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March 2007

February 2007

Rhode Island Child Support Can Create Daycare Headaches

Childcare costs are included on the Rhode Island Child Support Guidelines Worksheet and can be a significant part of your child support obligation.

This substantially affects fathers more than mothers.  This is by no means intended to insult women or mothers, yet practically speaking more mothers are awarded placement of the minor children than fathers whether by the court or by agreement. Therefore, the father is the non-placement parent and is subject to paying child support more often than the mother.  This often includes work-related childcare costs reasonably necessary for one or both parents to work and support the child(ren).

Child care costs can be anything from day camps at the YMCA during the summer (which often are a cost-effective substitute for child care and also beneficial and fun for the child) or a full-time daycare provider in your local community.

Two big pitfalls that you should address if you go before the Rhode Island family court for a divorce or a proceeding to set or modify child support as the non-placement parent are:

1.  Proof of the Child Care Cost. - You should make sure that you have the "actual" figures from the daycare provider themselves as to what the childcare cost is or will be for your child(ren) for an upcoming session.  Additionally, find out what the childcare cost covers (i.e. what days and times are your children cared for).  Confirm the enrollment of each child with the actual provider. This is to ensure that you pay for childcare costs that actually exist or are planned for and are associated with either you or the other parent working.  You want to make sure you are not paying for extra childcare used only by the placement parent that are not related to either parent being able to work.

Projections or general "program costs" should be avoided because they are not necessarily the actual costs.

2.  Offer Direct Payment - Since work-related childcare costs are included on the Rhode Island Child Support Guideline Worksheet they are typically included as part of child support and are directly payable to the placement parent, usually by garnishment of your wages.  I recommend that the non-placement parent offer to pay his or her portion of the child care costs directly to the childcare provider and included in the Court's Order as a direct payment of childcare expenses to the provider rather than deduction by garnishment.   

Why?

First, as long as the non-placement parent makes direct payment to the provider, then he or she is more likely to be paying his or her fair share of the correct cost and knows it is going to the provider. 

Second, the non-placement parent is likely to be made aware of any changes in the childcare program itself or the program cost if payment is made directly.

Third, if you do not pay the provider directly but rather you pay the placement parent as part of the child support then your name (as the non-placement parent) is very likely not on the childcare provider's account.  If this is the case, as it often is, then it is possible for the placement parent to remove the child(ren) from the program without your knowledge and you would continue paying those extra monies as a windfall to the placement parent who may simply choose not to disclose to you that the child(ren) was/were removed from the childcare services.

I have seen this happen on numerous cases during my tenure as a family law attorney here in Rhode Island.  In several cases the non-placement parent paid the placement parent for childcare services for years without knowing that the services weren't being provided anymore. Some placement parents received thousands in childcare services that they merely pocketed.  In the end it would have been more costly in legal fees, costs, and lost time from work for the non-placement parent to recover those monies from the placement parent and therefore the non-placement parent was essentially "taken" for those costs.

In every event, a non-placement parent who is paying childcare costs should always be on the providers account equally with the placement parent.  Also, the childcare provider should be instructed to place both parents equally on the account and to provide notice to each parent directly in the event of any change in cost or program curriculum.  This will save significant hassles for the non-placement parent specifically.

Why are these points so significant? 

Verification and confirmation of actual childcare costs leads to an accurate and fair calculation of what the non-placement parent must pay as his or her fair percentage share of those costs.

It also prevents the placement parent from simply making a representation as to what he or she says the childcare costs are and potentially cause the non-placement parent to pay significantly more in childcare costs. 

If the childcare costs end up being paid directly to the placement parent then this ends up being a financial windfall to the placement parent that he or she is not entitled to at the expense of the non-placement parent.  What does that mean?  Essentially the non-placement parent will be overpaying for the support of the minor child/children.

Offering direct payment to the child care provider leads to the likelihood that the non-placement parent will be paying only his or her fair share of that cost and as a parent paying for the program you should be entitled to receive from the child care provider a complete accounting of the program activities as well as the charges and payment activity on the account should you ever need to verify compliance with the court's order.

Lastly, direct payment to the provider and verification of the program prevent the placement parent from being able to play games with the child care arrangements to create for themselves a financial windfall. 

