously, when you’re dealing with a divorce, and clients are looking at dividing their estate and how we’re going to support our kids and things like that. They’re effectively creating a new life, a new lifestyle and what they want to create and financial planning, investment management. All of those designations really just support it so well.

Holly: So what made you decide to add a focus to family law?

David: Well, great question. As I mentioned, I attended this kind of what is collaborative divorce, what is interdisciplinary teams back in 2004 and just kind of didn’t know a lot about, you know, kind of this new collaborative thing coming on. But it really struck a chord with me because I had done some litigation support. And obviously litigation certainly is appropriate in cases. But I also felt that a lot of clients that were divorcing could probably fit very well into a more collaborative type of approach. And so when it became codified in Texas, I thought, wow, this is this is kind of a problem solving approach, right. A problem solving approach to to divorce. And kind of my engineering background, that’s pretty much was my skill set.

I mean, that’s what you kind of learn in engineering school is you’re, you’re basically a problem solver. You’re solving problems all the time. So it kind of fit in with kind of my, I think natural desire to want to be a problem solver and help people solve their own problems. We’re not really coming in solving their problems, we’re helping to give them a framework so they can hopefully solve their own. So I really like the theory being collaborative. And I think it was exciting to be able to maybe help clients do divorce in a less worse way, so to speak.

Holly: So can you describe what your role is in a collaborative process?

David: Absolutely. So normally, when I’m brought in, I’m brought in as a financial neutral on to these cases. My role starts, first of all, with in a typical litigation, case, Holly, as you know, typically, the attorneys are doing a lot of the data collection, statements, bank accounts, everything about the estate. I pretty much perform that role as a neutral, from a neutral position. So I’m just trying to provide transparency to make sure that everybody understands here are the assets they have. Here are the liabilities that you have, and really be that neutral person to come in and collect the financial information, so that everybody can feel comfortable, that the all the information has been gathered, and that we’re all reading from the same song book, so to speak. And so people aren’t hiding things, people aren’t being, you know, in collaborative, we agree to be transparent.

Sometimes it’s a hard thing to do. And so part of my role is to collect the information, get everybody comfortable that, hey, we got everything that we need. The second thing I think that’s important in my role is I do a lot of education. I try to educate clients in terms of okay, what do we have. Because like, even in my, my home, right. I’ve been married almost 40 years now. And my wife, she, she was a CPA. And so she kind of writes all our bills and pays all the checks and do that, and I obviously do all the investment stuff. So I kind of have my role, she has her role. I get an allowance have to report back in where I spent it. But I couldn’t tell you exactly where we spend all our money.

So I need to be I would need to be educated. If my wife and I were going to go through this. And so part of my role is to help educate and get everybody on the same level playing field in terms of knowledge about their financial estate, before they go into, hey, what are our goals and objectives? And what are we trying to achieve here? And what are our options to try to settle? Because if if somebody is confused about what they have, or what they own, the answer to any option is always going to be no. Because my experience is a confused mind always says no. And so part of my role in that is to help with the confusion and help people understand, you know, with their attorneys help them understand what what they’re dealing with. I think in addition, one of the roles I have is to as we get into looking at options for settlement is to help the clients and their attorneys look at different options.

I’ve done this a very long time worked on hundreds of cases. So I have a lot of experience in terms of kind of seeing different options that happen. Of course clients are going to decide what’s the best option for them. But I think I think I provide a role and in allowing clients and obviously attorneys that are very experienced as in themselves. We all come from a different angle, we can look at different options and brainstorm different options that maybe the client hasn’t thought of, and then help them get the resolution of their case. And then support the attorneys in any way I can on the financial side.

Holly: When the parties are meeting with you as the financial neutral, are the attorneys usually involved, or do you usually meet with them separately?

