Episode 161

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Video Episode

Til Debt Do Us Part. Christopher Melcher

Episode Description

Planning a wedding is fun and exciting, but has everyone involved discussed their expectations for marriage, finances, and life together before saying, “I do?” 

Our next guest is Christopher Melcher, who has A-list celebrities, executives, trust beneficiaries, and tech company founders across California turning to him for assistance protecting their most valuable assets in high stakes divorces. With deep experience in complex family law litigation and premarital agreements, Christopher provides tactical representation in the most challenging family law disputes.

Christopher is a published author, with his work focusing on premarital agreements and financial issues in divorce. He is a partner at Walzer Melcher Law Firm, and Christopher is also an adjunct professor of family law at Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu.

Bob and Christopher chat about the complex nature of money and divorce and the life lessons that helped shape his views today.

[3:54] Learning about investing from a young age.
[6:34] Time versus money. Income dependent on how many hours worked.
[12:42] Shifting his mindset to kindness and calm.
[17:46] Nobody wins in divorce.
[20:21] Discuss your financial expectations before getting married.
[22:21] Emotional impact of financial disparity.

To learn more about Christopher and the services he provides, visit the Walzer Melcher website.

Connect with Christopher Melcher:

Website: https://walzermelcher.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WalzerMelcher/

Twitter: @CA_Divorce

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ccmelcher/

Episode Transcription

Click to Read Full Transcript

[00:00:00] Bob Wheeler: Welcome to another episode of Money You Should Ask, where everyone has something they can teach you. I’m your host, Bob Wheeler. In this episode, we are going to explore why we do what we do when it comes to money. As a CPA for the past 30 years, wait, let me say 25, because that makes me sound younger. I have seen it all when it comes to money and emotions.

[00:00:21] And if you think I’m talking about my clients, I’m not. I’m talking about myself. My relationship with money has been, and sometimes still is an emotional roller coaster. Maybe that’s something you’re also familiar with. Good news. You and I are not the only ones. Our next guest is going to share their money beliefs, money blocks, and life challenges as well.

[00:00:43] Buckle your seatbelt and enjoy the ride.

[00:01:06] Our guest today is Christopher Melcher, who has A-list celebrities, executives, trust beneficiaries, and tech company founders across California turning to him for assistance protecting their most valuable assets in high-stakes divorces.

[00:01:19] With deep experience in complex family law litigation and premarital agreements, Chris provides tactical representation in the most challenging family law disputes. He’s also a published author with his work focusing on premarital agreements and financial issues in divorce. He’s also an Adjunct Professor of Family Law at Pepperdine University’s School of Law in Malibu. Christopher, welcome to the show.

[00:01:42] Christopher Melcher: Thanks, Bob, for having me. I’m looking forward to this.

[00:01:45] Bob Wheeler: So right off the bat, I have to ask this question because you do deal with a lot of premarital. So I was on a show, it was on the radio, and this woman called in and her question to me was, she was working out the premarital and she wanted to know the dollar amount that she should charge her husband for each time he cheated on her.

[00:02:05] Christopher Melcher: Yeah. We’ve actually seen that. We’ve seen it. People want it, we won’t put it in, but we’ve seen people saying, if you cheat on me, you know, this is what I get paid. Or the, even about gaining weight or if drugs are taken. All of these clauses, and it’s just sick.

[00:02:22] I mean, it’s like, if you’re putting stuff like that in there, why are you even getting married? But we definitely see it.

[00:02:28] Bob Wheeler: I sort of said to her, I didn’t give her a dollar amount. I just said, I think you have bigger issues. Like, do you even know he’s going to cheat on you? And she’s like, no, but you know, my friends say he will. I’m like, oh this is going to be a good marriage. She’s going to need a good divorce lawyer at some point.

[00:02:44] So let me ask you this, Chris. Did you always want to be a lawyer? Now I know your dad was a prosecutor, your brother’s in law, so it must’ve been like a courthouse growing up? Were you always having to present cases?

[00:02:56] Christopher Melcher: Yeah. I wanted to be a lawyer as a young age because my dad was a prosecutor. He was doing murder trials. And when I was young, he would talk to me about these cases and really listen to my opinion. And that’s what got me thinking like a lawyer and I wanted to do exactly what he did.

