For Better, Worse, Or Divorce Podcast

In the first episode of our Special Needs Children in Family Law podcast series, Jake Gilbreath is joined by Keith Maples to discuss their experience handling child custody cases involving children with special needs and break down how the Texas Family Code and Texas State Courts address conservatorship, possession & access, and child support in these type of cases.

Keith Maples is a talented litigator, mediator, frequent author, and speaker on effectively representing parents of special needs children in Texas.

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Podcast Transcript

Your hosts have earned a reputation as fierce and effective advocates inside and outside of the courtroom. Both partners are experienced trial attorneys who have been board certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Jake Gilbreath: All right, this is Jake Gilbreath with Walters Gilbreath, PLLC. Thank you for joining us again. And today we’re joined by Keith Maples, the managing partner at Noelke Maples St. Leger Blair. I got that wrong. It’s St. Leger Bryant. That shows how long we’ve been working together, Keith. Tell us who you are, who you’re with. I still use Audrey for briefing, but she’s on her own now. It’s Judith Bryant over there with you all, right?

Keith Maples: Yeah, that’s right.

Jake Gilbreath: All right, well let’s start off just like we do in court. Who are you and what do you do, Keith?

Keith Maples: All right. Well, Keith Maples, and I’m a partner here at Noelke Maples St. Leger Bryant, and I practice exclusively in the area of family law, or divorce law, is probably more accurate, and have a subspecialty in helping families that have children with special need, and the issues that come up in family law litigation for those families.

Jake Gilbreath: And let’s talk about that, because we’re doing a series on divorce and family law matters with children with special needs. Before we do, I kind of want to talk about how you got into that. So, I mean for our listeners, I’ve known Keith since I first started practicing law. He is well regarded as one of the best mediators and one of the best litigators in central Texas, which is a difficult balance to be able to do both. Usually you have really good litigators, or really good mediators. I’ve tried mediating myself and I think I’m not good at it. And I don’t know what that says about me that, but serving as the mediator never really was my skill sets. But you seem to be really good at both. So, before you get into your subspecialty, how’d you develop your practice? We’ll talk about the subspecialty in a second, but how’d you develop to where you’re both a litigator and a mediator, and how do you divide your time up?

Keith Maples: Well one of the things that I really enjoy is doing different things, and new things. And I think that you’re right, most folks decide a lane, or it’s decided for them, and they just operate in a fairly narrow lane. When my firm merged with Lee Noelke’s firm 15 years ago, at least, one of the things that Lee recognized was, “Keith, you do a lot of things. You do collaborative law, you do litigation, you do mediation.” And his advice was, “Pick a lane, because I don’t think folks can succeed.”

And not that long ago Lee and I had a conversation where he, which is hard for all of us to do, said, “I was wrong. You’ve done a really good job of doing a lot of different things and being good at them.” But the thing I like about it is the change of pace, to be able to go from working my cases to putting that on hold and just concentrating and focusing on mediating for other lawyers for a day, and then it’s over. And that’s a nice break from the files that last for six months to four years in our offices.

Jake Gilbreath: Right. Well, as somebody who uses you for mediation, it’s helpful I think to have a mediator that can sit there and say, not only have I heard about what’s going on at the courthouse, I’ve been there and I’ve seen this happen, or that happen, or this trend, or what have you. And then I’m sure as a litigator it helps as well being able to bring in that aspect of it. Okay. So it’s enough talking about how amazing that area of your practice is, but it really is, I mean like said, since practicing law, even involved in practicing law, that’s always been your reputation as top of your field for both. But let’s start with the subspecialty, because I know you’re known for that, and do a lot of work, both with CLEs speaking and of course representing families. So first of all, how did you get involved with the subspecialty representing families that have, going through divorce or family law matter, and they have a child, or multiple children, in some instances, with special needs?

