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Episode 146 - 3rd Annual Halloween Special

Episode 146 - 3rd Annual Halloween Special Image

10/28/2019 12:20 pm

Being an attorney requires you to be serious nearly all the time. Every once and a while, we like to relax and make fun of ourselves. Halloween gives us that chance. Tune in to hear Leh and Todd discuss some supernatural family law cases involving Banshees, Sirens, the Boatman from the River Styx, Hades and his divorce from Persephone, and even the Addams family.


Todd Orston: You're scaring me, and it's not for the reason you think.

Leh Meriwether: Darn it. I was trying to do my scariest laugh.

Todd Orston: No, no, no. Let's put it this way, you do that one more time, the entire show I'm speaking like Dracula. I may even do it for every single show from this point forward.

Todd Orston: So, Leh, what do you think?

Leh Meriwether: Oh my gosh. Everyone, if you couldn't tell, welcome. It's Leh Meriwether and Todd Orston. We are partners at the Law Firm of Meriwether and Tharp. And today, well, you may learn about divorce and you may learn about family law, but this is our Halloween special. This is the third year we've done this now. So we take some classic Halloween stories and turn them into divorce situations or family law, and we just have some fun.

Todd Orston: I don't know what you're talking about because what we've done is taken letters from real people with real legal issues that have written us to ask for advice, and we are going to read those letters online. Is it sounding like I'm sincere? I don't know. So these letters that will be read are actually from people with legal questions. I do not know who they are right now.

Leh Meriwether: Well, I'm glad that some people wrote in with some questions.

Todd Orston: It's amazing.

Leh Meriwether: It is.

Todd Orston: From all walks of life. I mean, different areas of the state of course because they're all in Georgia. It's amazing. They've all moved here.

Leh Meriwether: Wow.

Todd Orston: I know.

Leh Meriwether: I can't to hear.

Todd Orston: Me too because I have not even read them yet.

Leh Meriwether: Well, let's read them together for the first time.

Todd Orston: I'm dressing up like a liar this year.

Leh Meriwether: That's why your pants are on fire.

Todd Orston: All right. So are we jumping in?

Leh Meriwether: We're jumping in.

Todd Orston: All right. So the first one comes... Let me see. His name is Carl, and Carl writes us and says, "My wife and I married three years ago, and I think I need to get a divorce. The yelling just doesn't stop. From morning to night, my wife yells all the time. Whether she's asking me to take out the trash, change the channel on the TV, or pass her the green beans, she is always yelling. I know she's a banshee, but come on, a person can only take so much abuse."

Todd Orston: Wow, Carl.

Leh Meriwether: Whoa. I'm sorry to hear that.

Todd Orston: Carl has a problem.

Leh Meriwether: He does have a problem. I'm surprised he didn't hear that problem coming before he married her.

Todd Orston: Yeah. I was scratching my head as well having read this for the first time just moments ago. But a banshee, which is a spirit that is known to yell or scream. When they met, I have to assume she was still sort of into the yelling thing.

Leh Meriwether: You would think.

Todd Orston: But let's put it this way, in a non-human to banshee relationship, I would say that constant yelling is not a job, obviously. It could even rise to a level of abuse.

Leh Meriwether: Wait, do you mean a human relationship? You said non-human.

Todd Orston: A human to banshee.

Leh Meriwether: Oh, human to banshee.

Todd Orston: Yeah, a human to banshee. Don't correct me. I will pull out Dracula's voice, and then we're all doomed. No, in a non, meaning where it's just a human to human. Do I have to write this out for you?

Leh Meriwether: I think you have to write it out for you.

Todd Orston: All right. Obviously there's no joking about that kind of treatment by a spouse. Here, to your point, maybe when they first met, all the yelling would've been sort of a warning sign.

Leh Meriwether: And it's interesting because we had Bill Eddy on one time about his new book. Well, it was new at the time. But the Five Types of People that Will Ruin Your Life. I'm not sure banshee was listed in there, but I'm sure if he was thinking about it, he would've added it.

Todd Orston: I'm sure he's going to come out with a new version.

Leh Meriwether: The Five Supernatural-

Todd Orston: The Five Supernatural-

Leh Meriwether: ... Personalities You Should Avoid That Will Ruin Your Life.

Todd Orston: That Will Ruin Your Life.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah.

Todd Orston: Yeah.

Leh Meriwether: We need to tell him about that topic.

Todd Orston: I'm fairly certain he will start writing it never.

Leh Meriwether: But in his book, he talks about certain personality types that you should avoid and never marry. And I've even heard judges talk about... Again, not trying to minimize anything anybody's going through in their relationship. But I'm trying to give you the perspective of the court. I have heard judges say that they didn't understand why the spouse was upset, like, "I just can't believe he drinks so much." Well, where'd you meet him? "Spring break at the bar, drinking all the time." Well, what kind of dates did you have? "Well, we always went to bars." It's just like, "But I grew up. I thought he would grow up." The judge was just like, he didn't have as much sympathy.