David: Great question. Typically in the beginning, the way I think every financial neutral probably has a different style. The way I like to do it is I do spend time with the client, one on one in the beginning. And most of that is just getting to know them, getting to know about their background, their history. A little bit about kind of how they’ve handled money in their marriage, how they’ve handled things. Kind of what their personality is like, where I can help them where their fears might be on the money side, and to help gather data and understand what their interests are and goals are on more of a micro level around the investments and in the financial in the estate. When we kind of, so as far as education is concerned, I do quite a bit of one on one with clients. Sometimes I do some budgeting work with clients.

So if a client says, well, hey, I want to stay in the house, I’m going to stay with the kids, but have you, they may have never been involved in writing checks or understanding where they spend their money. So they need to kind of have a view of here’s what my budgets gonna look like. And can I really do this? Right? It’s kind of that financial planning part of what we do, even though we’re not giving advice, we’re just kind of, you know, showing them, here’s what the numbers look like in terms of your budget, or whatever. So sometimes I’ll meet with the clients on that.

When we get into looking at options and talking about options, I always want the attorneys involved, because then at that point, clients are thinking about decisions, what do I want to do. And obviously, there’s lots of legal implications around all of this, because obviously, this is a legal process. And I’m here to support that process, any way that I can. So I definitely want to keep the attorneys very close. So I kind of serve the pleasure of the attorneys and their clients. And I make sure that when we’re looking at options, and obviously making agreements with the clients, that the attornies are very much involved in that.

Holly: So you mentioned a couple times meeting one on one. Do you mean that you were meeting with an individual or are you meeting with the couple without attorneys?

David: I usually never meet with a couples without attorneys. We kind of tried that initially, as we began kind of introducing neutrals. We tried all different ways to do it. I found that very quickly. If I would meet with a client individually, clients individually together, I quickly became both the attorney and the mental health professional as well as the financial professional. So I decided, look, I got to really stay in my lane, which is not that. So they’re always asking legal questions or questions about different kinds of things that I’m really not equipped to, to handle or answer. So very early on in my career, I decided I do not meet with clients individually offline as a couple.

So I don’t do kind of offline mediation or offline work with clients. I always want the attorneys to be there if the clients are together. That’s just the way I like to do it. I think it’s the most effective and I think it’s the quickest way to get from from start to finish of how to have the people involved. I don’t want to go off by myself and and try to create solutions without without input from both the mental health side and also if a mental health person is involved, which I always liked that, because again, I end up being the mental health person, which I’m not if they don’t have the mental health person, but I always want the attorneys involved at that level.

Holly: Do you find if you’re meeting one on one, with people, with individuals, that they start to question anything about neutrality. Oh, he’s on her side, or he’s on his side? Because they don’t know what’s happening in that other meeting.

David: Yeah, I think that I think that’s one of the reasons I try to meet with the clients individually in the beginning is to try to head off some of those concerns. Because one of the things I talk to clients about is, there may be a difference in the amount of time I need to spend with each client. So for example, if I have a spouse who knows nothing about finance doesn’t, you know, doesn’t know how to write a check or doesn’t know how to do whatever, I may have spend quite a bit of time. People process information very differently, depending on what the issue is. So just like in my marriage, there are issues that I can make decisions like that. My wife, it takes her, you know, months, and vice versa.

So I explained to the clients that up front, look, I may be spending more time with you, I may be spending more time with your spouse. And I tried to anticipate from what they tell me their concerns are about that. I think early in my career, when we did begin to do this, I did get the mental health people and the financial people would tend to get some feedback that oh, you’re not being neutral. Sometimes that was because the client didn’t like what the neutrals or the or that were saying, I think we’ve become a lot more skilled at how we prepare clients for the process. And now we talked to them about what neutrality is.

That it’s not about, not that it’s easy, or that it’s safe, but it’s just that we’re going to describe what we see from our neutral position. They certainly can disagree, because ultimately, the power to make an agreement is totally in the client’s hands, not our hands. And I would say I’ve it’s been many, many years since I’ve had a client even bring that up in regards to me, or are even heard on another case or our mental health neutral. I think as a group, we’ve just gotten much better at that.

Holly: So whenever I have somebody coming on the show that I always ask for them to give me some talking points. And one of the talking points that you provided was on the power of neutrality. Tell us about that.