Keith Maples: Well, I have a son who turned 25 this year who is fairly profoundly affected by autism. And so, I don’t try to hide that from anyone. We live in a fairly small community when it comes to people that do this type of work. And so, folks that know me know that about me. So I found that I was getting a lot of cases referred to me. I was being hired to mediate a lot of cases with those issues, and I was being treated as if I was some sort of expert on that subject. And the root truth was I wasn’t, I knew one family, and one kiddo, and our experience in going through that process of getting divorced under those circumstances, and living our lives. And so I decided that if people were going to treat me as if I knew what I was doing, I ought to try to educate myself.

And frankly, I went out looking, and I didn’t find a lot. There wasn’t a lot of material out there, CLE stuff that, articles were being written and speeches were being given on this subject. And so I started doing it, and I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of other professionals that work in this area, and build a network of those people, and had the opportunity to speak a lot with the state bar of Texas, and some opportunities to also talk on the subject at a national level as well. And try to become an expert, and also to teach other lawyers some of the pitfalls that are not necessarily immediately obvious when you’re handling these kind of cases.

Jake Gilbreath: Right. Well let’s talk about the interplay. I mean obviously having a special needs child and I talk about all the podcast, and I think I’m pretty open with our clients. I mean, my oldest son is on the autism spectrum as well. He’s moderate on it, and it’s something that we’ve had to deal with as well, me and his mom, and of course, and his stepmom, and my family and everything. It’s just the treatment alone, right? It’s just the amount, the lack of information I guess, or lack of clarity. And maybe that’s not the right way to put it. The difficulty in finding the information out there for a child with special needs is it’s a lot of work.

And then compound that with going through a divorce, or going through a child custody case. So let’s talk about, anytime I do a consult and I know you’re the same, or when you mediate, let’s talk about the child custody order largely boils down to three points, conservatorship, possession access, and support. So, let’s sort of take them one by one, conservatorship. When folks are going through a divorce or going through a child custody case, conservatorship, how does that, they interplay of family of a child with special needs? What types of things and pitfalls do you see as a practitioner that families need to be aware of?

Keith Maples: Well, in conservatorship, or decision making regarding kids, for a lot of families there aren’t a lot of huge decisions to be made. Where are we going to live? And that tends to dictate where our kids are going to go to school. They’re going to go to school at either the house that serves mom’s address or dad’s address. And so, education decisions aren’t a big deal, but they can be a huge issue with families with children with special needs, where someone’s trying to get the resources of the school for their child. And oftentimes, these families have disagreements. A common situation that I find is you’ll have a proactive parent, someone who wants to go out and find a lot of resources, and then another parent who perhaps is not sure that that’s the right path. And they fall in lots of different categories. But that’s a big deal.

And if an agreement is required, which is the common way for people to make decisions, is by agreement. Then if one parent is asking the school to provide resources that are expensive, and the other parent’s agreement is required, then perhaps if that parent doesn’t agree, the school doesn’t have to devote those resources. So there’s a potential for a wedge by the school district. For example, children on the autism spectrum that can perform academically, but behaviorally they have issues, might require a full time attendant to be in mainstream classes. And so, the school’s probably obligated to do that, but they don’t have the budget for that. I mean that’s, they’ve got to pay someone a full time salary to attend to one child. And they’re not going to want to do that. So that’s a place. And medical interventions, and things like that, that again, for typical kids don’t come up, may come up very often.

Jake Gilbreath: Well it’s heartbreaking to see, I’m sure I saw with the mediator, and a litigator, when parents can’t get on the same page. But it happens, when parents can’t get on the same page about, there could be something more detailed, like what services do we do? How much therapy do we do? Who do we do therapy with? First sort of orchestrate, I’ve seen parents, I know you have, disagree about even the diagnosis, right? That one parent gets a diagnosis, and the other parent… At a certain point, sometimes understandably, it’s a difficult thing whenever you get that diagnosis at first, going, “That’s true, this doctor has it wrong, not my child.” But I see parents litigate as basic as over whether or not this child actually has a diagnosis. One of the first cases I did, it was with Jim Piper, actually John Barrett was on the other side, back when they used to really show up on the other side, which is always an experience, but the parents will fight over a child’s diagnosis.