Todd Orston: Well, yeah because the reaction seemed a little insincere.

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: It's like you're sitting here trying to convince this court to be upset with you about that behavior, but it sounds like that's the behavior that drew you together in the first place. And it was okay before you got married and dated, and then you got married and it continued. Here you are one, two, five, 10 years later, now suddenly wanting to say, "This is terrible, and I've been mistreated." And the court may not see it the same way.

Leh Meriwether: Now, don't get me wrong, they're still going to be fair. They're going to take all that into consideration. But sometimes people will overreact or they'll say... They'll act shocked that the person's this way, but they've always been that way.

Todd Orston: Absolutely.

Leh Meriwether: That's it.

Todd Orston: All right.

Leh Meriwether: All right.

Todd Orston: All right. So let's go into this one comes from an Admiral Sam.

Leh Meriwether: Oh, we have an admiral.

Todd Orston: An admiral. That's amazing.

Leh Meriwether: He must be out of that Savannah port.

Todd Orston: Why yes. I think it says that right here. He writes us and says...

Leh Meriwether: Or is it Brunswick, is that where it is? Brunswick. Spring Mary's Brunswick?

Todd Orston: You're just wasting time at this point.

Leh Meriwether: Okay.

Todd Orston: I mean, we-

Leh Meriwether: We got a port down there.

Todd Orston: We have important letters. You're not taking this seriously. We have important letters that we need to get to. Just be a professional.

Leh Meriwether: Okay.

Todd Orston: I warned you. Everything now will be like Dracula.

Leh Meriwether: I challenge you to do that the whole show.

Todd Orston: No, no, no. All right. So this one comes from an Admiral Sam, and he writes to us and says, "I hate to say this, but my wife is a no good Siren. I mean, literally, she is a Siren. I believe she is having an affair. I mean, every time I get home from work, there are guys all over the place. On the lawn, at our front door, washed up in our pool. I am tired of it, and Siren or not, I want to file for a divorce on a ground of adultery." Wow, admiral or Sam or whatever you go by.

Leh Meriwether: Probably Admiral Sam.

Todd Orston: Admiral Sam. Yeah. That's pretty serious.

Leh Meriwether: I think the question is can he handle the truth? Because we're about to give it to him.

Todd Orston: We're going to give him the truth, absolutely. Well, Sirens, what are Sirens?

Leh Meriwether: Well, Sirens are those mythical women that supposedly they will be on the shores of a jagged coastline, and they will sing and invite men into their deaths. I think you hear about them in Odysseus's travels. He wanted to listen to them. In fact, his men tied him to the post, and he was begging them to release them and go right into the shoreline.

Todd Orston: I didn't ask for an entire... Man, I mean, come on. We have four segments. And your tuned in to Mythology Today with Leh Meriwether.

Leh Meriwether: Well, I'm just wondering where Admiral Sam, where he met her. One day he's on the shore...

Todd Orston: Can we help Sam? Come on.

Leh Meriwether: Well, we can help him.

Todd Orston: All right. So Admiral Sam-

Leh Meriwether: Well, the first question is is there adultery, and was that adultery the cause of this divorce?

Todd Orston: And I know we sort of hinted at it, and we'll say it throughout the show. Yes, we're making light by using these examples. But the issues in these examples, we're not taking lightly. So if there's adultery, to your point, right. Was it or rather is there adultery? All I'm hearing is he married someone who likes to sing and has an effect on men. And the men are showing up, but at that point, there may not be any additional evidence that supports adultery.

Leh Meriwether: They just are on the lawn and crashed in the pool.

Todd Orston: Which I got to tell you, I mean, I would be a little annoyed. I mean, then you have to clean the pool. That's just no.

Leh Meriwether: She probably had no shortage of pool boys though.

Todd Orston: Yeah. I guess that's one way to look at it. That is a very glass half full kind of way of looking at it.

Leh Meriwether: Free labor.

Todd Orston: Absolutely.

Leh Meriwether: I will say though in other states though this wouldn't be that big of a deal. Because in Florida, in Georgia-

Todd Orston: A lot of pools.

Leh Meriwether: There are a lot of pools in Florida, but in Georgia, one of the basis to get a divorce is adultery. They don't have that in Florida. So there's some states where it is truly on fault. That is your sole basis for filing, and courts don't care that much. I mean, there are certain circumstances where they would. So if the Siren happened to give all the money to the men, and he came over and the men were leaving with everything out of the house, well that could play into it. But otherwise-

Todd Orston: They're just listening to some tunes.