[00:03:14] So there wasn’t really any question early on that I wanted to do this, but I really didn’t want to put in the effort that it required. So that took a little bit of extra time.

[00:03:23] Bob Wheeler: And was it just your brother and you, or were there other siblings?

[00:03:27] Christopher Melcher: Just the two of us.

[00:03:28] Bob Wheeler: Okay. And what was it like in terms of money? Did your dad talk to you about money?

[00:03:33] I mean, he talked to you about murder cases, but did he talk to you about money? Did you get an allowance? How did that look?

[00:03:40] Christopher Melcher: We’re a hardworking family and I learned about money pretty early on from my grandmother, his mom. And they, you know, were depression era people who worked really hard and saved a lot, did really well.

[00:03:54] And my grandmother, Eleanor, taught me to read the stock pages when I was probably 10 years old.

[00:04:01] Bob Wheeler: Wow.

[00:04:01] Christopher Melcher: I mean, she was sitting down and saying, here’s how to read these things. And that got those juices flowing. And she taught me pretty much everything I know about money. And then also just growing up, my dad had left the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office, went into private practice, and then started making a lot of dough.

[00:04:21] And I remember one time, 1979, he bought a Cadillac and a Corvette at the same time. And I was just like, what? And we’re, you know, we moved to this nicer neighborhood, so I definitely wanted to succeed.

[00:04:35] And I saw like, how both sets of grandparents had worked really hard from basically nothing, and saved a lot, did really well. Then my dad took it to a higher level, then I took it to a higher level than my dad. And now with my son, well, I’m sure he’ll probably blow it all.

[00:04:56] Bob Wheeler: Oh, will that be okay?

[00:04:58] Christopher Melcher: No. No, it won’t. I’m trying to teach him, but you know, they say something about all wealth is lost by the third generation. So it’s coming.

[00:05:09] Bob Wheeler: Well, at least you’ve prepared yourself and lowered the expectations. So, uh, maybe it won’t be so bad.

[00:05:16] Now, let me ask you this. So you knew that your dad was a lawyer and you wanted to be a lawyer. But were there other things involved in your journey to success? For example, for me, and I talk about this a lot, I was taught that I am my accomplishments. So I needed to be on this team and I needed to win this and I needed to be the best at this.

[00:05:33] And so there was an expectation that I had to excel. And for a long time, that was my focus, until I realized I didn’t really want that to be my focus. But for a long time, that was how I was driven. And I’m wondering for you, what were the motivators besides wanting to be like your dad? What motivated you?

[00:05:51] Christopher Melcher: I wanted to own real estate. That was my drive and stock, so, because of my grandmother. And so I was always looking at land and looking at development and all this stuff as a very young kid. And so I figured, well, I’m going to need a lot of money to do this. So that’s what was driving me.

[00:06:09] And then when I figured, okay, I’m going to be a lawyer. I thought like, wow, lawyer is like top of the food chain, I’m just going to be a lawyer. I’m going to make all this money. And then I didn’t realize that until I became much more successful and started doing these divorce cases for very wealthy people, that I’m just a humble servant. And this whole service job that I got myself into is so dependent on hours.

[00:06:34] And so I had spent so much of my focus on becoming a lawyer and getting all of these trappings as a lawyer, or accomplishments, but then really I’m just a service guy. And it was kind of eyeopening then to realize like, how dependent my income is on my time. Then I started finally making enough money where I could start buying some real estate and doing some investments to kind of get out of the service, to being so dependent on being a service provider.

[00:07:03] Bob Wheeler: Yeah, absolutely. And I’m wondering since you started looking at this stuff early on, it seems like it was welcomed. Like I know in my family, when I started saying I’m interested in money, everybody was, wow Bob is so greedy. And Bob’s like that Alex Keating guy on Family ties, he just thinks about money. Right?

[00:07:20] And so there was a negative connotation. And so it was like, oh, I need to probably keep this on the down low. But you were, I want to look at real estate, I’m reading the stock market. So what kind of environment was that? With your grandmother, with your dad? Those kinds of conversations?