A poor kid who was one to 12 years old and bipolar one, and had been institutionalized a few times, had a trained psychiatrist, who had done a great job getting him stabilized, but just had that situation and mom lived in Austin, dad in Houston, and dad saw the kid once a month, and just came in, it’s like, “I don’t think he’s bipolar, I don’t agree with this diagnosis.” Which actually led to, just to tell a side war story, one of Jim’s better, surprisingly good deposition questions is, you don’t expect such a good answer for, but Jim asked in deposition, “Do you disagree with the psychiatrist diagnosis of your son?” And the dad said, “Yes, I disagree.” And Jim, as a good trial lawyer asked that follow up question which was, “What is your child’s diagnosis?” “I don’t know.” “Okay, so let we get this right.” You can imagine how much Jim enjoyed that answer. “Let me get that right, get this right. You disagree as your child’s diagnosis, even though you don’t know what it is.” “That’s right.” But that led to a, I mean the consequences, I guess, that sort of leads me to talking about the consequences of parents disagreeing. I mean, because it’s like you said, a lot of times when we set parents up as joint managing conservators, which doesn’t necessarily mean we make decisions jointly, but a lot of times court orders say that, and that results in one parent maybe having the veto power. We’ll talk about modifications and how to fix that down the road, but one parent has the veto power. So, both for divorce, let’s say they’re term joint managing conservers, they had to make true psychological, or psychiatric, or educational decisions, and then the child gets diagnosed, and one parent goes, “Nope, don’t think so. And I’m not going to agree to any treatment,” and that could have horrible consequences on a child. And I’m sure you see that, both in mediation and litigating your cases.

Keith Maples: I do. And you have the two ends of the spectrum. Okay? You have that problem when decision making is done by agreement, requires agreement. And that’s the way I explain it to people coming into my office. It sounds really good, but it really is veto power, and that’s the way I approach it with my clients, so that they understand that. And like I said, in typical cases it may not be that huge an issue, there may not be that many decisions. But the other end of the spectrum of giving exclusive decision making to one parent disenfranchises the other. And that’s a really harsh reality. And in a lot of families, I’m just going to stereotype a little bit where you have one parent that does most of the parenting obligations, and the other one is making sure that there’s enough income coming in to support the family. The view that those two people have of the same situation can be very different.

One is deferential to the other because they’re more actively involved, but they do feel like they are involved. And post-divorce, they still want to be involved and so they don’t want to have no role. I’m a big proponent with families like the ones we’re talking about here of arbitration clauses. Especially if you make the process one that is not going to be incredibly burdensome.

Jake Gilbreath: So talk to us, what does that look like? That arbitration clause when it comes to conservatorship?

Keith Maples: Well, what I like to do is have the arbitration. If the parents are, need to agree and can’t agree, then they can have an arbitrator come in and make decision for them. And in those situations, it’s not like litigating where we’re modifying the whole order, we have a decision, we can’t agree. And so you come in, you meet with that arbitrator, probably informally in a conference room, or on a Zoom, or some sort of video conference, and maybe you spend a couple of hours on that, present your case, and then the arbitrator decides. And so instead of having months long, protracted, expensive lawyer intensive litigation, you go approach it that way.

I’ve done those things where I don’t ever even interact with the lawyers. I have the parents come in, we talk about it, they pitch their case and I make a decision. And they stay involved. Whereas at court, if parents have to agree and they can’t agree, the change that the court I believe has to make is give that power to one parent or the other.

Jake Gilbreath: That’s right.

Keith Maples: And so, being wrong about one decision in that judge’s mind, might mean you get, but you lose the vote on all the future decisions. Which seems a, in my opinion, fairly crummy way of solving the problem.