Leh Meriwether: Absolutely. Just listening to some tunes, and I feel like right now our audience is listening to two loony tunes.

Todd Orston: Yeah.

Leh Meriwether: Up next, we've got some more letters from listeners that are having challenges in their marriage.

Leh Meriwether: I just wanted to let you know that if you ever wanted to listen to the show live, you can listen at 1:00 a.m. on Monday mornings on WSB. So you can always check us out there as well.

Todd Orston: Better than counting sheep I guess.

Leh Meriwether: That's right.

Todd Orston: You can turn on the show and we'll help you fall asleep.

Leh Meriwether: There we go.

Todd Orston: I'll talk very softly.

Todd Orston: Leh, look into my eyes. This is now the Dracula Show. You're back. We have Dracula. Leh had to go away, and I drank all Todd's blood.

Leh Meriwether: I'm back, and you must be feeling pretty sick right now.

Todd Orston: Yes, I am now the undead Todd.

Leh Meriwether: You're now the undead Todd. Well, welcome back everyone. This is Leh and Todd on the Meriwether and Tharp Show. But this is our Halloween special. So we do this every year. We take letters from real people with real problems, and with the undead, and we help them out. Or the supernatural. It's not always undead, sometimes it's just the supernatural. And we try to help them out, give them some legal advice.

Todd Orston: And maybe some dating advice because I don't know between banshee and the Siren, you would think there would've been warning signs.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah.

Todd Orston: Yeah.

Leh Meriwether: Well, the Siren I guess you're kind of under their spell.

Todd Orston: Yeah. I'm sort of curious how Admiral Sam even met his wife.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah.

Todd Orston: Did he just get pulled in and she's like, "I'm going to keep you."

Leh Meriwether: I guess so. But how does he even get out of the house. I guess she doesn't sing when he's there. Maybe just does it when she's in the shower.

Todd Orston: I am fairly certain we are digging way too deep on this.

Leh Meriwether: Okay. He didn't ask those questions.

Todd Orston: All right. So the next one. This one's serious. Get serious, Leh.

Leh Meriwether: I've been serious.

Todd Orston: Serious face.

Leh Meriwether: Game face is on.

Todd Orston: That's a scary face.

Leh Meriwether: Well it is the Halloween special.

Todd Orston: All right. This one comes from, is that pronounced Sharon?

Leh Meriwether: I think it's Karen.

Todd Orston: Karon.

Leh Meriwether: Karon.

Todd Orston: Okay. All right. Well, Karon says, "Well, my marriage seems to be over. My wife told me I work too much but she doesn't understand how busy I am. My wife hired a divorce attorney I know from work, and she filed for divorce. We don't have many assets but of everything we own, she says she wants my boat. I told her to go to heaven. I mean, I need the boat for work. I have to get people across the river sticks. Can she really get the boat in a divorce? And if she does, I'll have to swim people across on my back. And I could lose my job. Help me, please."

Todd Orston: Oh, Sharon. Sharon, Sharon.

Leh Meriwether: I don't think he would like you calling him Sharon.

Todd Orston: That is very unfortunate.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah. I guess one of my question is was his business incorporated? Did he incorporate... Is his boat an asset of the business, or is it he just filed it all under Schedule C?

Todd Orston: I think you're digging way too deep there. I mean, look, his job as the boat man is to get souls across the river sticks into the underworld, right?

Leh Meriwether: Yup.

Todd Orston: Okay. If we were to play roles and I was his attorney, I would be like, "He needs that boat to get people across the river, and without that boat, he can't do his job." So in this situation, I would be probably advising. I'd probably be saying to him, "I think there's a good chance that you'll be able to keep the boat. At least there's an argument because it is something that you use for work." I mean, if your job was using a different type of boat, different type of business, clearly. But if you were a fishing captain, you need the boat to be a fishing captain, otherwise that's not a fun fishing trip. It's like grab a poll and jump on board, jump on my back.

Todd Orston: So in that kind of a situation, that captain needs the boat for a business, whether it's incorporated or not. I mean, I understand your point. But I can understand that if you just have a boat and you really like the ski boat because you really like to entertain on the lake and yada, yada, then you don't have that same argument.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah, it's not going to fly.

Todd Orston: Yeah.

Leh Meriwether: In that situation, the boat would probably be sold if y'all couldn't agree what to do with it.

Todd Orston: Right. So Sharon, in this situation... I'm speaking to Sharon right now. Sharon, are you listening?

Leh Meriwether: His wife?

Todd Orston: Karon, are you listening? I would say obviously the first thing we need to do is identify all the assets in your marriage. I mean, I have to assume he's made some money. Doesn't he get paid to bring people across the river?

Leh Meriwether: He gets gold coins every time. Doesn't he at least one gold coin?

