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Episode 96 - 2nd Annual Halloween Special

Episode 96 - 2nd Annual Halloween Special Image

11/20/2018 9:46 am

Just because what we do is very serious business doesn't mean we can't have fun sometimes. For the second year in a row, we put on our annual Halloween Special, where we take classic monsters and place them in a divorce or family law setting. What would happen if a zombie wanted a divorce? Could the Creature from the Black Lagoon get some visitation time with his son at the swamp? Would Dracula benefit from a pre-nup? When could a Mommy Mummy pursue a modification of child support? Tune in to hear Leh and Todd make fun of each other while they try to answer these questions.


Leh Meriwether:             Welcome, everyone. I am Leh Meriwether, and with me is Todd Orston. Todd and I are partners at the law firm of Meriwether and Tharp. And you're listening to Meriwether and Tharp Radio on the new Talk 106.7. Here, you'll learn about divorce, family law, tips on how to save your marriage if it's in the middle of a crisis, and from time to time, even tips on how to take your marriage to the next level; and even, time to time-

Todd Orston:                   The intro to the next level.

Leh Meriwether:             ... the intro to the next level. I'm getting tongue-twied.

Todd Orston:                   But you do it so well.

Leh Meriwether:             I do. I've got to keep it entertaining.

Todd Orston:                   Well, speaking of entertaining, I know, usually, you're the one to talk about how excited you are about the show, all right. But I've got to tell you, I am so excited about today's show. And you know why?

Leh Meriwether:             Why?

Todd Orston:                   Because it's that time of year again. One of my favorite holidays is just around the corner.

Leh Meriwether:             Sweet.

Todd Orston:                   Yep.

Leh Meriwether:             You know, I do think it's a great holiday. I mean, talk about, it's a great holiday for the kids. They just-

Todd Orston:                   I agree.

Leh Meriwether:             They just love Halloween.

Todd Orston:                   No, no. No, no, no. I'm not talking about Halloween. I'm talking about National Checklist Day.

Leh Meriwether:             What? Is that a thing?

Todd Orston:                   Yeah. Come on, man. I mean, gather around the kitchen table, making checklists for anything you can think of, it is an amazing holiday. You don't celebrate Checklist Day, October 30th, every year?

Leh Meriwether:             I've never heard of National Checklist Day.

Todd Orston:                   Oh, my goodness. All right. We're going to have to do a show just ... All right. I'm only kidding. I love Halloween. All right.

Leh Meriwether:             Is there really a National Checklist-

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, [inaudible 00:01:50]. That's what I found online. So apparently, it is recognized as National Checklist Day. So for those of you listening, start your lists and celebrate the holiday. But, no, Halloween; Halloween, obviously-

Leh Meriwether:             Halloween.

Todd Orston:                   ... so much fun. We decorate the house. And kids, obviously, my kids are getting older, but still enjoy the holiday.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah. We moved, so now we're going to have to go to another neighborhood to trick-or-treat.

Todd Orston:                   All right. So I know we've done, this is going to be the second Halloween show that we are doing, the annual Halloween show. And you know, basically, what you and I talked about, and what we're going to do today, is have a fun show. We're going to talk about family law problems for the undead and other Halloween monsters.

Leh Meriwether:             All right. That sounds awesome. Where do I sign up?

Todd Orston:                   Well, since ... Well, here you go. Sign here and here. You don't need to sign up. Since you're here, let's just go get started.

Leh Meriwether:             Oh, great.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, absolutely.

Leh Meriwether:             Let's go.

Todd Orston:                   All right. So I say we do it this way. We'll do hypotheticals back and forth, and then we'll see where it goes from there.

Leh Meriwether:             That sounds like fun.

Todd Orston:                   All right, all right. So who's going to start?

Leh Meriwether:             You start.

Todd Orston:                   All right. I'm going to start, okay. So let's start this way. A zombie walks into your office.

Leh Meriwether:             Head shot.

Todd Orston:                   I'm sorry, what?

Leh Meriwether:             Head shot.

Todd Orston:                   No, no, no; a zombie as a client.

Leh Meriwether:             All right. But wait a minute. They're going to ... I don't want a zombie to eat my brains or bite me, and I turn into a zombie.

Todd Orston:                   You've watched too much TV. We're not talking about ... This is not killing the zombie. This is hopefully a zombie retaining you.

Leh Meriwether:             [crosstalk 00:03:31] Oh. Well, see, I'm an expert at zombies. I've been watching The Walking Dead, so I know just what to do.

Todd Orston:                   Why do I think that in a real-life zombie apocalypse, you'd be like the first one down? You'd be like, "All right. Follow me, everyone. I'm an expert." [inaudible 00:03:49] And brains on plates, I mean, all right. All right, so we're-

Leh Meriwether:             I'd be the first one down with saving everyone.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, all right. That's not what I meant. All right. But a zombie walks into your office, all right, and wants a divorce.

Leh Meriwether:             Wait a minute. Hang on a minute. When he died, that would automatically, by Georgia law, terminated the marriage.

Todd Orston:                   Okay.

Leh Meriwether:             So how-

Todd Orston:                   Getting a little annoyed. All right. Yes, two dead people can't marry, and a divorce is not required if someone dies. This is a zombie. Why is it that the listeners understand, and you're not grasping this? Okay.

Leh Meriwether:             Wait, wait, wait. How did they get a marriage license? I thought you had to be alive to get a marriage license.