Jake Gilbreath: But in a perfect world, right? We have a whole podcast where we talk about special judging, and arbitration, and the benefits of it. And that’s a perfect example. I think that case I was talking about a few minutes ago, that was a modification. Right? They spent four days in trial in front of poor Mark Silverstone when he was on the bench before he passed. Listening to a psychiatrist come in and testify, and all these providers and stuff, and horribly expensive for the family, and frankly they could have short seated if they just got arbitration on that. Talk about tiebreakers too, because I tend to avoid sometimes think I get what we do it sometimes in mediation, but it seems like sort of, lawyers sometimes at the end kind of throw their hands up and just go, “Well the parents can’t agree on psychological or psychiatric, then they’ll just… The kids pediatrician will decide,” or something like that. What are your thoughts on having built in tiebreakers like that in a divorce, or current custody order?

Keith Maples: I don’t think they practically work. I don’t think any medical doctor is going to make a decision for any family. I don’t think their insurance, the malpractice insurance company wants them doing that. And frankly I just don’t think they will do it if asked. They may make a recommendation, and that may be a more practical way of approaching it. But even with that, my experience is doctors say, “Here are your options and here are the pros and cons of them.” And then they ask the patient or the family of the patient to make those choices. You can make arrangements where we’re going to put the child in therapy and we’re going to continue that therapy unless we agree otherwise as long as the therapist is recommending it. If you pick the wrong therapist and you give them control of when it ends, then you may have created a retirement plan for this.

Jake Gilbreath: Right.

Keith Maples: And I mean some people may need therapy forever, and some people may very well not. I mean there are certainly some mental health conditions that require medication, and treatment, and cost at work, and you’re going to be in therapy forever. Other people, it’s situational and-

Jake Gilbreath: And that’s one thing. And sometimes it’s not a clear recommendation, like you said. I mean one thing I was, I don’t know if surprised is the right word, but discovered shortly after my child had his diagnosis was it’s going to be, they’ll say, “Well think about this, or maybe try that.” But there’s no bright line from any of the medical professionals saying, “You shall do this, this is what you have to do for this child.” I mean obviously some, there’s examples where that is the case, but there’s a lot of things in raising a child where you just think about this treatment over here, or see how your child reacts to speech therapy, or OT, or maybe it’s time to try ABA, maybe you should do this school, or that school, and it’s just not, and then we’re back to where the parents have to decide. So I think the arbitration is a really good point to try to keep families out of the courthouse.

Keith Maples: And most therapeutic interventions, some of them are transformative. I mean some kids engage in those therapies, and then you flash forward a few years, other folks wouldn’t even know your child is on the spectrum. Other families can devote a huge amount of attention to that, and maybe it improves things, but it doesn’t put the child on a path to ultimate independence.

Jake Gilbreath: Yeah. Well talk to me about, so we talked about conservatorship, obviously we can spend hours talking about that, but talk to me about possession and access. Do you see, as a mediator, and as a litigator, it’s so easy to just say for families, standard possession order, standard possession order, or 50/50, 50/50, whatever people would be talking about when they don’t have a child with special needs. How can the interaction, the special needs, and that with the possession schedule, how do you see that play out in your practice?

Keith Maples: Well it comes out a lot of different ways. One of the things that you want to look at is, and especially with some kids, some kids have such medically sensitive situations that the first thing you want to explore is does the non-primary parent have the skills to care for their child? Another thing is, do they have the resources to care for the child? And with a lot of families, is say you have a wheelchair bound child, and then is there special equipment? The vehicle, the state will often provide for some families a wheelchair van, but they don’t do two. And so, sometimes you need to make sure that the equipment is going back and forth. Some kids are, special diets require things, and so you want to make sure that the parent are capable of doing it. So that’s one thing that comes up sometimes.