Todd Orston: I want that job. I don't know if I actually want that job.

Leh Meriwether: It's an awfully dark job.

Todd Orston: That definitely falls into the be careful what you ask for. So gold coins every trip across?

Leh Meriwether: Yeah. A lot of people die every day. Not to be morbid or anything. I'm just-

Todd Orston: Yeah, thanks. Thanks. We just lost a million listeners.

Todd Orston: Wait, why's everybody in the room laughing? Yeah. So I'd be saying to him, we definitely would need to look at all the assets in the family. Where things get difficult in a case is let's say this was not the boat man taking people across the river sticks, and let's say there are literally no assets in the marriage. And all there is is something that is used for work. It's the only thing that has value and it has significant value. You're renting an apartment, you're leasing a car. There's no 401K, no retirement, no investment, really no savings. And then there's a boat, and it has a bunch of value. I mean, I'll pose it as a question. I mean, at that point, what do you think the court would do?

Leh Meriwether: Well, let's say the boat has a value, but it's associated with the business. That's his form of income. I mean, if I were her lawyer, I would argue this business has this value because of all the gold coins he's earning. And if he's not going to give her the boat, and he's keeping the boat, he needs to pay her for it. So there's got to be some cashflow coming. If both of them happen to spend all the gold coins or they melted while they were in Hades, I don't know. Anyways, so he'd have to pay her something for the boat because I would think a court normally would say, "Well, that is his source of income. But, ma'am..." In most of the situations, you would hear the wife would be asking for alimony if she was a stay-at-home dead person because she's in Hades. She's got to be dead, right?

Todd Orston: I've seen some of the shows where, was it Perseus? Who went-

Leh Meriwether: Persephone.

Todd Orston: No, not Persephone. Anyway, I saw Class of Titans. Didn't they go into the underworld?

Leh Meriwether: Hercules did, didn't he?

Todd Orston: I don't know. Once again, this is Leh and Todd with Mythology Today. So yeah, I hear what you're saying. I think just to be really clear, what you're saying, I want to make sure, is that at that point it may become less about the boat and more about the business-

Leh Meriwether: The value of the boat.

Todd Orston: ... and the value. But the value as part of the value of the business because if he is making a whole bunch of money, utilizing that boat... I mean, it could be a $10 boat. But if every time he uses that boat, he gets a gold coin and he's taking many, many, many, many people across the river sticks, then clearly I may be able to replace that boat for $10. But I don't want $5 for my share of the boat. I instead am going to focus my attention on the business, and it could be a multi-multi-million dollar business.

Leh Meriwether: You know one of the things we've seen before is say, all right, here's another thing he could do. He could say, "You know what, if you think this boat's so valuable, buy it from me." And then he can go buy a nicer boat, one he doesn't have to push with a stick. He can get one with a motor on it.

Todd Orston: That would be cool.

Leh Meriwether: That would make his life a lot easier.

Todd Orston: Everybody jump in. Take you to the underworld.

Leh Meriwether: What's he thinking? He's really being short sided here.

Todd Orston: He's got like four 600 horsepower, outboard engine.

Leh Meriwether: Center console.

Todd Orston: Center console.

Leh Meriwether: That's what he needs to be... See, he needs to hire us so we can talk about how she can buy him out, and then use all that money to buy something really nice.

Todd Orston: That's right. Leh and Todd representing the undead.

Leh Meriwether: The boat man over the river sticks.

Todd Orston: Well, all right. So, Karon, you've definitely got some things to think about because I think it's going to be less about the boat and more about the business that you're engaged in. And then on top of that, I think it does open the door to an alimony discussion because if you're making a gold coin every time you bring somebody across, and if you're business is as robust as I think it may be, then that's a whole bunch of gold coins.

Leh Meriwether: That's a lot of gold coins.

Todd Orston: And if your spouse is totally dependent on you for support, not only do you have to deal with division of the value of the business, but there could be an alimony aspect to your case.

Leh Meriwether: I wonder what kind of shops they have in Hades.

Todd Orston: I don't even know what to say to that.

Leh Meriwether: Up next, do I actually... Do we have a letter from Hades?

Todd Orston: I think we do.

Leh Meriwether: Ah, sweet. Up next, we're-

Todd Orston: I don't know if that's a great reaction to...

Leh Meriwether: More up next.

Todd Orston: Sweet, Hades.

Leh Meriwether: Tune in next. We're going to hear from two more listeners.

Leh Meriwether: (singing)

Todd Orston: Hey, everyone. You're listening to our podcast. But you have alternatives. You have choices. You can listen to us live also at 1:00 a.m. on Monday morning on WSB.