[00:07:33] Christopher Melcher: Well, that so supportive and helpful because I had all kinds of crazy ideas and no one ever told me that I couldn’t do it or that it was a crazy idea. So I had lots of support and encouragement for all these things. So it was never looked down on.

[00:07:50] And it was just, I remember talking to my grandmother who lived in Fresno, uh, she was saying, well, gee, you could go pick grapes, you know, spend time with me in the summer and pick grapes. And I was like, wow, I could make like, whatever it was, who knows? 50 cents an hour probably back then.

[00:08:05] So I was always thinking about ways I was, how I was going to make money, and people would encourage me. And that was really helpful. But I do remember a friend of mine, close friend of mine, that I was encouraging when he was young about maybe a career that he could go into.

[00:08:21] And I was like, wow, you know, you’re really good at this. And that could lead to this other career. And I remember he was excited and he went and his mom came home. And he said, hey, I’m thinking about this. And she immediately said, oh, you could never do that. No one had ever told me that before. And I felt so badly for him.

[00:08:39] And I’ve seen that. I’m fortunate I had never experienced that, but I understand that’s how a lot of people are. And of course, if your own mom doesn’t, you know, support you in your idea, how could you ever have it? So I didn’t realize how fortunate I was that I had people who were encouraging crazy ideas.

[00:08:58] Bob Wheeler: No, that’s awesome. And did you go pick grapes?

[00:09:00] Christopher Melcher: No, my dad talked, he said no. Because I was ready. I said, hey, I’ll spend the summer with grandma and, you know, whatever, I could make all this money. And he’s just like, no, you’re not doing that. So that was one thing he said no to.

[00:09:15] Bob Wheeler: He said no to. Well, there’s something good about hard labor. I worked on a tobacco farm for three years in high school and made a lot of good money and sweated, but it was really good money. What was your first job?

[00:09:25] Christopher Melcher: There was a summer program in late high school with the LA Department of Water and Power. They were looking for people. So I went in, I did that job and it was hard labor, but also getting to drive heavy equipment. And they paid a lot of money.

[00:09:40] So it was an incredible gig. And I got hooked on that and I thought, wow, you know, I can go in, and one of the supervisors there was telling me about the pension plan and I’m like, wow. You know, I’m a 17 year old kid. I could get right, I get out of high school. I’d get picked up by DWP and have this pension.

[00:09:58] And I almost did it. But again, my dad said, yeah, you know, that is good, but you’ve got to kind of follow through with the plan. Go to college, go to law school, and go that route. But it was definitely tempting.

[00:10:10] Bob Wheeler: Wow. Do you remember going through college, compared to the other students, were you in a better situation where, you know, some people were having to work through school, people had to work jobs? How did you fit into that mix?

[00:10:23] Christopher Melcher: So I was a mess and had lots of problems and dropped out my first semester of college, because again, I had all these dreams and I had a lot of confidence in myself. But I didn’t want to do the work.

[00:10:35] So it was a really rough start and I almost didn’t go back to college. And there was a crossroad where my dad basically sat me down and he’s just like, look, you’re either going to go back to college or you’re going to get a job full-time or you’re out of the house.

[00:10:51] So I kind of thought, wow, what would I do if I moved out, and I had these visions of how that would turn out, and it was a crossroads. And when that all clicked, then I just went full bore and got out of college and right through law school very quickly.

[00:11:07] But I had a friend who did drop out, and now he’s the most successful person of all the friends because he worked and he was able to enter the workforce before I was. I mean, I took myself out of the workforce for seven years to go to college and law school.

[00:11:24] So by the time I was getting out, he was already, he had owned his first house and maybe onto a second one. So the education route was good for me, but I also saw other people do it the other way and actually do better.

[00:11:39] Bob Wheeler: Yeah, absolutely. Do you talk with your son about money?

[00:11:42] Christopher Melcher: I do. He’s interested only because he wants to, me to buy him certain things that he wants. And I was flipping houses for a while, so I would always take him to Home Depot with me and take him to the house. And I would say, look, I just bought this thing and this is what we’re going to do to it, and now we’re renting it. And I was hoping some of that would sit in.

[00:12:03] I do have a savings account for him that I contribute to every month, and it’s growing pretty good. And one thing I noticed is he’s playing this game called Roblox, which is, you know, it’s an online game and they charge quite a bit of money for credits.