Todd Orston:                   Al, Al, are there weapons here? I mean, we're going to put this, "I can kill zombies," thing to the test.

Leh Meriwether:             Well, I'm just trying to make your hypothetical sound real.

Todd Orston:                   How realistic do you need it to be? All right, all right. So basically, the zombie, let's call the zombie Joe. Maybe if we-

Leh Meriwether:             Joe the zombie.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah. Maybe if we give a name, you can grasp it a little bit better. And he tells you he needs a divorce because he can't stay married to his wife another minute.

Leh Meriwether:             Why not? I mean, is there anything we can do to save ... Can he talk? Can the zombie talk? I thought most of them were like, "Brains."

Todd Orston:                   I mean, [inaudible 00:05:20]. Oh, a divorce? Oh, okay.

Leh Meriwether:             So, all right, so the zombie-

Todd Orston:                   [crosstalk 00:05:26] Okay. This is Joe the talking zombie.

Leh Meriwether:             Oh, okay. Well, I'm just trying to make it as realistic as possible.

Todd Orston:                   All right. Let's just say he's tired of her cooking, all right? You know, it's basically-

Leh Meriwether:             That doesn't sound like a real reason to get a divorce.

Todd Orston:                   He wants to branch out. He wants, you know, it's-

Leh Meriwether:             Hey. What if we ... We could get her cooking lessons, and maybe they wouldn't get a divorce.

Todd Orston:                   All right. The undead marriage is irretrievably broken, pursuant to Georgia law, okay? He wants to try other types of foods, you know, not just the normal, human brain that he's used to eating; you know, like cow brain, bird brain. Oh, that's it, bird brain. So you get the idea.

Leh Meriwether:             Bird brain. Hey, you know what I heard cow brain tastes like?

Todd Orston:                   What?

Leh Meriwether:             Chicken.

Todd Orston:                   Oh. Oh, see. And we get the big sigh from Al. All right. Okay. So he needs or wants a divorce because he can't live with his zombie wife any longer, okay? Can he file under the ground of cruel treatment if she's served him the same kind of brains throughout the entire marriage? And basically, if he can do that, what's the divorce cost to him?

Leh Meriwether:             An arm and a leg.

Todd Orston:                   I need something to throw. I need something, preferably heavy or sharp.

Leh Meriwether:             Sorry. Oh, I've got my anti-zombie gear on, so it'd just bounce off.

Todd Orston:                   Oh, you are in rare form. All right.

Leh Meriwether:             All right. So how much it'll cost, and can he get a divorce? He wants to call eating the same food every day "cruel treatment."

Todd Orston:                   I mean, I don't want to eat brain ever, so if that's all I'm eating, but I'm not a zombie.

Leh Meriwether:             Okay, yeah. Well, in Georgia, there's actually 13 different grounds to get a divorce under. One of them is cruel treatment. I'm not sure that would classify as cruel treatment, but it's up to the trier of fact. But at the end of the day, in Georgia, there's one grounds that's used most commonly, and that's because we are a no-fault state, as are most states, or all states in the United States. They're no-fault, so it just requires that the marriage is irretrievably broken. There's no requirement of pleading the cruel treatment. I mean, he could. And there are some judges that will consider behavior when it comes to equitably dividing up the estate of the divorce ... I'm sorry, the estate of the parties. But it's not necessary to go down that route. A lot of the courts just don't care. I hate to say that, but-

Todd Orston:                   Well, and on top of that, I'll build on that a little bit, by adding a ground other than that the marriage is irretrievably broken, which is you basically just saying there's no hope of reconciliation, you've done everything that you can to try and salvage the marriage, it's not going to work, you need a divorce. And as long as one party feels that way, they're going to get a divorce.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah.

Todd Orston:                   If you add another ground, like, jokes aside, you know, use, as an example, adultery. Adultery can be a ground for divorce. Now, some people will say, "I want to put that in my petition for divorce." By putting it in the petition, you have to prove that in order to get a divorce on the ground of adultery.

Leh Meriwether:             Right.

Todd Orston:                   Sometimes, what we'll say to people is, "How important is it to prove that point? You can still bring the issue of adultery up in the context of a divorce. You may not get the divorce on the ground of adultery. But all of that bad behavior's still going to potentially come in, if necessary."

Leh Meriwether:             And as far as the way we practice, we tend to not like to put all those things in there in the initial pleading, because that's public record.

Todd Orston:                   That's right.

Leh Meriwether:             And we think, in most situations, it opens the door to work towards settlement if it's not in there. Now, there's exceptions for that rule. But for the most part, try to start off with a very vanilla pleading. The pleading is the first thing, was one of the things you file, a complaint for divorce is a pleading. You file it. Keep it very vanilla. That's what starts the divorce process, the complaint. Keep it vanilla to keep the door open to settling the case. That way, it doesn't cost the zombie an arm and a leg.

Todd Orston:                   Oh.

Leh Meriwether:             Sorry.

Todd Orston:                   If I had a zombie arm right now, I would beat you over the head with it. And for anyone listening, I wouldn't truly do that. I am not a violent person. But, okay.

Leh Meriwether:             You just play one on TV.

Todd Orston:                   That's right. And cost, I mean, look, our job, as attorneys, is to get our clients through a divorce as quickly and efficiently as we can. And the easier that the process is, if the parties can reach an agreement, if they can agree on terms, then there's no reason why it should be prolonged. And we can, therefore, limit the cost.