Leh Meriwether: If you're enjoying the show, we would love it if you could go rate us in iTunes or wherever you may be listening to it, give us a five star rating and tell us why you like the show.

Leh Meriwether: (singing)

Leh Meriwether: Todd, can you just tell Dracula never to come back?

Todd Orston: It's funny. I feel like he said he same thing about you. Oh, burn.

Leh Meriwether: Oh my. Welcome back, everyone. This is Leh Meriwether and Todd Orston. And you're listening to the Halloween special of the Meriwether and Tharp Show. If you want to read more about us on a serious note, you can check us out online at And if you want to hear from our previous listeners that wrote in with some very serious and challenging problems they're having in their marriage, you can tune in to or you can look us up, look up the past episodes at You can even read a transcript of this one.

Leh Meriwether: I wonder how the blah, blah translates?

Todd Orston: B-L-A-H. B-L-A-H.

Leh Meriwether: But it just doesn't have the same...

Todd Orston: It does sort of come across as blah, blah.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah, exactly. You were going blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Todd Orston: Yeah. I really think after the segment is over, we should talk about this more.

Leh Meriwether: I'm waiting on you to read the next letter.

Todd Orston: Seriously, these people need help, Leh.

Leh Meriwether: Okay.

Todd Orston: Get serious.

Leh Meriwether: Well, read the letter.

Todd Orston: All right. This comes from Hades, and I'm not excited about that. He writes, "How could it be over? Ever since I abducted my wife and took her to the underworld against her will, things have been great. I mean, she helps me with my business, and I thought things were going well between us. Clearly not because now she says she only wants to spend one third of the year down here with me. And the other time at our timeshare in Destin. Well, that will not do. I want her out. Can I kick her out of the underworld and not let her back in? I could change the locks or sick Cerberus on her." Did I pronounce that right?

Leh Meriwether: I believe so.

Todd Orston: Wow, Hades. Wow.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah. Way to be-

Todd Orston: That's all I got for you.

Leh Meriwether: Way to be a control freak.

Todd Orston: Yeah, seriously. Seriously. So my understanding is that he saw Persephone.

Leh Meriwether: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Todd Orston: Left the underworld, grabbed her, brought her back. After some mythological experts are going to like probably want to hurt me for this. I'll just summarize very quickly that after some negotiating, it did end up where she maybe doesn't have to spend all of her time in the underworld. Understandable. But she helped run the underworld. So really Hades, his issue is he's angry. Maybe rightfully so.

Leh Meriwether: She only visits him in the winter.

Todd Orston: Yeah. Which is never in the underworld. I don't know what the underworld...

Leh Meriwether: But that was the cause of the seasons.

Todd Orston: Oh, that's right. Don't test me. Don't test me. I could always play the Dracula card again.

Leh Meriwether: Oh, please don't.

Todd Orston: So Hades, I'm speaking to you now. Let's get serious. Let's pretend like Leh's not here.

Leh Meriwether: Well, you're also going to have to pretend that it's located... Because Hades isn't necessarily any state. So we're going to have to pretend there's an entrance here in Georgia or something.

Todd Orston: Yeah, I don't want to pretend that actually. Trying to pretend that I am leaving the state immediately.

Leh Meriwether: Well, let's say she is in Savannah.

Todd Orston: Okay.

Leh Meriwether: We have to have jurisdiction.

Todd Orston: Okay. It's called temporary suspension of disbelief. Let's just pretend Hades-

Leh Meriwether: You said these were real people.

Todd Orston: They are.

Leh Meriwether: Okay.

Todd Orston: Don't test me.

Leh Meriwether: But you have to have jurisdiction to file a divorce. Where you file for divorce, you have to have resided, at least here in Georgia. I think Florida is the same, many states it's six months. You have to have resided in the state for at least six months in order to file a divorce.

Todd Orston: Yeah, and some states it's less time, some states... There are few states where it's a year, and don't get me started.

Leh Meriwether: So she was in Florida for a third of the time. So that would be six months. He could file in Florida for divorce.

Todd Orston: Yeah, that is true. That is true. So jurisdiction is something to consider on a different show. For this show though, let's focus on Hades for a moment. Don't be selfish.

Leh Meriwether: On the man, not the-

Todd Orston: Correct.

Leh Meriwether: Not the location.

Todd Orston: That's correct.

Leh Meriwether: Okay.

Todd Orston: All right. So Hades is upset right or wrong, and he wants her out of the underworld. And wants to kick her out, change the locks, and maybe sick the three-headed dog on her.

Leh Meriwether: Well, let's address... There's two things there. First off, if they're married, he can't just kick her out of the Hades home because they're married. And probably her name's on the deed too. You would think.