[00:12:16] And I noticed that company is going public. So I said, hey, you know, Michael, we can use your money and buy this company, you know, stock and now reap these rewards here from what everyone’s spending money on credits.

[00:12:29] So that was my way of doing what my grandmother did to me. So we bought the stock and it actually turned in pretty good.

[00:12:36] Bob Wheeler: Nice.

[00:12:37] Christopher Melcher: We made a lot more money on that than he’s spent on the credits.

[00:12:42] Bob Wheeler: That’s great. That’s awesome. I read that you had a shift to kindness and calm after your wife had a serious health issue. Can you talk a little bit about that? Because I think, especially sometimes as lawyers or accountants or people that are driven, we’re focused on the target. And then sometimes something happens and we have to take pause. I don’t know the story, but it feels important.

[00:13:05] Christopher Melcher: I had never experienced really, in my family, any kind of tragedy or anything other than, you know, grandparents died, but they were elderly.

[00:13:13] And so nothing sudden, but my wife did have a stroke when we were on vacation in Australia and she almost died. And never really recovered completely. But what I learned from that incident, it was very difficult being in another country with a little kid and suddenly my wife’s in intensive care. That was the power of kindness of other people, because I didn’t know anybody and I needed help.

[00:13:36] And it was very, very difficult. And I was used to being in control or what I should say is, I thought I was in control.

[00:13:44] Bob Wheeler: Right.

[00:13:45] Christopher Melcher: And when that happened, there was absolutely a free fall and there was no control at all. And eventually I let go and figured, I can’t stop this from happening. And when I did that, I had this sense of calm come over me where I realized, like, I don’t have to control things, and I’m actually not in control of things.

[00:14:04] And here there’s people coming out really like angels helping me. And that changed my complete outlook on life. Before I was much more critical, I was very quick to blame. Anything would happen, I would always be, that person’s an idiot or they’re, whatever’s wrong with them.

[00:14:24] And now I say, wow, that person must be having a really bad day. How can I help them, rather than being critical? So it was a horrible thing that’s happened to us as a family, but it really shifted my mindset into a much more positive framework.

[00:14:43] Bob Wheeler: Yeah, that’s awesome. I appreciate you sharing that. I mean, I think we forget sometimes that we’re not all working from the same experience, the same life experience. And somebody that might be angry or not capable of doing something, might have a backstory that completely explains it.

[00:15:01] But from that snapshot judgment that we make, that we all make, we’re seeing a different, we’re not seeing it through the same lens.

[00:15:09] Christopher Melcher: Yeah, that’s it. We all have our crosses and it’s having empathy and understanding for other people goes a long way.

[00:15:16] Bob Wheeler: And I would imagine in divorce cases, part of dealing with that is being able to have empathy, having some compassion. Not that you have to get caught up in their story and take it on, but it is about relationships. Is that a fair statement?

[00:15:31] Christopher Melcher: Sure. It’s the most personal type of litigation, even when I did criminal, it wasn’t as intense as divorce, because criminal it’s, especially if they’re a professional criminal, it’s like, hey, you know, I did a hundred burglaries. I got caught on this one. I got to pay a little bit. Okay, fine. It’s very transactional. I actually understand it pretty well.

[00:15:48] But in a divorce, it’s your life, your money, your home, your kids, your income, your future, your pension, everything is on the line. And it’s scary. And the person that you live with, your partner, knows all your deepest, darkest secrets, and now it’s maybe coming out or threatened to come out against you.

[00:16:05] So it takes a lot of time to build that relationship and trust and rapport, because we know as a divorce lawyer mostly how this stuff’s going to turn out, but we do have to listen. We have to meet people where they are, and that’s where most of the lawyers go wrong.

[00:16:20] And I think with a lot of professionals is that we assume, like, hey, we know what we’re doing, we’re just going to tell you how to do things, and know it’s, I’m here to serve. And so before I can do that, I need to meet people where they’re at, at their level of understanding, and develop trust. Before I start getting my tools out and try and fix things.