David: Great question. You know, great example is, you know, for example, my marriage. I, I’ll be married 40 years, as I said in January. That’s a long time. It doesn’t seem that long, but it’s a long time. And I kind of say that we’re kind of in this 98% discount marriage. Where if I say something thing it’s like, you know, Dave, you don’t know what you’re talking about and what he says to me, I don’t know what you’re talking about. But if a third party comes in and says the exact same thing we have said, it’s like, oh, well, that that’s that’s the answer, right? Because this neutral third party has come in, and and has kind of told us or helped us decide that, you know, just a different viewpoint in terms of what that is.

So having a neutral that comes in, that doesn’t really have an interest in the process that really has a goal to help the clients meet their goals. That the clients understand that, hey, look, you’re just bringing this framework in, right? This, we like to call it the roadmap to resolution in collaborative. We have this roadmap we follow. We’re going to gather data, we’re gonna look at your goals and interests, we’re going to look at the options that you have to settle. We’re going to help you achieve an agreement. But all of this structure is the opportunity for you to come up with your own solution to solve your own problem. We’re just the guides, very experienced guides, hopefully. And hopefully, we can help you do that.

So I think the the neutrality part is we’re able to come in and help the clients see it from a position, not as their attorney because they don’t want their attorneys to be neutral. They want their attorneys to be advocates. I think also some attorneys like having neutrals, because maybe we can tell their clients things that they can’t tell their clients or don’t want to tell their clients. So I think the neutrals can kind of act as a messenger and in a good way, right? Not that it’s easy, because it’s not. The process is difficult. And the clients are coming to us, obviously not at their best. So I think it’s a way for you to bring in somebody that kind of fills a role that attorney can’t just cannot play.

Holly: How many sessions does it usually take in a collaborative case for you to help parties reach an ultimate financial agreement?

David: That is, as you might imagine, Holly, that’s a question we get a lot from the clients, right, because when we’re meeting as a team, those those cases can get expensive with clients. And they, they obviously can add. I think the main thing we tell the clients is, that all depends on them and how quickly they can come to an agreement. Typically, what we’re going to do is we’re typically going to sign the clients up in a collaborative process. Typically, I’m then going to collect the financial information, the mental health person typically is going to start working on a parenting plan, they’ll be meeting with the clients usually offline as well, working with the attorneys on the parenting plan. And then we’ll come together as a group we’ll start reviewing the estate as a group.

Will have a series of option development meetings. And then typically a meeting to conclude in terms of make sure we have all the agreements. And then the attorneys then will go in and create the legal documents that effectuate the agreements that the clients have made. I tell clients that at a minimum, that usually takes, my experience has been, the shortest cases, I usually see take four to six months. Most of them, I would say six to 12 months in terms of the typical collaborative case that moves along. But I also find kind of going back to my engineering days, there was always this. There’s this issue in physics and dynamics known as natural frequency.

And I think every case kind of has a natural frequency. So as you get into a case, it kind of has its natural rhythm and in terms of how it goes and you try to find what is that rhythm? How quickly do people make decisions? How quickly are people comfortable? Because a lot of people come in, and the mental health people always ask clients typically. Okay, client A, client B, where are you on the divorce readiness scale? Right? So sometimes you may have a client who’s a ten, you know, if I could get married, divorced tomorrow, I would. And you might have somebody who’s a zero who says, look, I don’t even know, I can’t even grasp this is even happening. And so what happens is, it’s very difficult to conclude cases quickly, if somebody is a zero on the divorce readiness scale and the other client is a ten.

So typically, what we have to do is educate, get people emotionally better, and get people closer together on the divorce readiness scale before they actually create an agreement. And then people are different in terms of how they process information, different in of terms of their knowledge. Different in terms of how they interact with each other. You know, if both people are a ten on the divorce readiness scale, and they come into the process with great mental health skills and things like that we can usually get it going and wrapped up, doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy to get wrapped up in a reasonable amount of time.