Another issue that I think is worth looking into when you have multiple siblings, and you have a child with special needs, we as family law lawyers always assume the kids are going to be together. It’s an incredibly rare situation where kids are on different schedules. Sometimes when their ages are very different we’ve done that, it makes sense. But, also you might want to look at a plan where the child with special needs doesn’t have the same schedule. Divorce is a sad circumstance, but sometimes it provides opportunities. In my personal experience, having our son in one home at a time gives each parent a break. We provide built in respite care for one another. And when he was younger and more challenging to parent, that was really important. So that’s a consideration.

And one of the things that, especially at the initial outset, we don’t know what schedule’s going to work. And a lot of people are afraid of those schedules. And so, one of the things, if you can do it, that’s nice is, to experiment. Let’s try a schedule, see how it works. Now when you’re litigating everything, it’s sometimes really challenging to change a schedule on a temporary basis. If you keep having to go back and ask the judge to do it, parents are open to it. That’s an opportunity to come up with something that will work.

Jake Gilbreath: If you have an arbitrator that is with a family that can kind of help the family get through it. And again, this is, I tell folks whenever they’re going through this, just because we’re building this structure doesn’t mean that we’re going to use it. Right? Some parents, they get on the same page with treatment from the diagnosis all the way. I mean it doesn’t stop when the child turns 18, but we’ll talk about actually that in a second. But it gets them all the way through high school, or whatever, and they don’t need that. But the importance being is, if you get stuck, because it’s hard being a divorced parent as is, it’s more challenging to be a divorced parent with a special needs child.

If you get stuck, that could be, doesn’t necessarily mean that somebody’s a bad parent. Sometimes it does. Sometimes you have folks that just have difficulty seeing what’s best for their child, but sometimes it’s just good faint dispute. One parent thinks this is the best treatment, one parent thinks that is, or this is the best possession schedule or what have you, and they just need a decision. And so that’s helpful.

Keith Maples: Well one of the things, Jake, I think we ought to mention for the lay people that might be watching is we’re talking about these options like arbitration, and we need to let everybody know that that’s only an option if everyone agrees to use it as an option. That is not something that you can go to court and ask a judge to impose. They can make you go to mediation, but the court doesn’t have the power to appoint an arbitrator unless the parents agree that their disputes will be submitted to arbitration.

Jake Gilbreath: And it’s an important decision. So that’s right. Or before signing on the dotted line, saying this will get pulled from the public courthouse, that system, and go to arbitration. That is something to remember for parents. And frankly, anytime you decide an arbitrator, or a special judge, you have to put a lot of thought into it, make sure you talk to your lawyer about it, because that could be your decider from now. If Keith, if you’re the arbitrator for one of my families, as a practitioner, we talked about this in our other podcast, as a practitioner sometimes it’s nerve wracking to do that, because let’s say I tell my client, “Look, let’s have an arbitrator decide this. He knows his stuff, and Keith’s going to decide,” and as a practitioner it can be difficult to recommend that, because let’s say, for whatever reason the client disagrees what the arbitrator does, which isn’t surprising. It’s rare that everybody sees it a 100% one way or the other. Sometimes it happens.

And then they’re looking at their practitioners, “Why’d you recommend Keith? He totally missed the ball on this issue.” But, I think as practitioners, our job is not just to, I mean the easiest thing in the world is to put your head down on the sand and just say, “Let’s just have a judge decide, and It works out well for you, doesn’t, it’s out of my control as a practitioner, you can’t criticize anything that I’ve done.” But I think, particularly at the level that we do it, we owe more to our clients to have these discussions about other options, even if it does not always work out on, but on balance, it’s just the more logical way to proceed with your family.

So let’s talk about support. We’ve talked about conservatorship, talked about position access, talk about support, and we’ve sort of touched on it a little bit in these other areas, but obviously you see special needs, it can be a financial burden for families. So how has that come up in mediation, or litigating your cases, financial considerations families have to talk about? And what can the court system even do for that?