[00:16:40] Bob Wheeler: Yeah. You know, it’s interesting. I had an opportunity, this guy wanted to bring me under his wing and hand me his forensic accounting practice. I would net a half a million dollars a year. I would only have to work 80 to 90 hours a week, but I’d have a great view in Westwood, which didn’t sound that enticing.

[00:16:57] But one of the things that I found was, I did work with lawyers, because I actually was going to go to law school and then I met a few lawyers that I didn’t like, so I didn’t go. But I worked with these lawyers and I would help them with the questions to ask, like, where’s their payroll? Oh, we paid them with a car. Like I would try to find these things so that they could use the deposition to take it out into open court, where it could then be used against them. Right?

[00:17:18] So we would try to leverage, but it was a little depressing for me. Because I would see fathers that had five children trying to hide, you know, a half a million dollars so he wouldn’t have to just give a sliver of support to this poor woman who is the mother of his five children.

[00:17:33] And I saw it a lot, and it was hard for me because, and I’m not saying that everybody does this because it’s a service that’s needed, but for me, I thought, oh my God, I’m going to win. The lawyers are gonna win. And these families, they just don’t win.

[00:17:46] Christopher Melcher: No, nobody wins. And it’s something I had to, to get through as a lawyer, that we are here to help people with their problems, but they’re not our problems.

[00:17:57] Bob Wheeler: Right.

[00:17:58] Christopher Melcher: And if we start taking that on, and many divorce lawyers do, and that’s why they’re so imbalanced and horrible at their job, we are not serving anyone.

[00:18:07] And because we have to take care of ourselves first, and then there’s some degree of separation. It’s just like a first responder. I mean, if you have police officer, a paramedic coming on the scene of some terrible accident or incident, you can’t just start crying and, oh my God, I can’t believe this, you know? Blood!

[00:18:21] Bob Wheeler: Right.

[00:18:21] Christopher Melcher: It’s like, you have to maintain your professional distance. So for me, what I’ve realized is that we’re cleaning up messes and it’s not our mess. And I’m paid very well to clean that mess up. And so I’m not going to personalize it.

[00:18:36] The moment that we start investing ourselves into the emotions of that problem, we’ve lost objectivity and we can’t help anymore. But yeah, we see people at their worst, for sure.

[00:18:48] Bob Wheeler: Yeah, absolutely. I’m going to ask this question and I’m going to reframe it in a separate way, but, because I think this might be something that comes up. Should women pick a female attorney to defend them in a divorce? Or the other way to ask that is, is it possible that some male attorneys might have a blind spot on the female perspective and unconsciously help out their ex?

[00:19:11] Christopher Melcher: Uh, you know, it’s so hard with the stereotype. And I do see that from perspective clients. Oh, I want a man, or I want a woman as my attorney. To me, it adds nothing. The gender adds nothing. It’s the personality. And my personality may skew more female, I don’t know. You know, cause I’m more listening. I do, can get very aggressive, or competitive, probably a better word.

[00:19:35] But to me, it’s the personality. It’s not the gender that counts. I think that there are some females who are not good listeners. There’s some that don’t have empathy. There’s some that are awful people.

[00:19:48] And so I think for me, it’s, I look at like, picking a lawyer like you’d pick a dog. And so you want somebody who’s going to match your energy and that you want to be around, because you’re going to be spending a lot of time with this person. So that to me is more important than the gender.

[00:20:05] Bob Wheeler: Yeah, absolutely. What would be your biggest advice to somebody that’s getting ready to get married? They’re going to marry for love, but there’s a lot of money involved. There’s celebrity status. There’s a lot at stake financially. What would you say to that person?

[00:20:21] Christopher Melcher: It’s talking about the financial expectations. Because it’s the thing that couples usually don’t talk about. They’ll talk about where they want to live and how many kids they want and that kind of stuff. But they’re not going to talk about their financial expectations.

[00:20:36] Now, if they’re very young, there’s not a whole lot there to talk about, but other than them trying to figure out like, hey, are you a spender? Are you a saver? Cause that could get people into trouble later on in the relationship if they’re not understanding who they’re getting partnered up with.

[00:20:51] But when there is wealth, it is very important to align what their expectations are for the relationship, and with what’s really going to happen. Because to me, I’m seeing marriage as a partnership where we want to treat people as equal.