Leh Meriwether:             Exactly. So if you keep the pleading to a vanilla pleading, it could cost a lot less, rather than starting off saying cruel treatment, and-

Todd Orston:                   Or adultery, and then the other side, even if they did it, they're immediately defensive.

Leh Meriwether:             Defensive, yep.

Todd Orston:                   They are immediately going to basically, thinking they have to go to war to try and either disprove it or prevent you from proving that bad behavior.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah. Hey, and up next, it's my turn to give a hypothetical to Todd. And mine's going to involve the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Todd Orston:                   Or the Back Lagoon. [crosstalk 00:11:06]

Leh Meriwether:             Welcome, everyone. I am Leh Meriwether, and with me is Todd Orston. Todd and I are partners at the law firm of Meriwether and Tharp. And you're listening to Meriwether and Tharp Radio on the new Talk 106.7. If you want to learn more about us, you can always read about us online,

Leh Meriwether:             Well today, we are having our second annual Halloween special. And we are taking hypotheticals involving monsters and the undead, and applying them to Georgia divorce law, just having fun, or family law.

Todd Orston:                   Yes, we are.

Leh Meriwether:             And, all right, so I've got one for you. Are you ready?

Todd Orston:                   One second. I'm ready.

Leh Meriwether:             Okay, all right. So this one involves ... So the Creature from the Black Lagoon comes into your office.

Todd Orston:                   All right, hold on. Like, straight from the swamp, like goo and water pouring all over my-

Leh Meriwether:             Why do you got to be like that? Don't you discriminate against him.

Todd Orston:                   Creature, Black or Back Lagoon, as you put it.

Leh Meriwether:             Back Lagoon.

Todd Orston:                   So from the Back Lagoon, all right, I just, you know, my office, I just had it redone.

Leh Meriwether:             Oh, okay. All right, all right.

Todd Orston:                   And so, dripping stuff all over the place?

Leh Meriwether:             He's clean.

Todd Orston:                   All right.

Leh Meriwether:             It's been several hours since he's been in the water. You know, he had to come from South Georgia, up, okay? So it's been several hours.

Todd Orston:                   Okay. So he's dry.

Leh Meriwether:             And we have an amazing receptionist in Atlanta, and they got him a towel and showed him where the bathroom was.

Todd Orston:                   We are a full-service firm.

Leh Meriwether:             Yes. He is a clean, make-believe monster, and let's call him Tim the creature.

Todd Orston:                   No, I don't like that.

Leh Meriwether:             You don't what? You don't like that?

Todd Orston:                   No Creature from the Back Lagoon is going to be called Tim, no offense to any Tims out there. It's actually a compliment. How about something like Vlad, or Butch?

Leh Meriwether:             Vlad? Butch?

Todd Orston:                   I got it. How about Sir Butch Slimeskin?

Leh Meriwether:             Sir Butch Slimeskin?

Todd Orston:                   Butch, Sir. He earned that sir.

Leh Meriwether:             [crosstalk 00:13:28] Sir Butch-

Todd Orston:                   Butch Slimeskin.

Leh Meriwether:             Okay.

Todd Orston:                   All right, thank you.

Leh Meriwether:             So, gosh, now I've got to remember that. Sir Butch Slimeskin, I don't want to offend him, comes to you for a legitimation. He has a child with his old girlfriend, Betty.

Todd Orston:                   Wait, hold on. So I always thought of the creature as sort of a loner. But Mister Slimeskin, Sir-

Leh Meriwether:             He's actually quite charming, especially with that name.

Todd Orston:                   Quite charming, all right. And is Betty a creature?

Leh Meriwether:             Betty's human.

Todd Orston:                   Betty's human, crazy. All right, interesting. All right. So he is in a relationship with Betty-

Leh Meriwether:             Or he had been. It was consensual. He looked really dashing at the last lake party. And when he introduced himself as Sir Butch Slimeskin, she just-

Todd Orston:                   He is built like a swimmer-

Leh Meriwether:             [crosstalk 00:14:20] She fell head over heels for him.

Todd Orston:                   All right, got it. So they have a child. Is the child a creature?

Leh Meriwether:             Well, the child's human-looking, kind of like an amphibian. You know, think of like, Aquaman. So kind of like, he looks human. He's got gills. It's Halloween. I mean, I'm-

Todd Orston:                   Are you starting to understand how I felt in the last segment?

Leh Meriwether:             You're just trying to get me back, aren't you? You know, actually, just think of ... So we're going to call the son Sam, and he's a dashing, young lad. And in fact, he's-

Todd Orston:                   He's got gills. How dashing could he be?

Leh Meriwether:             When he grows up, he's going to be captain of the football team and the swim team.

Todd Orston:                   And the swim team, or the in-the-pool football, I mean, water polo-

Leh Meriwether:             Polo.

Todd Orston:                   There you go.

Leh Meriwether:             Oh, yeah.

Todd Orston:                   See? See? Had you given this show any thought, you would have come up with polo.

Leh Meriwether:             That's what you're here for.

Todd Orston:                   Shame on you. Shame on you. All right. So Sam, he wants to legitimate Sam.

Leh Meriwether:             Wait, Sam wants to-

Todd Orston:                   No, no.