For instance, if John makes 80% of the total income that he and his wife Janet make combined, then he is likely to be required to pay 80% of any child care costs.    Janet comes into court and says that their daughter Tanya is enrolled full-time at Tiny Timbers Day School at $200 per week.  Let's assume John is ordered to pay $160 per week as his 80% share just based on Janet's representation that this is the truth and John's is told that this will be included in his child support and garnished from his weekly paycheck with his employer.

Let's assume that Tiny Timbers Day School only costs $160 per week for the childcare program.  John is then actually paying 100% of the daycare and Janet isn't paying a dime.   John should only be paying $128 per week as his 80% of the actual child care costs.  Janet doesn't tell John about the cost difference. Janet pockets $139.00 per month from John's overpayment based on 4.33 weeks in each month under RI's Child Support Guidelines.  Assume now that Janet changes her schedule at her job and is able to eliminate two days of the child care at Tiny Timbers for Tanya but doesn't tell John.  The cost for 3 days per week is reduced to $110 per week.  Each and every week John's paycheck continues to be garnished $160 because John is not informed. Janet doesnt' inform John or the court and keeps the extra money coming in.  John should now be paying $88 per week but because he is garnished and is not informed he continues to pay $160 a week.  Janet is now receiving an extra $312 per month as a windfall at John's expense.

The moral of the story.  Get written confirmation from the child care provider of the enrollment and the actual costs for your child or children and endeavor to make direct payment of your share to the child care provider a part of the court's order rather than garnishment.   Absent these two factors you are likely to be overpaying on the child care costs.

For a complete analysis and reliable legal advice regarding all aspects of your child support and child care rights call me.

Note: This is a synopsis of an actual case before the Rhode Island Family Court.  Names, amounts and the care provider have been changed to preserve the privacy of the parties. The non-custodial parent in this particular case was divested of in excess of $5,000 by the the time the lack of childcare was discovered at a hearing before the court.


Divorce - It's Time to Clean House!

I once saw a card at the Hallmark store that I found rather interesting.  On the front it said "Some call it divorce."  Inside it said, " I call it a good house cleaning."  Clearly it was intended to be humorous.  Of course most of the time divorce (in Rhode Island or elsewhere) is far from humorous. 

Thankfully, the card does make a good point.  After all, isn't that essentially what a divorce is?   Getting a divorce isn't really enjoyable . . . unless it's something that you specifically planned to do and that you may be looking forward to  . . . provided that you can see the end result of a clean house on the other end of the spectrum after you've dealt with all the mess and clean-up.

Cleaning a house is like the thought of spring cleaning.  It's a renewal and refreshing of your "space".  That doesn't mean that it doesn't come with unpleasantness.  Your arms may get sore from sweeping and scrubbing the walls . . . and washing the windows so you can see outside better.  You may start coughing, choking or sneezing while the dust kicks up.  Heck, you may even get a few bumps and bruises as tons of things that have piled up over the years come tumbling out of the closet onto your head.

Yes, it is an odd analogy . . . yet perhaps very fitting.  Why do we do a house cleaning?  Maybe because it has to be done perhaps.  Or maybe we do it because we can't stand the disoder and chaos anymore of not knowing where anything is, our level of safety, or simply because we can't put up with  all the crap anymore.

So what get's you through it?  For many of my Rhode Island divorce clients it's seeing the end result . . . the clean house . . . the new revitalization of what WILL be after you sort through all the junk and give your immediate "life space" a new overhaul and perhaps move a few things around to give you a little different perspective.

Is it easy?  Usually not.  Is it achievable?  Absolutely.

As a Rhode Island lawyer focusing my practice in divorce and family law I take that extra time with my clients to help them to that brighter tomorrow.  Clients are often surprised when I take an interest in their lives and show genuine care and concern for them and their problems.  Yet divorce isn't as easy as a good house cleaning and while I enjoy the analogy I am well aware that clients are not simply houses or rooms that can be swept clean without emotion, heartache and lots of change.

If you just want a good legal mind that tells you the dos and don'ts of the divorce process and the pros and cons of your choices, I'm not the lawyer for you.  If you want a lawyer who will guide you through the  legal process and a friend to help you weather the non-legal stresses that come your way.  

You'll find me just a few quick button pushes away . . .


Rhode Island Lawyers . Divorce or otherwise . . do they deserve the black eye? Part II

ARTICLE PART II

Do lawyers deserve the proverbial "black eye" that we seem to have in the public eye?

I took an extra day to ponder the question because there is a bit more to it than simply accepting a perception that has carried on for as long as I can remember.

