In this episode of the Modern Divorce Podcast, host Billie Tarascio takes the other chair as the guest of attorney Launi Sheldon's "All Things Divorce" podcast to talk about the growing amount of online advice available for people divorcing. How do you know when it's valid for you and what can you do to make sure you're hearing from the right sources?
Billie and Launi talk about the many voices on divorce from experts and non experts, what to expect to pay for a consultation, and how a Facebook group like the Modern Divorce Support Group has allowed divorcing people to blow off steam about the process and their ex's in a supportive environment. Launi also talks about the growth of her communications platform ProperComms.com that helps people in high-tension, high-conflict divorces to communicate through a go-between that takes out all the nasty bits, name calling, and finger pointing. What a relief!
Is the online divorce advice you're getting correct?
[00:00:00] Billie Tarascio: One consistent theme you'll hear from me, Billie Tarascio, is that we do not believe in a one size fits all solution. That's why at Modern Law you can find anything you need for your family law case. For the highest stakes litigation cases, we've got experienced family law attorneys who can offer you representation.
We also have embraced newly licensed legal paraprofessionals who can offer you legal representation. And if you just need your documents prepared, we can offer certified legal document preparers as well. If that's not for you, and instead you are representing yourself, congratulations, you are like one of the 70% of people out there doing it on your own.
And our newest offering, win Without Law School can help. For more information about Win Without Law School, go to when without law school.com. To get representation [00:01:00] options, go to my Modern Law dot com. Hi,
[00:01:05] Launi Sheldon: welcome to All Things Divorce podcast. I'm Lonnie Sheldon, the host of All Things Divorce podcast. Today we have Billie Tarascio on our show and we'll be talking about the rise of online Divorce help. So a little bit about Billie. She's a Divorce and family law attorney and the owner of Modern Law in Phoenix.
She is the author of Decode Your Divorce One, which is everything you need to know about Divorce in Arizona and Decode your Divorce two, which is Complex Personality Disorders and Addiction in Divorce. She is the host of Modern Divorce podcasts and can be found on all social media platforms at at Modern Law.
Her website is ModernLaw.com. And I'll give you more information about Billie. So the information in this podcast is provided for entertainment purposes only. Both Billie and I are only licensed in Arizona, and listening to this podcast [00:02:00] does not create an attorney-client privilege with either me or Billie.
That being said, we both have online presences and that that expands nationwide. Right, Billie? And most of what we say will translate throughout the jurisdictions. Would you agree?
[00:02:13] Billie Tarascio: Yeah. I mean, many times, absolutely. Usually you can tell.
[00:02:19] Launi Sheldon: So what made you decide to take your presence online? Cuz you do have a very good online presence, which I love.
And what made you decide to do that?
[00:02:27] Billie Tarascio: Honestly, I think it was just timing. When I got out of law school it was 2005. The internet was a lot younger then, but it was still pretty darn prevalent. And so, That's just, that's just kind of, that just made sense to me to just be online. Facebook was a different beast, but it was still a beast even in, in 2010 when I opened Modern Law here in Arizona.
[00:02:53] Launi Sheldon: So there, so what, what types of things have you found online? You mean like what right for Divorce
[00:02:59] Billie Tarascio: [00:03:00] Yeah. Well, there's a lot, you know, so back as early as 2013 is when I started, I do over, which is the, what we were talking about, the the legal doc prep company. And my vision for that was for it to be an online forward facing doc prep online portal.
Kind of like what Hello Divorce is now. And so, hello. If you're familiar with them, is a company out of California that has gotten venture capital and is working on growing and expanding into different states that is an online platform to, to help people get divorced or like it's over easy. Laura Watson's platform that I think she's closed now.
So there's that, there's the forward facing, you know the. Technology that claims they can do it for you online. That has never really taken off, I don't think anywhere. It certainly didn't for me. I think Erin at Hella Divorce is having the most success. But I do know that like when people want Divorce help, they're not looking for forms online.
They're looking for connection. So [00:04:00] another way that people are connecting and are really getting information and getting support is a lot through Facebook groups.
[00:04:07] Launi Sheldon: That, that's great. And, and you do have a Facebook group that is called Decode Your Divorce, right? Mm-hmm. Is that what it Yes. And I, I reached out to you and I told you I love it.
I think it's great because there are, there's a lot of people that come in there looking for advice, and so I think what you're saying when you're talking about people. Wanting online. They don't just want a form online, because you can get that from most of the courthouses. You do want someone to walk you through.
You do want somebody to hold your hand through it. And if that's through a document prep service, they can do it. And by the way, anyone who's listening Billie does have a podcast on that, on talking to one of her people in there. It's a, it's a really interesting podcast and talks about kind of what she can do.