Leh Meriwether:             Sir Butch Slimeskin-

Todd Orston:                   Sir Butch Slimeskin wants to legitimate ... Al, are you following us?

Leh Meriwether:             You're getting all mixed up.

Todd Orston:                   Good golly, wants to legitimate Sam-

Speaker 3:                        I'm completely confused.

Leh Meriwether:             Yes. Sir Butch Slimeskin wants to legitimate their son, Sam. But Betty is kind of objecting. You know, she doesn't want their son, Slam ... Slam? Sam ... to go, to be with his dad at the lagoon.

Todd Orston:                   I think you've been drinking the lagoon water. Yeah, I think that's the problem. Okay. So Betty's afraid of Sam going and living in the lagoon, kind of understand that. And so this is really, we're talking about legitimation issue. And she is objecting to the legitimation?

Leh Meriwether:             Well, I don't know if she's, per se, objecting the legitimation, because she ultimately wants child support. But it's more like, not sure how he's going to pay child support, but that's-

Todd Orston:                   All right. So, well, let's, very quickly then, putting aside all the normal issues we've been dealing with this show, that's monsters and all of that kind of thing. The bottom line is, first of all, legitimation is what is required to establish the legal rights of a father. By virtue of the fact that a mother gave birth to a child, okay, automatically, a woman has legal custody.

Leh Meriwether:             Right. This is out of wedlock. This is out of wedlock.

Todd Orston:                   A father ... Right, out of wedlock. Right. If it's in wedlock, then there's an, also for the father, an automatic legitimation.

Leh Meriwether:             Right.

Todd Orston:                   So the first part, in order for any father who has a child born out of wedlock, is to legitimate that relationship. That is the platform from which the father can then fight for, you know, rights, as it relates to legal custody rights and physical custody rights of that child.

Leh Meriwether:             Yep.

Todd Orston:                   So right off the bat, you know, we're dealing with just the basics of him trying to establish legal rights. Now, if she's not fighting it, a mother, let's say, can fight legitimation. If a father has ... Let's say he's been living in the lagoon. Sir Slimeskin has been out of the picture for years; six years, seven years. And then all of a sudden, he shows up one day and says, "I'm ready to be a dad, okay? And swimming lessons start tomorrow." She might say, "No, no, no. I'm going to fight the legitimation." And that's because the father has basically given up on-

Leh Meriwether:             He's abandoned-

Todd Orston:                   He's abandoned that right, okay? If she's-

Leh Meriwether:             [crosstalk 00:18:03] Now, there's an exception if she just kept moving. So he'd swim up to the apartment on the river, and they had moved into another apartment. And he swam to that apartment, and then she'd gone. I mean, if she kept running-

Todd Orston:                   Does she live in Venice with all these canals that he could just swim up to? So, all right. Why don't we do this? Let's look at the legitimation statute. So the legitimation statute says that a biological father means the male who impregnated the biological mother, resulting in the birth of a child. So my first part of the analysis would be, I guess it doesn't say "human," so maybe we can apply, and maybe nobody will object to the fact that this is a creature. But so, I believe that it can apply, okay? So he can bring this legitimation action. So then it turns to more of an analysis of a number-

Leh Meriwether:             Custody.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, custody issues, that basically, you know, are going to be considered when determining what rights he should have.

Leh Meriwether:             Right. So assume the court has now said, "We are going to allow the legitimation." Then the second analysis the court has to make is, what should be the appropriate parenting time for Betty and Sir Butch Slimeskin, when it comes to Sam? Where and when should Slam ... Slam? We're going to call him Slam. Let's just change his name to Slam ... Slam, where should Slam be-

Todd Orston:                   Slam from the Back Lagoon.

Leh Meriwether:             Yes. Where should he be, and when should he be? And so you get into the best interest of the child standard, which is a standard that's pretty common across the state, the different United States. Of course, in Georgia, every state has their own description of what that means. And in Georgia, we've got several items-

Todd Orston:                   [crosstalk 00:20:04] Here. Why don't you read ... Like, why don't you talk about a few of them?

Leh Meriwether:             [crosstalk 00:20:06] Like, one of them is the love, affection, bonding, and emotional ties that exist between each parent and the child; the love, affection, bonding, and emotional ties between the child and his or her siblings, half-siblings, step-siblings, and the residence of such children; you know, maybe each parent's knowledge and familiarity with the child and the child's needs.

Leh Meriwether:             So you know, in this situation, well, Sir Butch Slimeskin, that's a long name, he's going to be very familiar with Sam's needs because she doesn't have gills, and he does.

Todd Orston:                   And Sam might have some allergy to lagoon water, and if Slimeskin doesn't know that, jokes aside, then you know, the court's going to be like, "Well, hold on. You're fighting for certain custodial rights. You don't even know this child."

Leh Meriwether:             Right.

Todd Orston:                   You know, if you haven't spent any time. Now, if this is a baby, if this is a young child, and especially if the legitimation is occurring later on in the child's life, and Sir Slimeskin, in this situation, has had an opportunity to build a relationship, court's going to recognize that. Court's going to say, "Okay. We're doing this." The child is 10, let's say. But over the last 10 years, it's not like dad has been gone. He has built a relationship. He has been active. He has been involved. He understands the child's needs. There's clearly a bond between he and the child. At that point, you know, certain custodial rights, what that looks like is a different discussion, are going to be appropriate.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah. And one of the other factors is the home environment of each parent, considering the promotion of nurturance and the safety of the child, rather than the superficial or material factors. So in his case, I guess one of the questions might be, "How many alligators are in this lagoon?" If there's a lot-

Todd Orston:                   I have to assume he can sort of control the animals, or at least not get eaten. But, yeah. I don't know. It's a creature.