Persons reading this blog should keep in mind that I respect all opinions and while I may express my opinion in this particular blog article, we are as people ever changing and developing by our daily experiences and as a result our opinions and the underlying thoughts that form my beliefs today as a Rhode Island Lawyer may not be true at this time next year or even next month.  That is, after all, one of the fascinating things about those who continue to grow and change.  In each and every moment we are always evolving and never truly the same exact person from moment to moment.  A bit deep I know, but interesting nonetheless.

So, what then is my thought process here as both an individual and a Rhode Island attorney?

As an individual I had the opportunity to be a layperson and try to represent myself in family court matters without any knowledge in family law.  As an individual this also gave me the opportunity to watch and observe individuals, attorneys and judges in the family court system while I was waiting for my various hearing dates.

As a litigation paralegal (before I became an attorney) I had the opportunity to attend court, meet with judges, meet with clients, interview witnesses, attend hearings, participate in depositions, meet with court clerks  and testify in cases in New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.  This experience was gained over about a decade and a half.

It is an interesting perspective to literally have the experience to have been on all sides of the coin where lawyers and the court system are concerned.

Yet what did I glean from this?  From where I began as a novice to now being a practitioner of the law, what are my ideas, thoughts and opinions?  Even if I were to express my opinions on Rhode Island Divorce Lawyers or Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorneys or Rhode Island Superior Court Trial Attorneys, would my ideas and opinions be tainted?

I can but say that my opinions are the sum total of my experience and since opinions are themselves subjective statements of what I believe that they are to some degree tainted.  Unfortunately, opinions are by their very nature tainted.

I think many of us recall much more of the negative than we do the positive in life.  If we receive 10 compliments during the day from co-workers and colleagues yet we receive one negative statement, we are more likely to remember the one negative statement.  If anything this is something to keep in mind if you were to do your own analysis to reach your own opinion.

Perhaps the greatest difficulty is to address a group as a whole.  In this case I have focused upon Rhode Island lawyers only because this is the demographic and geographic area that I form a part of and, of course, is the location where the little book of "500 Lawyer Jokes" began this whole journey into considering whether or not the perceived black eye that attorneys have in the eyes of the general public is one that has simply carried on as a matter of course or whether there might be a basis for its justification.

So, without further procrastination let me get to my thought process.  Every since I can remember, even into my childhood, a good majority of jokes have been aimed at attorneys and the theme of those jokes has been their arrogance, greed and ability to skillfully lie and cheat.  This is certainly not the picture that most lawyers would like to project for their Rhode Island law practice.  Clients buying into this mantra of jokes most assuredly do not want to pay hundreds of dollars per hour for a professional to potentially swindle them out of their hard earned money.

As a litigation paralegal for many years (with various employers) I had the opportunity to see several attorneys blatantly violate the Professional Rules of Ethical Conduct as if they didn't exist.  I've  had the unfortunate displeasure to see practices that equate to double billing a client or in the very least overbilling the client.

As a litigation paralegal I have been asked by attorneys to tamper with court files and demanded to violate criminal laws.  I am happy to say that in each case I found a solution that was within ethical and moral parameters that did not violate any criminal laws nor did my subject any attorneys to disciplinary action though I cannot say the same for the rebukes I received for not "doing what I was told".

I have now been a practicing attorney for some time.  Though I focus my practice in the areas of Rhode Island Divorce and Family Law Issues, I take on various other cases that I am equally capable of handling and do so with considerable zealousness for my clients.  My adventures into the practice of Rhode Island law have taken me before most of the Rhode Island Small Claims, District, Family and Superior Courts.

In the time I have been practicing I have filed and/or joined in two discipinary complaints to Rhode Island Disciplinary Counsel for conduct that I felt was so horrendous by an attorney that it should not go unanswered.  The first complaint which I believe was replete with evident violations was dismissed without an opportunity for hearing, a result that I found professionally offensive as a legal practitioner and personally offensive as a citizen of Rhode Island.  The second complaint is in the filing stage and I am hopeful that it will be taken with the seriousness it deserves despite the fact that it does not rise to the magnitude of the previous complaint.

This is not to say that any opinion should be based upon two such instances by two attorneys that I may personally believe are "bad eggs" that give us a bad name.  Yet the opinion I reach personally is based upon more than simply my experience in these two instances and my exposure as a paralegal to conduct that I found personally repugnant and in some instances would have placed me and one or more attorneys in violation of federal criminal laws were it not for my quick thinking on various alternatives that were morally acceptable and professionally ethical.