Holly: So if your typical case is going to take six to 12 months, are you involved at the beginning in trying to help people reach temporary financial agreements that are going to get them through those six to 12 months? Are you focused solely on the end game?

David: Typically, I’m involved in both the temporary user when the cases have started, you know, clients are at different parts. Are they still living together, are they moved out, what have they done. And so we try to understand what is their temporary parenting and financial arrangement been. Where are the stresses? Typically somebody moved out, now they’re usually spending more money than they were spending if they were living together. So typically there, there are what we would call interim issues, where we basically try to stabilize the financial piece and address any financial concerns, or parenting concerns, obviously, while the case is starting.

And then see if we can get some, some temporary agreements in place. A lot of times if some of the clients already have these, you know, kind of work through those temporary agreements. Sometimes they haven’t even thought about them. And sometimes they’re needing to move out, for example, away from each other. But maybe they don’t have the financial means to do so. And we have to kind of creatively problem solve for in the interim solutions. Before we can even start thinking about a what is the final solution in terms of these, this process?

Holly: So a lot of our listeners, most of them are attorneys, and a lot of them may not do collaborative law, but how can they take the working with a financial professional piece and use that in their traditional litigation?

David: Well, I, once again, I think I think we’re can come in handy is, you know, bring a financial person in to their case, obviously, not as a neutral, typically. It’s going to be an advocate for their client. But to come in and kind of be a part of their team and help educate their client, talk to their client about proposals, maybe just have a sounding board for the attorney to talk to right. Sometimes attorneys call me and say, hey, I got this case. And we want to hire you just to kind of bounce ideas off, talk to our client, those kinds of things. Those are typically very short engagements, but I enjoy doing them because once again, they’re they’re problem solving cases.

And that’s what great about collaborative for me is neutrals. Every case is different, every challenge is different, every problem is different. And I really like that rather than just the normal day to day things that obviously we do. And then some clients come in and say, look, I’m about to finish this case, I know you, I’ve worked with you before, my client needs a financial advisor. And of course, I have a company that actually does that. And I have a whole team here that does that. And they like to they need somebody that they can trust and work with after their case is over to help them go forward. And we’ll talk to the client, if it’s a fit great. If it’s not, we can refer them out to somebody else as well. We always want to make sure the client gets where they need to go.

Holly: At what stage of the divorce process, do you recommend an attorney try and connect their client with someone like you?

David: Well, earlier is better just because it’s better to do that before the cart is in the ditch, right. But sometimes that’s unavoidable, because the attorney might be say, look, I need some help. I need some support. So I do, I do step in many times when kind of the cart is in the ditch and we try to help the client get out. Earlier, the better is probably best just because we can then analyze where can we help? Where can we see problems down the road on their case? Where can we add value? Where can we not right?

I’ve had clients, attorneys call me and say, look, I’ve got this case, let’s talk about it. And I’ll kind of move them in another direction where I really don’t think I’m a fit for that. Maybe they need business specialists, maybe they need something totally different than what I provide. And I’m happy to do that. Because as we all know, if you get yourself in a situation where you’re not a good fit, it’s not going to work well. And that’s not good for anybody.

Holly: I think having those other referral sources is, it makes somebody extremely valuable. Because people know, hey, he’s gonna be able to help a lot of my clients. But if he if he can’t, he’s gonna know who can and that can really make you a go to resource for a lot of attorneys.

David: Exactly. And a lot of times when I’m acting as a neutral, when somebody needs a financial planner or something in the process or wants to deal with that, well, we can we can help with that too. Of course, the attornies obviously know, a lot of financial people, they can refer out, you know, business too, but we can help with that. But I think where we bring value is, you know, obviously we understand the divorce process pretty well. I’ve done collaborative cases since, it’s been 17 years now. So, but I still love it. So like I still, you know, it’s not easy work as you well know. It’s satisfying work for me, from a collaborative standpoint to see clients, you know, get divorced, I think in a better way.