Todd Orston: I never even thought about pulling those records. So yeah. I think you're right. I think unfortunately because they're married, she... Until a court issues a different kind of order, she has just as much right to their home, namely the underworld, as he does. So if we were not talking about Hades, not talking about the underworld, then if this were just a home, we get that question all the time. The other party moved out temporarily or whatever, went on a trip. I want to change the locks. I want to keep them out. And unfortunately they have just as much right to get into the home as you do.

Leh Meriwether: Even if their name's not on the deed.

Todd Orston: That's right. Because title, when it comes to divorce, at least here in Georgia. Title doesn't mean anything. Now, let's talk about some things that Hades could potentially do.

Leh Meriwether: He could file for a temporary hearing, and he could ask for temporary use and control, possession...

Todd Orston: Dominion.

Leh Meriwether: Dominion over Hades.

Todd Orston: That's right.

Leh Meriwether: So that's what he needs to do that way he gets a court order, and then I guess-

Todd Orston: I had a client that once asked me to file that.

Leh Meriwether: Dominion over the home?

Todd Orston: Yeah. I mean, the client said his spouse was from hell. But you're right, a temporary order or a temporary hearing request can be made to try and get an order that basically allows for him to have sole use and dominion over the underworld until such time that the court can make a final determination in the case.

Leh Meriwether: Or there's an agreement of the parties.

Todd Orston: Right.

Leh Meriwether: On the issue of Cerberus, if he sicks Cerberus on her, that could be an act of family violence.

Todd Orston: Absolutely.

Leh Meriwether: And she could bring a family violence action against him, and the court could order him to leave Hades. And she could take dominion and control of Hades, at least on a short-term basis.

Todd Orston: That's the problem with hell guarding three-headed dogs. I'll be honest. If I had a nickel for every time my kids asked for one when they were young, no. No. Turtle, fish, fine. But a hellhound, no. I had to draw the line.

Leh Meriwether: What if she wanted the hellhound, to keep the hellhound?

Todd Orston: Like a lap hellhound.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah.

Todd Orston: Oh, can you imagine a three-headed chihuahua?

Leh Meriwether: That would be frightening.

Todd Orston: Oh my god. The yapping that would occur.

Leh Meriwether: In Georgia, what would the courts do if they had a fight over Cerberus?

Todd Orston: Well, whether you like it or not, animals are considered chattel. They're considered property. And so I'm not going to sit here and say that a judge won't listen to the emotional connection between the parties. I mean, I've seen it before where parties are fighting over a pet, and they both loved the dog. The court's going to be like, "I don't really know what to do." And it's almost like a roll of the dice or a flip of the card or coin or whatever. And the court just has to make a guess and say, "The dog's go over here, over here." I've heard of stories of there being visitation schedules for a pet. Most courts, most judges are not going to sort of put up with that. So more than likely, the animal will be given to one party or the other. But, like I was saying, if there's... Let's say Persephone is the one that fed Cerberus and played with Cerberus.

Leh Meriwether: Took him for walks.

Todd Orston: Took him for walks, and Hades was just ignoring the animal. All to Hades, it's just a guard dog guarding the underworld. Then the judge-

Leh Meriwether: But he takes him hunting from time to time.

Todd Orston: What? Hunting... Anyway, but at that point the court could say, "You know what, clearly Persephone has a stronger emotional connection with the pet." But then it begs the question, Cerberus's job is to guard the entrance to hell, to Hades.

Leh Meriwether: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Todd Orston: I mean, so without Cerberus, so it's almost like going to what we were talking about before. It's like part of the business.

Leh Meriwether: Oh, that's true. Cerberus is part of the business.

Todd Orston: Then anybody, you want to go to Hades? Done. Let's do it. There's no three-headed dog stopping me.

Leh Meriwether: Because everybody wants to go there for a vacation.

Todd Orston: Vacationing there. Then it's just unmanageable. So I think the argument can be made.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah, definitely.

Todd Orston: Yeah. I think some other arguments can be made.

Leh Meriwether: Interesting, in California, I think they have come out with a pet statute now where they can treat pets kind of like pet custody.

Todd Orston: Wow.

Leh Meriwether: Pet custody.

Todd Orston: Interesting.

Leh Meriwether: Florida and Georgia don't have that, and most states don't have that. In fact, I read an article where Florida court say they hate dealing with pet issues. So not every judge, but-

Todd Orston: Because it's property that has to be dealt with on an emotional level.

Leh Meriwether: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Which they don't want to do that. They'd rather focus on the kids.

Todd Orston: Good luck, Hades.

Leh Meriwether: Good luck. When we come back, I think we have at least one more letter.

Todd Orston: One more.

Leh Meriwether: All right. You don't want to miss it.

Todd Orston: Blah, blah.

Leh Meriwether: I just wanted to let you know that if you ever wanted to listen to the show live, you can listen at 1:00 a.m. on Monday mornings on WSB. So you can always check us out there as well.