[00:21:06] That doesn’t mean that everything that we have is equally shared, but if we have circumstances where maybe it’s in a prenup or it’s just inherited wealth, which is already going to be separate by law, and one person has everything and the other person has nothing, it really creates resentment, inequality, fear, and insecurity in the relationship. And that is not healthy.

[00:21:30] So, what I do is, I ask people, what are you trying to accomplish here? And if it’s to have a lifelong relationship, well, we need to make sure that their expectations are aligned with that, that any premarital agreement that they are doing is aligned with that, so they’re not unintentionally ruining the relationship before it starts.

[00:21:51] Bob Wheeler: Thank you for sharing that, that’s so important. It reminds me of when I have clients come in, couples, and before we even get started in the meeting, they’ll both say, all right, we have dinner riding on this. Who’s wrong?

[00:22:02] And I’ll say to them, well, let me ask you something before I answer the question. Are you guys on the same team, or are you trying to beat each other? And, you know, they’re like what? Because it is a partnership. And maybe with my other family members, I want to beat them. But with my life partner, my spouse, we’re on the same team.

[00:22:22] And I so often, in workshops and things that I do around money and emotions, I find that people forget that they’re in partnership together, and that they’re moving forward together instead of actually trying to get a few extra points on the other one.

[00:22:37] Christopher Melcher: Yeah, it is hard when somebody comes from wealth or has wealth, that there’s going to be natural differences there between the couple and feelings of inadequacy. And particularly when the woman has the wealth. So some of the, well actually I think, it’s probably the most wealthy client that I’ve ever had was a woman.

[00:22:55] And it’s very difficult for those relationships to last, because the man feels inadequate. I mean, hey, sign me up. I wish I had no…

[00:23:06] Bob Wheeler: I’ll feel inadequate.

[00:23:07] Christopher Melcher: Yeah. I have no problem with feeling that way. But yeah, it’s hard for some people. And that’s where I think just having the conversation about that before they get too intense in the relationship.

[00:23:19] But people don’t want to talk about that. Especially if their new partner is somebody with wealth, that’s like, taboo. And they would think like, oh my God, I can’t believe you’re talking about my money. And that could be the end of it. So it’s very, very weird. This whole topic of money.

[00:23:34] Bob Wheeler: It is. Well, we are at the Fast Five. So I’m going to throw out some questions to you, just top of the mind. And we’ll just go from there! Chris, what’s your financial superpower?

[00:23:44] Christopher Melcher: I think it’s using credit successfully. That’s been my thing, is having great credit and leveraging that, borrowing every dollar that I could and using it to buy stuff.

[00:23:55] Bob Wheeler: Love it. When was the last time you felt guilty about spending money and what did you spend it on?

[00:24:00] Christopher Melcher: So I bought a mountain bike, like $10,000 mountain bike, an electronic mountain e-bike. And I know my wife’s constantly, it, and that’s the only thing guilty about it is that she knows how much it costs, because now she wants something of equal value.

[00:24:14] But I, man, I got so much use and enjoyment out of that thing.

[00:24:20] Bob Wheeler: That’s great. What’s a scarier topic, divorce or money?

[00:24:23] Christopher Melcher: Divorce.

[00:24:24] Bob Wheeler: Yeah.

[00:24:25] Christopher Melcher: Divorce is a huge vulnerability.

[00:24:27] Bob Wheeler: It is. It is. What would you not hesitate to spend a thousand dollars on?

[00:24:31] Christopher Melcher: Giving it to somebody who needs it.

[00:24:33] Bob Wheeler: Yeah. What is the best purchase you’ve ever made?

[00:24:37] Christopher Melcher: We bought our office building, my partner and I, and that has basically been free money, and it’s doubled, tripled in value. That was, without question, the best thing we ever bought.

[00:24:48] Bob Wheeler: That’s awesome. Well, we are at our Sweet Spot, our M & M Moment, Money and Motivation. Is there a practical financial tip or a piece of wealth wisdom you could share with our listeners that you found to be effective? Besides leveraging credit, which is a great skill.