Leh Meriwether:             Well, Sir Butch Slimesalot, he can, but I don't know about the child.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, all right.

Leh Meriwether:             So I would think that might be a little dangerous.

Todd Orston:                   Well, you know what else is dangerous? Not going to a break.

Leh Meriwether:             Hey. Up next, we're going to hear from Mommy the mummy.

Leh Meriwether:             Welcome, everyone. I am Leh Meriwether, and with me is Todd Orston. Todd and I are partners at the law firm of Meriwether and Tharp. And you're listening to Meriwether and Tharp Radio on the new Talk 106.7. If you want to learn more about us, you can always read about us online,

Leh Meriwether:             Well, today is our second annual Halloween special.

Todd Orston:                   "Ah," that's the crowd going wild, by the way. "Ah."

Leh Meriwether:             So we've been throwing hypotheticals at each other. We had a zombie, Joe the zombie. And we had Sir Butch Slimeskin, the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Todd Orston:                   That's right.

Leh Meriwether:             What was the other thing I said? Not the Black Lagoon-

Todd Orston:                   Back Lagoon.

Leh Meriwether:             Back Lagoon, that's right.

Todd Orston:                   Slam.

Leh Meriwether:             And Slam. [crosstalk 00:23:18] Yeah. So we need to talk about Mommy the mummy.

Todd Orston:                   Well, all right. Hold on. Before we get into that, I apologize. I need to step out for a minute. I have to ... A call came in.

Leh Meriwether:             We're recording.

Todd Orston:                   I'm so sorry. I mean, we've done a lot of shows together. I apologize. This never happens. To the listeners, I apologize. But I just need to step out for just a couple minutes.

Leh Meriwether:             Okay. Well, gosh. I carry this show by myself, anyways.

Todd Orston:                   Oh.

Leh Meriwether:             Just kidding.

Todd Orston:                   [crosstalk 00:23:53] Like a dagger through the heart.

Leh Meriwether:             Or a head shot.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, or a head shot, right. All right. I will be right back.

Leh Meriwether:             I'm just kidding, just kidding. All right. Well, I won't-

Todd Orston:                   By the way, I'm gone.

Leh Meriwether:             Oh, well. I'm thrown off. I'm not sure what to do now. Hey-

Speaker 3:                        Leh, I think someone's on the phone.

Leh Meriwether:             What? Well, that's weird, because this isn't a call-in show.

Speaker 3:                        I don't know.

Leh Meriwether:             All right. Well, let's ... All right. Well, put him on. All right. Hi. You're on the air with Leh, and until recently, Todd. Who am I talking to?

Dracula:                           This is Count Dracula, blah, blah.

Leh Meriwether:             Hiya, Count. Glad to hear from you. You know, for our listeners, Count Dracula, he's a former client. We helped him with a divorce last year. What you been up to?

Dracula:                           You know, the same old stuff; turning into a bat, hypnotizing, and biting people, the normal stuff.

Leh Meriwether:             Biting people? Okay. Well, I'm not going to judge. Hey, by the way, I loved you in Hotel Transylvania 3. That was great.

Dracula:                           A common mistake, that was my cousin.

Leh Meriwether:             What?

Dracula:                           Blah. It was not even that good. I could've-

Leh Meriwether:             He looks just like you.

Dracula:                           I would've done much better.

Leh Meriwether:             Okay. Well, maybe Hotel Transylvania number four, okay? All right. So what can I help you with today?

Dracula:                           Well, I have some good news. During my last trip to Walt Disney World, I bit the most amazing woman.

Leh Meriwether:             Did you say "bit?"

Dracula:                           Let's just say she's new to the whole vampire thing.

Leh Meriwether:             Okay.

Dracula:                           But that is not the point.

Leh Meriwether:             So what's the point?

Dracula:                           The point, my delectable friend, is that I am happy to announce that we are going to marry next month, blah, blah.

Leh Meriwether:             That's wonderful news, I think.

Dracula:                           And I did not even have to hypnotize her into saying yes.

Leh Meriwether:             Well, you're a lucky vampire. So what questions can I answer for you?

Dracula:                           Well, when Miss Dracula divorced me last year, she bled me dry.

Leh Meriwether:             Hey, hey, hey. Now, hang on a minute. I don't want to pat myself on the back or anything, but I got you a really good settlement in that, because of, you know, the behavior, and she raided the bloodbank, and all that stuff. And I got you a great division of the marital assets.

Dracula:                           No, no. I mean, she bit me and drank all my blood, blah, blah.

Leh Meriwether:             Okay. Well, how are you doing now?

Dracula:                           Anyway, after I built up my strength, I ran into Bambi.

Leh Meriwether:             Bambi?

Dracula:                           Her name is Bambi. I know. I could just eat her up. Seriously, sometimes I want to eat her up.

Leh Meriwether:             All right. Well, since she's about to be your wife, I don't know if you want to eat her. But what is it you need my help with, some marriage advice, like how to make sure you don't get divorced a second time?