Keith Maples: Right. Well, let me get a couple of super important points on the support issue. And first of all, Texas is among the vast majority of states that provides for support beyond adulthood, or into adulthood. I did a presentation a few years back on this subject and at that point in time, I think 43 states had some form of support for an adult child with disabilities. In some instances, it was child support, sometimes statutory, sometimes courts found it, other times it was a component of the alimony in that state. And so, we have both in Texas, you can get alimony and support for an adult with disabilities, and the parent caring for them can. It’s very important if you have a child that is an adult, or will be needing support as an adult, to put in a provision that provides that support can be paid to what is called a Medicaid or payback special needs trust.

And that way the receipt of child support by that trust won’t count as income for that adult with this disabilities, and so they can still get social security, SSI benefit, and get support for their needs. So that’s a very important component that we need to be wary of, because if you don’t address that, then you get your family can have a lot of problems, and they can usually be fixed, but it’s embarrassing. The other thing that I would say is as soon as you know, my kiddo is probably going to need care for the rest of their life, then in Texas, you need to get your kids signed up for some of the waiver programs that are available to take care of that care, provide for that care, because the waiting lists are about, I think at this point, 15 years.

And so, if your child has a disability, go ahead and sign them up. If your kid grows out of it, so to speak in some way, or can become independent, then you just say, “No thank you, I don’t need it.” But that’s a lot better than having someone who needs it and finding out you’re not going to get it for 15 years. And so, the guidelines are there, they exist for child support, and it’s a fact, take into consideration the income of the obligor, but there are a lot of the factors for varying from the guidelines that I think are very applicable to situations where you’ve got children with special needs. And so, I think I’ve had a lot of success in representing people who are seeking more than guidelines support in accomplishing that.

Jake Gilbreath: The hardest cases are there’s only so many dollars sometimes though, I mean, and you have to make that balancing act of sometimes there’s treatments that would be life changing for your child and it’s just outside of the family’s budget. Those are really, really hard cases to deal with.

Keith Maples: Absolutely. And there are cases where normal folks, upper middle-class income, single wage earner, divorce is coming along and they could do an arrangement where we live in one house, and one of us works, and the other one takes care of the family, and our special needs kid, and everything. But when you all of a sudden need two homes, and add that, and all of the other expenses that come with living in two homes, that breaks the back of most families without special needs children. But, working outside of the home when your kid needs constant care might not be possible. And those are really, really hard cases to resolve.

Jake Gilbreath: Yeah, they are. Well, let’s talk just briefly about modifications, and then we’ll wrap up. So let’s say I have a divorce decree, and let’s say we get divorced, and the child’s younger, it doesn’t have a diagnosis, and maybe we’re true joint, or what have you. One parent runs the show, whatever. And then they get the diagnosis, and the divorce decree doesn’t work anymore, or is not appropriately addressing the needs of the child. So, what do we do in that situation?

Keith Maples: Well, I think certainly a diagnosis that drastically changes what the needs are of the child, what the expenses are going to be for addressing those needs. It wouldn’t be hard to establish that that’s a change in circumstance. And so the court has the ability to modify the order to meet those needs.

Jake Gilbreath: Yeah, I always tell people when I’m representing them, and particularly with the younger kids, right? I say, “We’re trying to build a core where that lasts till your child turns 18, or until they graduate high school, or with regards to support. But things could come up.” I mean, I do tell people, when my son was younger, whenever me and his mom got divorced, and we didn’t have the diagnosis yet, and we got the diagnosis about a year after our divorce, and we were real fortunate that we’ve been able to get on the same page, and address that head on together as co parents, even though we’re divorced. But if for whatever reason we didn’t, and this is what I tell my clients, let’s say we got my son’s diagnosis, and I stood up and said, “Don’t agree, don’t want any treatment.” And his mom said, “No, I think we do need treatment.” You lose any mechanism, right? It’s not like we’re just stuck.