[00:25:03] Christopher Melcher: It’s don’t wait. And that’s where I’m seeing a lot of people talk themselves out of, well, one day I will do. When I get enough money, when I can afford this house that I want. It is jumping in early, rather than waiting for the perfect house or the perfect investment to come through, because it’s the value of time or the impact of time on investment.

[00:25:27] If I could go back in time, it would be so much more powerful just because of decisions that I could have made earlier. So I think it’s don’t wait, start now.

[00:25:36] Bob Wheeler: I couldn’t agree more. I was just thinking as you were sharing that, just recently bought a house and I was really on the fence about it. I, oh, I’ve got this other, it’s, everything’s fine, but I’m not quite happy.

[00:25:48] And my business partner just like, pushed me and she’s like, you’re going for it. We’re doing it. And just make the offer. And I tend to go really slow and miss opportunity, and her pushing me through it. I have to say, even though it was completely uncomfortable and beyond my comfort level, it turned out to be a really great financial deal. And I wouldn’t have done it if I had been left to my own devices.

[00:26:12] Christopher Melcher: Yeah, it’s nice to surround yourself with somebody like that. Who is going to push you outside your comfort zone.

[00:26:18] Bob Wheeler: Yeah, absolutely. Hold us accountable. Well, Christopher, this has been such a great conversation that could probably go on for days, because there’s so much to unpack with divorce, with money, and all the worthiness, and all the things that get tied into that.

[00:26:35] One of the things that I really found, which I’m sure serves you really well, is this calm and quiet ability to listen. Like I really get the sense you’re not out there going, this is what you got to do, and this is why you’re wrong. And it’s really that piece about listening that you talked about. It feels so important, whether it’s divorce, whether it’s marriage, whether it’s whatever.

[00:26:57] Listening, I think is a lost art sometimes, because so many people are busy trying to like, listen to me, listen to me. And we lose the essence of what’s really going on. So I really appreciate that. And even though you didn’t name it explicitly, there’s a curiosity there.

[00:27:12] You’re asking questions. You’re meeting people where they’re at instead of, here’s what you gotta do. And here’s what I’ve assessed. You’re actually checking things out in a quiet way maybe, but nonetheless, this curiosity of, what needs to happen here? Would that be fair?

[00:27:29] Christopher Melcher: Yeah. So that’s another lesson that I had learned, is this like, I don’t have all these answers and it’s very easy, especially if you’re a professional or so-called professional, just to say like, oh, I know everything. But early on in my practice, I had a client who was homeless and he had been injured, and I was representing him in this injury accident.

[00:27:49] And I was taking him to the doctor, the expert, you know, get ready for trial. And we were stuck in traffic and I was so mad. And I was like, ah, I’m going to miss this appointment. And he said, Chris calm down. But this is a guy with schizophrenia, who’s, you know, who’s homeless.

[00:28:06] Schizophrenic telling me to calm down, and that’s what shifted it. And to me, it’s like, we can learn from everyone. And we don’t have the answers. So I’m listening, not just to, not as a courtesy, because I genuinely want to know what people have to share, because I want to learn from them.

[00:28:23] Bob Wheeler: Yeah. I really appreciate that. Where can people find you online and social media?

[00:28:28] Christopher Melcher: If you just Google ‘Christopher Melcher,’ M E L C H E R, you’ll find a ton of stuff. I’m super active on Twitter, which is @CA_Divorce. Mostly on Free Britney stuff at the moment, but having fun with that, and it’s a great cause. So if you’re interested in that, checkout Twitter.

[00:28:46] Bob Wheeler: And where can people find your books? You’ve written some books, a book, many books?

[00:28:50] Christopher Melcher: Yeah. Those are for lawyers as practice guides, but certainly if you wanted to know all, everything about a premarital agreement and how to do it in California, like to the level of writing it, you just go on Amazon and look up my name on there for premarital agreements, and you’ll find this book, by Lexus Nexus is the publisher.

[00:29:07] Bob Wheeler: Perfect. Well, you know, there’s some people out there, they’re getting married and they’re thinking about premarital agreements, and maybe a little bit of premarital sex, but get the book and figure that out. We’ll just send everybody, and we’ll put that in our descriptions.

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[00:29:43] Chris, it’s just been such a pleasure. I so appreciate your time.

[00:29:55] Christopher Melcher: Thanks, Bob.