So let's talk about. You know, as an attorney, look, I, I go to my doctor and I'm like, well, I Googled this and I know as an attorney I hear clients say, well, I Googled that. And some of it is, you know, [00:05:00] I I you have a very good outlook about it. I can tell you it's a lot different than a lot of other attorneys.
So tell me your outlook on that. Yeah,
[00:05:07] Billie Tarascio: so I, I. It does not bother me at all. At all. I think it's great for people to come to me and and say, Hey, I got this idea, or I saw this thing, would this work in my case that, I mean, obviously this is their life. Of course they're online Googling it the same way if you had cancer, you'd be googling, you know, cancer treatment.
So that does, it does not bother me at all. And I hope that other lawyers don't hate me because I was at Lake Pleasant and somebody came up to me and was like, I, I watch you on TikTok. And I heard what you said about subpoenaing CAAs and I talked to my lawyer about it and, and I was like, I hope they don't hate me, but people are going to be looking for information and ideas and then float it by their lawyer.
And then hopefully you have such a good relationship with your client that they listen to.
[00:05:56] Launi Sheldon: Well, and that's true and it's, it's actually great because you do give out really [00:06:00] good, helpful information. Unfortunately there are people who don't give out the best information. So if you run into anything like that, I've run into a few.
But what have you run into? Well,
[00:06:10] Billie Tarascio: definitely, I mean, even so in the decode, your Divorce Facebook group there. You have this podcast called All Things Divorce, and we talked about how people go to get information, but they also go to get support and connection to tell their story, to get feedback. And people who've been through a Divorce will go there to give feedback and to mentoring, to kind of help process this huge life event that they have had taken place.
What happens is they give legal advice, they just do. Sometimes it's super useful and sometimes it's really wrong.
[00:06:45] Launi Sheldon: And I, I, I have to say, I am on, I, I'm a member. I joined as soon as you, I don't even know how I found it. It, it came up, I found it. I joined. I think I, shortly thereafter, I found out it was yours.
I think I probably clicked in the admin and found out that it was yours. And [00:07:00] I appreciate, so I'm not litigating anymore, right? So I do like to. Help people. I've, I've always been a helper. Mm-hmm. So I actually go on there and help people. And if I see something wrong, I'm like, Hmm, no, not so much. But I don't know if, if they know I'm an attorney, so they're probably thinking I'm just, you know, not any more educated than the person who gave the wrong advice.
[00:07:22] Billie Tarascio: Yeah. I mean, let's, that's the downside. The downside of going and asking for legal advice online is you have no idea. If the advice you're getting is correct, you have no idea. And I, I also see like community pages where people will ask questions or say, you know, Hey, this landlord tenant thing happened, or Hey, you know, I was on the Go Gilbert page and it was like the, you know, the CPSs in Texas took my grandkids.
What do I do to get them back? And there's hundreds of comments of people telling this person how to navigate c p s. They're probably not talking about Texas CPS. They're definitely not licensed attorneys. So [00:08:00] hopefully consumers. Glean, take what they can and then go get reputable advice and get help.
[00:08:09] Launi Sheldon: So, and, and that's a good point because there is so much out there.
Mm-hmm. So do you recommend sort of anyone before they listen to what they're hearing on that, go talk to an attorney?
[00:08:21] Billie Tarascio: Definitely getting a consultation is a great idea. When you do that, you know, is completely up to the individual given their circumstances. It's always best if somebody can have an attorney that they can pay for the whole time and get all the advice and execute all the instructions, but the reality is most people can't afford.
[00:08:38] Launi Sheldon: That's true. But again, I think you're right. Just at least go if you can get three, four, $500, however much the attorneys are charging in your area and at least get a one hour consultation. Take a bunch of questions in and get that consultation. You can, you know, Gather your information from your online sources and go ask, go ask a lawyer.
[00:09:00] Because again, you just really don't know. But there is some really great information out there. I mean, I think I give good information. I think you give good information. You know, you do your TikToks and there's other TikToks out there. I do some, I haven't done TikTok yet. I've done some Instagram. I might have done one or two TikToks.
But there, there are. There are other sources out there with really good information. Mm-hmm. It's just a matter of weeding through it, right? Mm-hmm.
[00:09:23] Billie Tarascio: Absolutely.
[00:09:24] Launi Sheldon: So have you found that your online presence is helping you reach people?
[00:09:29] Billie Tarascio: Definitely. Absolutely. We don't do any paid advertising at all. We do no pay-per leads and.
Are growing always. So I think creating a connection with your online audience and being real and giving value is a much better way to spend my time than paying for paper clicks. You know, just philosophically as a business owner, like that's not the type of consumers I want. I want consumers who know me, who like me, who trust me.