If a collaborative process obviously fits them, which once again, not every case does fit collaborative. But if it does, it’s nice to be able to add value to those folks and what they’re doing. Now a lot of times they don’t see the value because they weren’t in the litigation process, which for many of these clients would be a whole lot worse. And so it’s a very satisfying thing to do if you can help.

Holly: You mentioned that not everyone is candidate for the collaborative process. What do you think makes someone a good candidate?

David: Great question. I think what makes a good candidate is that they, they really have a problem solving mindset, right? They really, they understand, hey, this is going to happen. We’re going to have to spend money, right, obviously, to get divorced, and what’s the best process and structure for us to do that. And so even though it’s going to be difficult, it’s not like collaborative is, you know, we don’t sit around singing Kumbaya, it’s still like, a very difficult process. Right? It’s still, it still can be very emotional.

People can get upset, people can say things, people are not at their best. That’s okay. I think a lot of times, people if, we even deal with very difficult situations. Sometimes difficult emotional situations with kids and families and things like that. I think privacy is a big deal many times for people to come in to collaborative. They want their process to be private, and confidential. And there’s some advantages there. I also think, you know, good candidates, once again, I would just go back to people who have and understand the value of working together to solve problems, because at the end of the day, we can provide these structures and opportunities.

Litigation obviously, provides this particular structure, collaborative does as well. But it’s ultimately up to the clients to take advantage of the opportunities that they’re given. Some do a better job of that than others. And sometimes we have to remind clients, what we’re trying to achieve in collaborative. What are the kind of the rules of collaborative. And there are a few, there is a small percentage that decide when they get into the collaborative, this isn’t working for me, I think I’m going to opt out and go the litigation route. And they certainly still have the option to do that. If it doesn’t work for them in this process.

Holly: How often do you see that happening?

David: It’s rare, it’s very rare. I typically see that it’s kind of when we’re on the one yard line trying to get over over the finish line, where you’ve done a majority of the work. But maybe somebody feels like, maybe there’s a parenting issue or something with the child issue that they that they want, or financial issue or some issue that they they feel like the person in the black robe, they just need their day in court. Most of the time, when people don’t finish in collaborative, they usually settle very quickly out of outside of collaborative. But there is that rare situation where they go out of collaborative and they keep fighting for two or three years in the courts. And those people, as we know, have a very difficult time even even in litigation.

Holly: So we’re almost out of time. But one question I like to ask all my guests on the podcast is, if you could give one piece of advice to family lawyers, what would it be?

David: I think the one piece of advice I would give to family lawyers is that we all need help. I know I do. We all need support. And there’s a lot of really good professionals out there that we all you know need to, to kind of commiserate with. I think the thing, one thing I do like about collaborative, is that when you put a team together that has worked together before. Two attorneys, mental health and the financial person have worked before on cases before. You know each other, you trust each other, you’re able to be honest with each other.

It brings a real power to the process for the client that the client will never really see or understand. So I think there’s one piece of advice is we all need help. We can’t do this alone in the value of being in a team. Even if it’s litigation, having strong people on your team, whether it’s financial or mental health or whatever, is very valuable. Just as in my core practice here we have a team that people who have specialties that we rely upon for them to do their best and the area that they’re good at.

Holly: So if our listeners want to learn more about you, where can they go do that?

David: And my firm is Lifeway Financial, so Lifewayfinancial.com. It’s really about my core practice, but I could be reached there. And my email is [email protected], so they can always email me. Or just Google me and I’ll, I’ll be in there somewhere and they can probably find me and reach out to me, and I’ll be happy to talk to them and help them any way I can.

Holly: Great. Well thank you so much for joining us today. I really enjoyed our discussion. And for our listeners. If you enjoyed listening to this podcast, go give us a review and subscribe for future episodes.

David: Thank you, Holly. Appreciate it.

Voiceover: That Texas Family Law Insiders podcast is sponsored by the Draper Law firm. We help people navigate divorce and child custody cases and handle family law appellate matters. For more information, visit our website at www.Draperfirm.com

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