And obviously nobody likes calling lawyers, and going to the courthouse, or arbitration, or what have you, but sometimes it’s necessary, and that there’s a path forward, it’s not like you’re just stuck, and you can’t do anything about it. And the family code provides for that. So I mean these are just very, very moderately touching on these really in-depth subjects. But to wrap up, first of all, I want to hear about the work that you and your wife do outside in the community and then we’ll wrap up with your contact information. So if people, but tell me about you and your lovely wife, stay involved, I think out, helping families outside of just the practice of law. Your wife is a lawyer as well, so, make sure to talk to us about her, but, what do y’all do as far as giving back to the community?

Keith Maples: Well, your wife, my wife are on the board of Imagine a Way, I was on that board for probably about 12 years, and Sarah joined, your wife joined while I was there, and I kind of got to the point where I thought it was time for me to move on, and bring some new energy on to the board. And so, I talked to the board, and I talked to Nikki, my wife, and she’s taken over since then, and devotes a lot of attention to that. And Imagine a Way is a charitable organization that I describe it as it’s sort of like there’s the Medicare donut holes, certain things that Medicare doesn’t cover it. So you can have supplemental insurance for that. Well, if your family is well off, and has lots of resources, then you can pay for whatever your kid needs. And I was lucky enough that that was available for my family, and helping our son. Or, if you’re poor, Medicaid is actually an incredibly good program to take care of a lot of these care needs.

But if you’re normal, and you have normal persons resources, then when your kid is prescribed 40 hours of ABA therapy a week, plus speech, plus OT, plus BT, most insurance doesn’t robustly cover that. And so, Imagine a Way steps in, and we sponsor a family, and we cover it all, whatever insurance doesn’t cover. And so we’ve been doing that here in the Austin area for probably, I guess 15 years now or so, and think that we may have just recently sponsored our 100th child, and that organization covers those therapies for kids for about two, which is about as early as you might get a diagnosis, up to about seven, and helping those kids in that regard.

And one of the things that I think is incredibly cool, and your firm has done a whole lot to help support is, this is sort of one of my pet projects while I was on the board, was expanding Imagine a Way into other communities. And we’re now expanding that program into Houston, and some of our friends are very instrumental to that, and your firm is supporting that since y’all have offices in both cities. And so, that’s one of the things that we do and put a lot of time into. And then I’m really proud of.

Jake Gilbreath: Oh, you and me both, and you actually were the one that invited Sarah to be on the board. So that is such a joy in our household to be able to help out, and, it’s just watching the work that they do. And when I see the life changing, life changing work that they do for families, it really is a blessing. So, to wrap up, Keith, so if somebody wants to reach out to you, or contact you, obviously they can Google you, but also, what’s the best contact information for reaching out to you or any of the skilled lawyers that you have at your firm?

Keith Maples: I think just call the office, (512) 480-9777. Or if they have just some question, or also, I do a lot of consulting. So if somebody has a case in Lubbock, or Odessa, or El Paso, or Houston, or Dallas, or whatever, reach out, tell your lawyer about me. The email address for me is I get contacted all of the time. Sometimes it’s just to answer a simple question. A lot of times a lawyer will reach out to me. A lot of times a client will say, “Hey, I heard about this person, why don’t you consult with them, make sure that we’re not missing something here, or get some guidance.” I’m always happy to do those types of things, and sometimes I get paid to do that. Other times I just take a call, or respond to an email, and I’ll just do that gratis.

Jake Gilbreath: Yeah. Well we appreciate you doing that, and all the work that you’ve done. So, thanks for joining us, and for more information about the topics covered in today’s episode and more, you can visit our website at So we got Keith’s information, which we’ll also post in the description. Thanks for turning into today’s episode, “For Better, Worse, or Divorce,” where we post new episodes every first and third Wednesday. If you have a topic you want us to discuss, or feedback, or any questions for us, just email us at And thanks for listening.

For information about the topics covered in today’s episode and more, you can visit our website at Thanks for tuning in to today’s episode of “For Better, Worse, or Divorce,” where we post new episodes every first and third Wednesday. Do you have a topic you want discussed, or a question for our hosts? Email us at Thanks for listening. Until next time.