In reflecting on my current opinion, that lawyers and attorneys (and in this case Rhode Island lawyers and attorneys-at-law) do in fact deserve the long standing black eye that is perceived by the public, I must credit my last three (3) years while practicing law in Rhode Island.

During my past three years I have watched and listened.  On several occasions in several courts I have witnessed judges who refused to give litigants a hearing on a particular matter or otherwise arranged their calendars in such a fashion that litigants were put off so long or prejudiced by so many continuances that it prohibited them from having access to their witnesses and evidence became stale. 

I have witnessed attorneys who make one representation to me outside of the judge's hearing and then either go into open court or in a chambers conference with a judge and make a completely opposite representation to the court.  I have had occasion when attorneys made material misrepresentations to a judge in order to prejudice my client when they had no factual information for making their "factual" statements when they were just machinations contrived by one party to injure the other party.

I have witnessed attorneys who have gone before the court on behalf of their client against an individual who was representing himself or herself and allowed material omissions to be left out before the judge such that the person who was acting "pro se" was either prejudiced, "locked up" for contempt, or otherwise injured when such injury would not have occurred if the individual had enough money to afford an attorney.

Perhaps most significantly are the number of times I have had the opportunity to witness attorneys lie to judges on the record of the court by making factual statements and representations as counsel (not under oath) when they know full well that the truth is easily verifiable but that the verification could not be accomplished at the time that the representations are being made and the damage is already done.

It could well be that I am painting a bad picture of attorneys and the judicial system both in Rhode Island and in other states.  This is not particularly my intention in making this expression and in discussing my own opinion on the subject.  It is with considerable disappointment and even anger at times, that I must admit that my chosen profession may well be deserving of the black eye that the public has perceived for so long.

Perhaps this blog article is self-serving, though that is far from its intention.  It is with a great degree of passion and enthusiasm for my clients that I confirm for you that there ARE good Rhode Island lawyers out there that do care about their clients and they do, in fact, act professionally, ethically and in line with the best interests of their clients.

Obviously there are more attorneys in Rhode Island than I could survey or even know on such an indepth level that I could give with mathematical certainty whether there are truly a majority of good attorneys out there or, conversely a majority of poor practitioners hellbent on their own goals and income.

My law practice continues and I am truly hopeful that my opinion will change as my exposure to more and more attorneys broadens, yet in the past three years the negatives outweigh the positives at least 4 to 1 as between what I can only refer to as reputable practitioners versus disreputable ones.

I can but hope that client's will continue to find me or that if I am not the practitioner with the "right fit" for the client that I can, in the very least, steer the prospective client to a reputable practitioner who will protect their interests (both legal and non-legal) and do it right and for a reasonable fee.

Does the Rhode Island legal profession deserve the black eye that is perceived by the public?  As of today, with my current experiences . . . I'm sorry to hold the personal opinion that we do.

Unprincipled attorneys should be the exception. . . . not the rule.


Rhode Island Lawyers . Divorce or otherwise . . do they deserve the black eye?

Ever since I was in high school I've heard lawyer jokes.  When I became a litigation paralegal many years ago I became patently more aware that they existed and heard them even more.  Today I don't hear them as much.  Why?  Probably because I'm a Rhode Island lawyer and there are a good many people who are decent enough not to simply throw out a tasteless (or even tasteful) joke at parties or gatherings simply to have a laugh by insulting my chosen profession.

In truth, most people would agree that personally I have a fairly good sense of humor and that I could (and in all probability would) appreciate a well-told joke regardless of any negative connotation that it may have on my chosen profession.  I mean, let's face it. . . .most jokes poke fun at what people perceive (albeit stereotypically) as a dominant trait of a profession, race, religion, etc...

In fact, on our office coffee table we have a book of 500 Lawyer Jokes for those waiting to meet with us.  This little book and the idea of jokes about our profession actually spawned a brief conversation between a few of my Rhode Island colleagues, myself included.