[00:09:58] Launi Sheldon: That that's true. [00:10:00] That's great. I, I do have to go back real quick. You know, you did have something blow up on Reddit? I did. Which I, okay. I have, so I just recently went on Reddit. Like it's just been a recent thing cuz I was gonna add some stuff to my all things Divorce podcast. So I was looking up Divorce stuff.
And I came across a story, am I the asshole story? And I had no idea it was about you. Yeah. And I defended you. I was just shocked that anyone wouldn't. But did, did you get any did you get any personal feedback? Like from that, did you get any, did that help your business? Like, I'm just wondering if that's something that was like, you know, did you have a whole bunch of people come, you know, racing at your door?
Because I don't, I mean, I, I guess I don't recall that it was your name being used. Was it, was it your name ?
[00:10:49] Billie Tarascio: Well, let me just back up and give people the story so they, so they have a little bit of context here. So I woke up and I got a text from a client of mine who's also a paralegal who said, [00:11:00] you know, Billie, I don't know if you've seen the Facebook groups, but.
You're blowing up and it's not good. This is not a good look for you. I, I, you probably didn't even approve the post. You couldn't have possibly known that this would happen. And what had happened was there was a job posting from Modern Law on Indeed for a legal assistant slash childcare provider for my managing attorney who was really struggling with childcare.
And there was a Twitter thread. So there's a, a lawyer on Twitter who has a podcast called Lawyers Behaving Badly, and she wrote, you know, can you believe this, Arizona law firm wants to pay somebody to watch twins and be a legal assistant? And there were hundreds of comments about how awful this was, how.
How anti-modern, how anti-feminist, how could anyone ask someone who was doing work to to be a personal assistant and childcare provider? When you're talking about a legal profession, it was very offensive to paralegals and to lawyers. So, It was bad, it was out of control. There were [00:12:00] hundreds of comments.
People at my office were getting nervous. They were seeing it. Like it was very disconcerting. And so I have a great relationship with my followers on TikTok. And I posted on TikTok, you know, a video, am I the asshole? And I described like, here's what's happened and here's the feedback I'm getting and here's what I was trying to do.
Like I was trying to help. Kylie, because Kylie, my managing attorney, pays for her twins to be in full-time preschool, and she couldn't also pay to have a backup nanny. But last year with R S V and with Covid, they were home all the time and it was really impairing her ability to be a great managing attorney.
She's worked for me for a long time. I'm very loyal to her, and I wanted to help her solve the problem. So we came up with this idea of doing a hybrid. Somebody picked it up from TikTok and put it on Reddit, and then the next morning it was trending number one page on Reddit, and there was, so, there was just comments and comments and comments about the job, whether or not it was a good idea.
And it did work out really well. We got 60 [00:13:00] applicants for this job, and we've now hired this lovely, lovely woman who wanted this job, but there were pros and cons. There was a law blog, law 360 that did a pretty brutal article about it. Like Arizona law firm wants to hire hybrid.
[00:13:17] Launi Sheldon: Yeah, I just, I mean, I guess I was, I was completely shocked and I know we're off the subject of, of going online, but that thing was, that had a life of its own and it was online, so it kind of fits in there.
But I did see it on Reddit. Mm-hmm. And I responded that I thought it was an amazing idea. I thought that it showed that you really cared about your employee, that you were willing to do this, put this other person on your payroll. Mm-hmm. And to help her with this very difficult situation as a mo, as a single parent.
I can tell you that I had very difficult times at times and I actually hired my daughter for that, my oldest daughter for that same role. Right. Because I trusted her with my kids. Yeah. [00:14:00] And I and she was an amazing para. Yeah. And so I couldn't even believe that anyone had anything negative to say about that.
So that was kind of a, we, we kind of digressed from, from what we were going to. So let's go back to, what other online services have you seen out there that you've liked, that you've hated?
[00:14:19] Billie Tarascio: So relatively recently, another lawyer, Julie LaBenz, and l launched something called Win Without Law School.
That is training for pro se litigants. And she is offering courses online and office hours online to help teach people how to navigate Divorce and answer their questions. So that's kind of an interesting new way of doing it. There's this, there's this guy named Judge.
[00:14:45] Launi Sheldon: He's doing, I'm doing an app too. He's doing an app and I'm starting mine also.
[00:14:49] Billie Tarascio: Yeah. Judge. I don't know his name, but he's That's the b Yeah. And he is doing an online course on how to get through Divorce with narcissist.
[00:14:59] Launi Sheldon: [00:15:00] Right.
[00:15:00] Billie Tarascio: So I think that there's online Divorce coaching, so that's another online service. And you do Divorce coaching, right.
[00:15:08] Launi Sheldon: Divorce prepping. Okay. And I don't really do it online though.