Dracula:                           No. We are very happy, and will live many, many, many, many years together. But before we get married, I want to make sure my assets are protected. Do you think it would be a good idea to prepare a prenup, prenup, prenuptial agreement?

Leh Meriwether:             That's a great question, Count. And you know, it's a great topic to tackle on the show. So let's start by talking about the-

Dracula:                           Wait, wait. Leh, one moment. I have a phone call coming in. Yes, I have a ... Leh, my blissful blood bag, I do have to take this call. It's my insurance agent, calling about renewing my anti-staking policy. I will listen to your response on the air, and thank you very much, blah, blah.

Leh Meriwether:             Thanks, Count. Oh, well. That was interesting.

Todd Orston:                   Hey, Leh. I'm back.

Leh Meriwether:             You'll never guess who called.

Todd Orston:                   Who? You took a call? Wait, Leh. This isn't a call-in show.

Leh Meriwether:             No. I talked to Count Dracula.

Todd Orston:                   You're kidding me. How's he doing?

Leh Meriwether:             He's doing great. He's getting remarried.

Todd Orston:                   Mazel tov. That's, I'm very happy.

Leh Meriwether:             He needs a prenup.

Todd Orston:                   A prenup?

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah.

Todd Orston:                   You know what? He called the right place.

Leh Meriwether:             I know.

Todd Orston:                   All right. So what ... Let me guess. This segment, we're going to talk about prenups?

Leh Meriwether:             Exactly.

Todd Orston:                   Wow. I'm good, even when I'm not here, which I wasn't.

Leh Meriwether:             You're good.

Todd Orston:                   Except for those of you who might be watching the video, and I'm sorry for the lie.

Leh Meriwether:             All right. Let's ... So, now the only-

Todd Orston:                   [crosstalk 00:28:40] So we're talking about prenups.

Leh Meriwether:             Well, I wish I could have kept talking to him, because-

Todd Orston:                   No, he was done with you.

Leh Meriwether:             He was done with me?

Todd Orston:                   I mean, I'm assuming.

Leh Meriwether:             I wanted more, I needed more information. Like, for example, what sort of protection does he want? Does he want his assets protected for all time? Does he want to protect from having to pay alimony? Is there a phase-in he might want? So there's all kinds of things you can do with a prenup. At the end of the day, a prenup is an agreement between two parties, that they usually do to say, "Okay. If we get a divorce, this is how we want our estate divided."

Leh Meriwether:             Now, a prenup doesn't control a will. So let's say they get married, and subsequently draft a will. That will's going to control over the prenup. The prenup is just for the divorce.

Todd Orston:                   Well, think of it this way. A will is in the event that one of the parties passes away. A prenup is in the event that the marriage is dissolved, and it's intended to basically avoid the fight, and to protect assets.

Leh Meriwether:             Right.

Todd Orston:                   In other words-

Leh Meriwether:             Or at least limit the fight.

Todd Orston:                   Or limit the fight, because think of it this way. There are some people who, when they get married, it might be a second marriage, or maybe they've had a good run, and they have a lot of assets. And they want the prenup to protect those assets. And even though Georgia law does a good job of identifying separate property versus marital property, a prenup is going to basically prevent claims against some of that non-marital or separate property. But there are some people, a lot of people nowadays, who, right now, they may not have a lot. And they'll ask all the time, "Is a prenup a good idea?"

Todd Orston:                   So without even ... Even though we know the kind of assets he has, if somebody came to us, and didn't have a lot of assets, and said, "Well, is a prenup a good idea for me," the answer is, absolutely, because you can still define what marital property looks like, what separate property looks like. So that way, one year, two years, 5, 10, 20 years down the line, if, unfortunately, you have to go through a divorce, you already have these definitions which will apply in the divorce action.

Leh Meriwether:             Right. And so, all right. So let's talk about Count Dracula. It's his second marriage, and that's usually where you see them. Coming from one marriage to another, they want to preserve the assets that they had left out of the previous marriage. So one of the things you do is, you put in there that title can control. So let's say he has, he kept his condo that he had. And even though you may ... In a normal situation, let's say he kept his condo, and his name stayed on the condo, and he didn't add his new wife, Bambi. Well, when there's payments made as a result of whatever he does to earn an income ... All those movies his cousin's doing, maybe he gets royalties from them, I don't know. So he takes that money, pays down the mortgage. Well, she has a marital interest on those payments under Georgia law, even though it's titled in his name.

Leh Meriwether:             But if we do a prenup, then we can draft it so she has no interest in those payments. And so we can say title controls. So regardless of where marital funds went during the course of the marriage, title to the property controls who keeps what. Now, I've done some where the husband and wife actually came to the table, both with a fair amount of assets. And they decide they want to do it because they didn't want a long, drawn-out fight if they got divorced years later. And they actually had a phase-out clause. So what I mean by that is, they said if they'd been married longer than 15 years, that the prenup was no longer valid.

Leh Meriwether:             And so they basically said after 15 years, that's a pretty good commitment. You know, neither of us were marrying each other, or nobody was marrying the other for their money, or that sort of thing. And it goes away. So there are certain things that can be done in those situations. And the nice thing is, it's a contract, so there's all kinds of things you can negotiate. There's one thing you can't negotiate, though, and that's children and child support. Well, that's two things.