Todd Orston: Better than counting sheep I guess.

Leh Meriwether: That's right.

Todd Orston: You can turn on the show, and we'll help you fall asleep. Blah, blah.

Leh Meriwether: There you go.

Todd Orston: I'll talk very softly.

Leh Meriwether: Welcome back.

Todd Orston: Oh, gosh.

Leh Meriwether: You won't even let me try to do the scary voice.

Todd Orston: Because I'm a little nauseous.

Leh Meriwether: All right. I'll keep my normal happy voice. Welcome back, everyone. This is Leh Meriwether, and with me is Todd Orston. We're partners at the Law Firm of Meriwether and Tharp, and you're listening to the Halloween special of the Meriwether and Tharp Show. Here we take questions of folks that are having real challenges with the supernatural and undead, and we do our best to take it seriously. And we just want to help everyone, even those that may not be in our plane of existence. If you're just now tuning in and you want to hear past what we've talked about the first three segments, you can always go to Divorce Team Radio and check it out there.

Leh Meriwether: We've been answering questions from letters that we've received, and we have one more letter that we need to dive into.

Todd Orston: All right. And I got to say, to all of the... It was very brave of all of them to write us.

Leh Meriwether: It was.

Todd Orston: And so thank you. Thank you for reaching out with these questions that clearly... Am I selling it too hard? Am I just too much?

Leh Meriwether: Just a little.

Todd Orston: All right. So the next letter comes from... Let me see. Morticia and Gomez Addams.

Leh Meriwether: Oh. Okay.

Todd Orston: Yeah. I haven't heard of them. So Morticia writes, "My husband and I recently received a call from Georgia DFCS saying..." Like I said, everyone has moved to Georgia. It's really amazing.

Leh Meriwether: It is.

Todd Orston: "Saying they want to conduct a home visit. Apparently someone filed a complaint saying our home is unsafe for our children Pugsley and Wednesday. Can you believe it? I mean, how can you say that they're not safe when we've given them everything they need to be safe? Crossbows, swords, dynamite, and every trap door is in good working condition. What is unsafe?"

Leh Meriwether: What more could you ask for?

Todd Orston: Listen, it's resonating with me. "The giant monster in the closet, is that unsafe, or their murderous Uncle Fester who lives with us? I think not. I'm thinking that we should just ignore the request or tell them no. We would also or could also let them fall through the trap door on the porch, and that'll solve the problem. Your help and guidance is appreciated."

Leh Meriwether: That's a lot to unpack.

Todd Orston: Seriously. Seriously, we're going to need a whole show.

Leh Meriwether: Well, let's start with let's not use the trap door because if the DFCS worker does not come back or report back, they'll send more.

Todd Orston: You know I got to tell you, that's where you and I differ. No, I'm kidding. On the record, I am not... I am agreeing with you. No trap doors, and-

Leh Meriwether: We're going to have people from the Department of Family and Children Services knocking on our doors.

Todd Orston: Yeah. Let me say this, as we continue with the jokes and all of that, let me say what DFCS does and what the DFCS equivalent does in every state in this country, it is a Herculean since we're doing a mythology theme sort of. So they have taken on a Herculean task, and I'm not saying they always get it right. But nobody always gets it right. Remember last show we talked about, don't speak in those types of terms, those absolutes. But what they do is incredibly good and necessary work. Having said all of that, don't go to that house. In terms of the Addams, I would say you can't just ignore DCFS. You may want to. You may think it's appropriate to, and you'll be making potentially a huge, colossal, long-term mistake that impacts you and your family for years and years to come, not days, not months. This is one of those examples where the legal system is not fast. And if-

Leh Meriwether: Well, it can be fast and take away your children.

Todd Orston: Absolutely. No, but then getting them back.

Leh Meriwether: Getting them back could take forever.

Todd Orston: It could take forever. We have had clients, I have had clients where years later they are still fighting to prove that the children or a child should be returned. So going to the question of should you ignore, absolutely without any hesitation, I will tell you that is not the answer.

Leh Meriwether: Right. So the best thing... I usually tell... Call a lawyer first. Talk to them about the situation, what's going on. You want to cooperate at a certain level, but let's talk about their house, for instance. Maybe they want to have a lawyer come by the house first, help them clean up a little bit, make it look nice and presentable. So you could sort of... I wouldn't say push them off. Say, "Well, I can't meet with you today or tomorrow, but how about today's Monday, how about Thursday? Will Thursday work? Come on by Thursday." A lot of times they'll say, "Okay. We'll be out Thursday," and they'll give the time that they want to come by. And of course they're going to want to talk to the kids. So I would suggest let's get Uncle Fester and Cousin It, when we know they're coming, let's send them to the park or give them tickets to Six Flags, something like that. It's Halloween time, they fit right in over there. So send them over there, have a good time.