First, the attorney who actually provided the book to us for the table found it to be ironic and expressed that clients would probably appreciate it that an attorney's office would have such a book for their clients not only in plain view but literally placed right in front of them so they would almost certainly read it.  The message conveyed to clients and visitors in this case seemed to be that we as lawyers are not so stuffy, pompous and overly professional that we cannot step back and either "look at the lighter side of our profession as lawyers" or laugh at ourselves and colleagues who, though lawyers, may have made atypical bunders that are in truth funny or downright hilarious.


Now another Rhode Island attorney who came into the office found the book personally offensive and thought it inappropriate to have the book at all.  This attorney's feeling was that lawyers as a profession have been ridiculed for years and a gross mis-impression has been presented to the public that we are all greedy thieves who make too much money and only survive to see how much money we can get out of people. My colleague's opinion was that by providing such a book to clients we are perpetuating and fueling the bad sentiments of the public toward lawyers.

Then there is me.  I'm undecided on the subject of this little book.  In the scope of a law practice, the big picture of world events,  the struggles of those who barely survived in the wake of Katrina's devastation, this little book seems so trivial and yet it still has a place and plays even the smallest role societies perception of the profession or even the person (or people) who have the book such that people continue to make judgments and those judgments still affect business and personal decisions about who we will and will not work with, who we will hire and who we won't and even who we will associate with.  It is, to say the least, a small yet interesting philosophical maze of thought.

There is, however, one point upon which I can generally agree.  The general public consensus reveals that lawyers are not looked upon well and they have received a "black eye" as far as professions go.  As a Rhode Island lawyer I fell into family law more by accident and necessity than anything when I first began my law practice.   Today focus my practice on Rhode Island divorce and family law issues.

Today, however, I find myself contemplating this little book of 500 Lawyer Jokes and the opinions of my colleagues as well as what I know to be a fairly consistent consensus of the general populous that by and large most lawyers (divorce, family law or otherwise)  are cheats and swindlers that are overpaid and can't be trusted.

The conclusion I come to is somewhat self-informative.  We as attorneys (in various areas of law) have a black eye in the community and the public at large.

I found this much more fascinating and much more significant than the little book on the waiting room table.  Yet this is a thought process that is far from complete and will take a bit more pondering.

In closing this particular blog post, I have no true opinion on the little book itself.  It can stay.  It can go.  It's a book.  It's information.  It's entertainment.  Just as the author has the right to poke fun at the legal profession which is still only made up of people who do make mistakes which are sometimes hilarious, I believe that clients should be able to read such things if they like.  If I can't laugh at myself and at those who artfully poke fun at my profession then my skin is a bit too thin for me to be practicing in my own profession.  Pride in my profession does not mean I need to be intolerant of others or their writings.

The more crucial question I will ponder for the continuation of this blog article is this.

Whether as a Rhode Island Divorce and Family Law Lawyer or a Rhode Island Superior Court Litigation Attorney or an Estate Planning Lawyer my profession has a "black eye" in view of the public, is the black eye misconceived or is it well-deserved?

I'll keep you posted as this philosophical joust continues.

In the meantime, there are still good Rhode Island Lawyers out there and I'm happy to assist anyone with their divorce and/or family law issue.  Yet to the extent that I am not the right attorney for you or the match simply isn't there, I am familiar with several attorneys in Rhode Island besides myself that I believe are also atypical of the black eye our profession may have and I can recommend them unwaveringly and without hesitation to help you in any of the various legal matters you may encounter.


Costs in a Rhode Island Divorce Case? What costs and expenses should your Rhode Island lawyer make you aware of?

To file a Rhode Island Divorce Complaint you need to pay to the State of Rhode Island a standard filing fee of $145.32 for the opening and administration costs of your divorce case and technology fee.

To serve a divorce complaint you must obtain (or rather retain) a county sheriff or constable who is authorized to make service upon parties in family court matters and have the complaint and any attachments served upon your spouse if you are the party filing for divorce.  Constables typically charge $45.00 for a standard service of a complaint and it's attachments.  The county sheriff may charge anywhere from $45 to $55 in Rhode Island for the same service depending upon the number of attempts the sheriff's office needs to make in order to serve the person.

You should note that either the constable or the county sheriff may charge additional fees for service of process that requires numerous attempts, requires extensive travel or requires the service of additional documents that are not part of each and every divorce proceeding.

During your divorce it may be necessary to obtain documents by use of a subpoena.  The service costs of a subpoena are similar to those for the divorce complaint mentioned above except that the witness being subpoenaed will have to be paid a statutory fee for attendance as well as round-trip mileage costs for his, her or its attendance at court.  Because Rhode Island is a small state you can plan that the subpoena fees (exclusive of the constable or sheriff's fees) will not exceed $15.00 for a single day's attendance.