Todd Orston:                   And let me say two quick things, also. Regarding the drafting, there are formalities that must be followed. So understand that there are people who have come to us, and they're like, "I have a prenup." And I look at it. And we see that it's basically like, you know, some loose leaf paper, and he signed, and she signed. And it's like, "There's our prenup." No, all right? Different states have different requirements, in terms of what it needs to include. And if you don't follow those requirements, you're wasting your time, because it's not going to be valid. And it won't be enforced if you ever have to enforce it.

Leh Meriwether:             Yep. And up next, we're going to talk to, or talk about Mommy the mummy. Todd, while we're on a break, let's take a moment to speak just with our podcast listeners.

Todd Orston:                   Great idea, Leh. First, thank you for listening. If you're a client of ours, thank you for taking the time to educate yourself. It really helps us help you.

Leh Meriwether:             And I wanted to thank those that recently took a moment to review our podcast. We really appreciate it. If you feel like you're gaining a value from this show, please take a moment to post a review. The reviews help others find the show, which allows us to help even more people.

Todd Orston:                   And if you're not sure how to post a review, our webmasters put together a simple explanation on our webpage. You can find it at That's M, as in Mary, T, as in Tom,

Leh Meriwether:             Welcome, everyone. I am Leh Meriwether, and with me is Todd Orston.

Todd Orston:                   You almost messed that one up.

Leh Meriwether:             I'm just having too much fun with this.

Todd Orston:                   Hi, nice to meet you. I'm-

Leh Meriwether:             I'm having too much fun with this Halloween show. I don't know. You look kind of like a Dracula to me.

Todd Orston:                   Well, thank you. I look nothing like Dracula.

Leh Meriwether:             Welcome, everyone. You're listening to Meriwether and Tharp Radio on the new Talk 106.7. If you want to read more about us, you can always read about us online, Gosh, I can't talk today. All right. So today is our second annual Halloween-

Todd Orston:                   [crosstalk 00:34:52] Yeah. We've been talking about different legal issues from the point of view, or not the point of view, but in relation to, let's say, a client who just happens to be a Halloween monster. You know, so we, you had the luck to talk to our previous client, Count Dracula. But we've also talked about Creature from the Black Lagoon, and his son, and wife, and legitimation issues. And the first one was ... What was that first one?

Leh Meriwether:             Joe the zombie.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, the zombie, and how you just are the zombie-killing machine. So, yeah. Meriwether and Tharp, get a divorce, and we'll kill your zombies.

Leh Meriwether:             That's right. All right.

Todd Orston:                   So now, how about this? I've got one last hypo.

Leh Meriwether:             Okay.

Todd Orston:                   Okay? So a mummy walks into your office.

Leh Meriwether:             Fire. Fire kills zombies, right, I mean, mummies, right?

Todd Orston:                   All right. At least you got it, that it was mummy, like you know, "Whew, I have a pyramid," mummy, right. So a mummy who wants to hire you-

Leh Meriwether:             Oh, okay. Hypothetical client.

Todd Orston:                   Oh, yes. [crosstalk 00:36:12] It only took four segments for you to catch on.

Leh Meriwether:             It's not how we handle an undead outbreak, okay. I'm sorry. I've been reading too many monster books recently.

Todd Orston:                   All right. Are we ready? All right. You need to behave.

Leh Meriwether:             Okay, I will.

Todd Orston:                   All right. So mummy, Mommy mummy, walks into your office.

Leh Meriwether:             Now, wait a minute. Is this the mummy from the 1932 film with Boris Karloff, the 1999 film with Brendan Fraser, or the 2000 film with Tom Cruise?

Todd Orston:                   It's from the 2018 version that eats Leh Meriwether.

Leh Meriwether:             Wait, it was 2017-

Todd Orston:                   That one hasn't come out yet, but it's being filmed right now.

Leh Meriwether:             Was it 2017? It was 2017, that movie came out, right?

Todd Orston:                   Which one?

Leh Meriwether:             Tom Cruise.

Todd Orston:                   I'll call Tom after the show. Can we just get on with the hypothetical? Oh, my God.

Leh Meriwether:             Well, I'm trying to figure out which mummy's coming in my-

Todd Orston:                   I mean, I know Tom watches the show religiously. And he's squirming right now, going, "Just get on with the advice."

Leh Meriwether:             All right.

Todd Orston:                   Sorry, Tom. All right.

Leh Meriwether:             Well, we just need to speed this up. Come on.

Todd Orston:                   All right. So Mommy mummy is seeking a change in child support. And what she's getting just isn't enough. And when child support was set originally, it was based on the misbelief that her new movie was going to be a huge box office success, but it didn't go nearly as she expected. So she's making less than what was put on the worksheets, and in addition, the father, Tom, is doing even better, because he's released several movies to her one mummy movie.

Todd Orston:                   Okay. So this, again, is a child support modification case.

Leh Meriwether:             Well, was the child support set in a divorce case?

Todd Orston:                   It was. In this hypo, it was in an original divorce case.

Leh Meriwether:             Because that can influence things.

Todd Orston:                   Why?

Leh Meriwether:             Because there's a two-year rule when it comes to support modifications, that barring some involuntary job loss, you have to wait two years between each modification. I'm speaking just about Georgia right now. But you can modify at any point after a divorce. So there is not that two-year limitation.

Leh Meriwether:             All right. So is the child a mummy, too, because I mean, how much does a Mommy mummy need to spend on a mummy child? Because they're dead, right? I mean, they don't-

Todd Orston:                   Do you know how much embalming costs? I mean, the wrap alone, and especially if you get it at like, Nordstrom's, or you know, you get like really nice wrap. You're a little out of touch, Leh. It's very costly.