Todd Orston: Wait wait. What about the Thing.

Leh Meriwether: The Thing?

Todd Orston: What about the little hand guy?

Leh Meriwether: Isn't that Cousin It?

Todd Orston: It is the hairy guy.

Leh Meriwether: Oh, okay. The Thing too.

Todd Orston: You don't even know your clients. It's embarrassing.

Leh Meriwether: I forgot about the hand. Well, you might need the hand to clean some stuff up that you might have missed. So he can move things around for you.

Todd Orston: All right. If any of you listening right now have a bodiless hand that can animate and move around, get rid of it. I don't really know a different way of saying it. I mean, it's really not only if DFCS stops by.

Leh Meriwether: Well, have Uncle Fester take it with him.

Todd Orston: That's fine. That's fine.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah. Because I don't think him putting glass light bulbs in his mouth is going to look good. So definitely get him out. And then let's see. Make sure all the trap doors... I know they maybe in good working order, but we probably should cinch them up so that they don't accidentally go off.

Todd Orston: Yeah.

Leh Meriwether: And I'd love to cover them up. May put a rug over them so they can't even see them. That'll be good. Probably put away the knives and the axes and the crossbows. Don't want them to see that.

Todd Orston: You don't want to have unsecured medieval weaponry.

Leh Meriwether: Right. Could they be in a shooting range? Yeah, that could be okay. But just have it where it's secured so the kids can't just go and start going up to the next door neighbor and say, "Hey, put this apple on your head." You don't want that happen.

Todd Orston: No. That's probably going to be looked down upon by the DFCS investigator.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah.

Todd Orston: Look-

Leh Meriwether: Also tranquilized, by the way, the monster that's in one of the closets. Don't they feed some monster that's in the closet?

Todd Orston: Yeah.

Leh Meriwether: And I'd probably have Pugsley has an octopus, right? A pet octopus.

Todd Orston: I got to tell you, this is a lot of work. I'm going back to the trap door. I'll be honest with you. It's starting to sound like a good option. Once again, only kidding. No, jokes aside, what we're trying to say is... What are we trying to say? We're saying that you have to take this seriously. And you've probably already contacted an attorney. If you haven't, contact an attorney. At the very least, do a consult with an attorney so you can better understand basically what's happening. What an investigation will look like. Try and figure out what they're looking for, meaning what the concerns are. Sometimes DFCS won't even tell you what the complaint is.

Leh Meriwether: Right, and they definitely won't tell you who made the complaint.

Todd Orston: Right. So it's not like they're going to give you roadmap about, "Here are the concerns A, B, and C." And you can just remove the animated hand and the murderous uncle and the monster in the closet, and okay, problem solved.

Leh Meriwether: Probably should get rid of the dynamite.

Todd Orston: And the dynamite. I mean, in small batches, it's fine. So you need to take it seriously, you need to talk to an attorney because an attorney, to your point, can walk you through basically this is what an investigation's going to look like, these are the concerns are going to be. So why don't you jump in and now say, let's say an investigation occurs and there are some concerns. Worst case you already said. They can feel that it is such an unsafe environment that the child or children can or need to be removed. But a lesser occurrence, meaning a less severe finding or reaction by that DFCS investigator would be, what?

Leh Meriwether: They would issue what's called a safety plan. At least that's what we call it here in Georgia.

Todd Orston: What is that?

Leh Meriwether: So they say, "All right. Well, we're going to help the children stay safe by making sure they don't have access to sharp weapons and swords and axes. And they cannot play with dynamite. And they need to stay away from the shooting range." So they can get very specific situations where the children cannot do certain things. They can even limit who can be around the children. Where you often see situations is where there's a violent boyfriend in the house. So they can come in to the mom and say-

Todd Orston: Stay away from that third party.

Leh Meriwether: Right, and if you allow them back in the house, we're taking the kids out.

Todd Orston: It could be drugs. It could be alcohol. It could be any of those types of concerns that you'll have to stay away from a third party.

Leh Meriwether: You know what I'm really concerned about?

Todd Orston: We have no more time.

Leh Meriwether: No more time.

Todd Orston: I'm good. I'm good.

Leh Meriwether: You are good. Hey, everyone. Thanks so much for listening. We hope you enjoyed our third annual Halloween special.

Todd Orston: Hey, everyone. You're listening to our podcast. But you have alternatives. You have choices. You can listen to us live also at 1:00 a.m. on Monday morning on WSB.

Leh Meriwether: If you're enjoying the show, we would love it if you could go rate us in iTunes or wherever you maybe listening to it. Give us a five star rating, and tell us why you like the show.