If documents are required from a business establishment, usually a bank, then the bank is allowed to charge a reasonable fee for the copying and research of account documents that are required to be produced.  This bill from the bank can range from $0 to hundreds if not thousands of dollars if you have a multi-million dollar marital estate and neither party can provide a clear financial picture of what is going on.  Clients are best to anticipate that a comprehensive bank subpoena for documents may run as high as $500.00 or more depending on the length of time and extent of the records requested.

If an expert is needed for tax issues, home valuations or business valuations, do not expect to get the expertise of these professionals for free even if they have done work for you after being paid a fee.  Unless specifically stated in your agreement with any expert, his or her professional expertise and time is not paid for if he has to go to court.  Experts attending court or preparing for a court proceeding are entitled to be compensated for their services.  These  experts generally cost from $2,000 on the lower end to tens of thousands on the high end for extensive work.  Generally speaking most divorces that involve a house as a marital asset will require an appraisal at current rates (currently about $400 to $500).  Testimony at court by the appraiser will generally run about $1,500 per day for a decent appraiser with sufficient skills and experience to qualify as an expert before the court.

Clients should also expect that if matters need to be handled in an expedited fashion or if voluminous documents need to be copied or produced to someone that these are costs the client will be expected to pay for.  These things are, unfortunately, case specific and therefore there is no way to approximate them.

Lastly, if there is a pension or retirement plan that needs to be divided by virtue of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, the client should expect that most divorce attorneys will engage a specialist attorney to prepare this document.  Qualified Domestic Relations Orders are a document that divides a pension or retirement between the parties either as agreed to or as determined by a judge after trial. However, these Orders must not only comport with state and federal law but must also be acceptable to and approved by the benefits coordinator for the administrator of the pension and/or retirement vehicle and in accordance with the rules, regulations and documents governing the plan. 

Combine the foregoing factors with a client's long-term tax and retirement planning and you end up with a very technical and rather intricate document that people will be relying upon in the future for the benefits they are entitled to.  The Order, therefore, must be so specialized as to fall within the parameters of all of these various guidelines, rules and statutes and take into account the Client's future needs and desires.  This being the case it is not hard to understand why this is not a task that some divorce attorneys choose to undertake.

There are several attorneys whose practices are focused almost exclusively on the creation of these Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs).  QDROs are a specialty item and are generally prepared by attorneys who specialize in such orders.  Absent express agreement with your attorney that the cost of one or more QDRO's will be included in the monies you provide to the attorney for a retainer and expenses in your divorce, you should NOT expect that your divorce lawyer will be arranging your QDRO for free. 

QDRO preparation is an additional expense that every client dealing with a pension or retirement plan that may have to be split in their divorce should expect. A decent attorney will prepare a QDRO for between $450 to $600 and insure it is approved by the pension and/or retirement plan administrator.

Absent other significant aspects such as a business valuation, the foregoing are the consistent costs that most lawyers will make you aware of in your Rhode Island Divorce and/or family law proceeding and they are foreseeable although not always predictable at the outset of any case.

The challenge?  Be aware of these costs but be knowledgeable that they do not exist in every case but could still occur in yours.  An attorney's expectation and/or prediction about what you may reasonably expect in the way of costs and expenses in your case should NEVER be taken as a guarantee that your costs and/or expenses will be limited to those representations.  Unless your attorney makes a written guarantee about the amount of expenses and/or costs you will have to bear, you should hope for the best but plan for the worst financially.

A good attorney will try to avoid unnecessary costs if at all possible but not at the risk of your legal rights or at the risk that you might claim that he or she committed malpractice by not insisting that an expense be made.  Those of us who try to resolve matters without the additional costs and puffery of attorneys who prefer to bill their client for "unnecessaries" to get a few thousand dollars in fees before the case ends continue to combat those who needlessly bill clients, but keep in mind there aren't as many of us out there who are truly fighting for the clients.  We're hard to find but you'll see us if you take your time and look closely.

I invite you to consider having a low cost consultation with me to discuss your divorce and/or family law matter.  If nothing else, I can guarantee that you will understand your rights and the family court process much better by the time we are done our meeting so that you can make an informed choice about what can and perhaps will happen in your divorce situation.