Leh Meriwether:             I'm not as familiar. I don't know my mummy lore enough.

Todd Orston:                   And the ... What are they? The scarab beetles, I mean, they have a couple of pet beetles. [crosstalk 00:39:13] And I don't know what they eat, other than the people who are foolish enough to go into their pyramids. So anyway-

Leh Meriwether:             All right. So, well, there's a lot we could talk about here. Well, do you know what changes there have been? Have there been any changes besides the movie, his movies?

Todd Orston:                   So let's say ... All right, jokes aside, let's say that the big changes are that her income has gone down, his income has gone up. And let's even say, without putting a number on it, let's say that it was a significant reduction for her, and significant increase for him.

Leh Meriwether:             So I guess we would, one thing we would do is, we would plug those numbers in. Now, a challenge you have here in Georgia is the child support worksheets, the BCSO, the basic child support obligation, caps out at a total of $30,000 a month. And when you're talking about movie stars, well, you can quickly exceed $30,000 a month. So often, there's a high-income deviation, and that's one of the things that's going to have to be examined. This is not a typical, apart from being an undead child support modification case, it's not your typical case, because you're dealing with high-income parties.

Todd Orston:                   Well, I didn't say that. These are B and C-level movies. I mean, these are not, these aren't the good mummy movies. These are-

Leh Meriwether:             These aren't the good mummy movies.

Todd Orston:                   But you're right. You're right. With very high income, the calculator caps out at $30,000 a month, combined gross income. Doesn't mean that the court can't consider additional income.

Leh Meriwether:             Right.

Todd Orston:                   It's just that, at that point, it becomes a deviation. You're asking the court to go beyond what the calculator and what the worksheet allows for.

Leh Meriwether:             Right. So again, getting very hyper-focused on Georgia law right now, because when it comes to deviations, there's mandatory deviations, and then there's discretionary deviations. And as soon as you fall outside that, the BCSO, now you're in discretionary territory. And so the courts, at that point, are going to have to look at, you know, what are the childcare, or the costs relating to the mummy child? So I mean, that's why I was trying to understand the ... I didn't think about the wraps costing a lot of money.

Todd Orston:                   You just don't think, Leh. All right, clearly-

Leh Meriwether:             You have to wrap every day?

Todd Orston:                   You've never hung out with a mummy. So my best friend as a child was a mummy.

Leh Meriwether:             [inaudible 00:41:38] So the one thing you've got to look is, what are the costs? And you know, are there any extraordinary costs associated with the care of this mummy child? And I guess, maintaining the pyramid could be expensive.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah. Well, I mean, that's one misunderstanding people have. Child support is, to some degree, not just the food that a child eats and the clothes that a child wears. It's also, a little bit, the car that each parent uses to drive the child around, and the home that each parent lives in, that the child also lives in. But very, in the amount of time that we have, and we've done shows on child support, but in the limited time that we have, you have to think of it almost in terms of, "Do I have enough to just get my foot in the door to modify? Has there been a material change of circumstance?"

Todd Orston:                   In this situation, I'm saying there has been. So the foot's in the door. Now, the calculation, you're off and running. And at that point, it's collecting information from mom, information from dad. You put it all into the worksheet, like you said. It's going to spit out a new number. And there are times, and this is why it's important to sometimes, if you don't know how to work the calculation yourself, talk to an attorney. We are, like we're doing tomorrow, we're doing an internal seminar to go over the new online worksheet; not because we haven't learned about it, but because we're always trying to better understand it. So if you're not somebody who works in this area, then talk to somebody, because you may not put something that should be there. You may put something that shouldn't be there. And that can have a significant impact on child support.

Leh Meriwether:             So if you're a member of the undead or a Halloween monster, talk to a lawyer before you file anything with court.

Todd Orston:                   Absolutely. That's what Drac would say.

Leh Meriwether:             That's what Drac would say. Hey, everyone-

Todd Orston:                   And Dracula endorses Meriwether and Tharp.

Leh Meriwether:             Oh, wow. We need to get that out there. Yeah, all right. Well, you know what? Just, we want to wish everyone a safe, and fun, and happy Halloween.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah.

Leh Meriwether:             We always love doing this show. And you know, if you want to learn more about us, like I said, check us out online, If you have any ideas for our Halloween show next year, you can always email us at [email protected] That's M, as in Mary, T, as in Tom, You can also, if you want to ... topics for other family law shows, just email us at that same email address. And we'll try to work those shows in. And we've actually gotten some emails on that, and I'm working on bringing in some more experts to come on for future shows. And in fact, the next show, we've got two new co-parenting ... They're not new, I'm sorry ... a co-parenting husband and wife team. And they're pretty amazing, and they've authored a book. But they're going to come on the next show to talk about the top 10 things that children wish they could tell their divorcing parents, so that's going to be a good show.

Todd Orston:                   Unlike this one. And by the way, I'm doing the Dracula voice on every single show from now on. I mean, I didn't do the voice, but if I did.

Leh Meriwether:             You did.

Todd Orston:                   Thanks, everyone.

Leh Meriwether:             Thanks so much for listening.

Speaker 5:                        This audio program does not establish an attorney-client relationship with Meriwether and Tharp.