I am starting, so, so it's strategic legal services and that that is actually going to have like a podcast. Mm-hmm. And or not a pod, not a podcast. An app. Mm-hmm. And it's going to teach parties how to prep for certain mm-hmm. Events. I'm, I, I only prep, I don't do litigation anymore, so I prep other a.
Clients for big cases, for custody evaluations, things like that. Mm-hmm. And then of course I also have proper com. Mm-hmm. Which is where we edit emails and text messages between high conflict families. So that's another online service and that's nationwide also. So I did a post a TikTok about proper com and it got so many comments.
People were like, where can I sign up? I want this job. How wonderful is that? What a great service. Like people love proper com. It's just a great
It is. You know, I'm, I'm very proud of proper com. It is a service that's free for victims of domestic violence. I created the, the company when I had clients who were just being abused over and over and over by their exes, and they, you know, they would go back to court and the judge would tell the ex to stop and then the ex wouldn't stop. And we were getting some very, very vulgar mm-hmm. Very harassing emails and texts. Mm-hmm. You know, thankfully, and not so thankfully, I mean, when we edit 'em, they're typically not as bad as, as they were before.
Right. So they're not Once they know they're gonna be edited, most of the people behave a little bit better, but some people just don't know how to communicate, right? So we do have to edit a lot just because, you know, they're very demanding or they're condescending, or, you know, they like to continue to lecture their ex about everything that they're doing wrong, things like that.
So that is one thing that I'm, it's a, a program that I'm really proud of just because it was and is used regularly daily to, to stop [00:17:00] you know, the continuation of domestic violence. Absolutely.
[00:17:03] Billie Tarascio: Without a doubt.
[00:17:04] Launi Sheldon: Any other programs that you're aware of out there that are great?
[00:17:08] Billie Tarascio: Hmm.
Not that I'm specifically tracking, no.
[00:17:11] Launi Sheldon: Okay. Well, I, I totally appreciate you being on here. I think I, I'm, I'm so impressed by all the things I've discovered. Of you after I've, you know, after I asked you to be on here, then I, you know, did a little more research. And you're just, you're, I just, I love your way of thinking. I love your way of, of trying to reach all different kinds of people from all different levels.
I think that the document prepare company now that is just specifically for Arizona, correct?
[00:17:36] Billie Tarascio: Yes.
[00:17:37] Launi Sheldon: At this time. All right. Do you have any plans to make it national?
[00:17:40] Billie Tarascio: No, because the licenses are individual. And so my, my real mission is to help family law litigants in Arizona. Like whether you're self representing, whether you need doc prep, whether you need LPs, I've got LPs at Modern Law.
Or if you need the very best litigation lawyers, like I just think [00:18:00] that that's what I know. I know Arizona family law and I just wanna be a resource for Arizona
[00:18:06] Launi Sheldon: And, and I appreciate that as, as a lawyer and just, I just wanna back up for people who don't know what LPs are. Mm-hmm. And LP is now approved in Arizona, they're legal paraprofessionals, so they didn't go to law school.
Mm-hmm. But they did have to take a test. They either had to take a certain amount of classes or they had to be a paralegal for a certain amount of time. Mm-hmm. And there's, I don't know how many we have now, do we. 30 or 40. I'm in a para, I'm in a legal paraprofessional group, and I think we have, we, we probably have like 30 or 40 now, I think.
[00:18:34] Billie Tarascio: Yeah,
yeah, yeah, yeah. Which is really cool.
[00:18:38] Launi Sheldon: It, it is, it's just an interesting step between, you know, above a paralegal or above a document prep person. Right, right. But you know, not necessarily as, Good as a lawyer though. Yeah. I've seen some of them and I'm gonna say that probably some of them are as good as some of the lawyers out there.
Just because I know some of the good ones and I know some bad lawyers. [00:19:00] Right. So, so just, you know, I, I do wanna kind of push that too. So you have legal paraprofessionals and then you have associates. Do you have any partners with.
[00:19:11] Billie Tarascio: I don't.
[00:19:12] Launi Sheldon: Okay, so just, it's you, it's, it's Billie of Modern Law. And then you have, but you have like 10 people or 15 people who, who are attorneys or legal paraprofessionals.
[00:19:21] Billie Tarascio: Yeah. It's a big team.
[00:19:23] Launi Sheldon: Yeah, it was a big team. I was looking that up too. So. Well, thank you so much for being on here. I know. Billie's gonna share this on her podcast too. And so we'll, we'll kind of switch information around and, and get you on. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
[00:19:39] Billie Tarascio: No. I need to interview you for my podcast cuz this was definitely like, this was way too much about me, so we'll definitely have you on the Modern Divorce podcast and get you interviewed.
Well, thank you so much. So it was nice talking to you. . [00:20:00]