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March 2007

Rhode Island Divorce Lawyers: Modifying Rhode Island Child Support!

* * * What is Rhode Island Child Support?  * * *

In Rhode Island, child support is most typically a monetary amount of money
that is paid by the parent having visitation with the child or children.  It
is an amount that the court deems the child(ren) is entitled to from both
parents for the child's support.  The parent having visitation is then
generally ordered to pay his or her percentage share of the total support
amount that is calculated to be due to the child(dren) based upon that parent's
percentage of his or her income to the combined gross income of both parents
of the child.

* * * How is Rhode Island Child Support calculated?  * * *

Rhode Island Child Support is set pursuant to the Rhode Island Child Support Guidelines with adjustments by the Rhode Island Family Court judge as provided
in the guidelines or within the Judge's discretion as allowed by law since the
Rhode Island Child support guidelines could never anticipate every factual set
of circumstances under which adjustments should be made.

* * * When are Motions to Modify your Child Support typically filed?  * * *

A Motion to Modify a Child Support obligation is typically filed with the Rhode Island Family Court when there is a "substantial change in circumstances".  Generally speaking a substantial change in circumstances occur when the combined gross income of the parents of the child has changed by 10% from the time when the Rhode Island Family Court last entered an order for child support.

* * * What events can cause a 10% "substantial change in circumstances"? * * *

1.  Loss of a job or layoff.
2.  Loss of paid medical benefits through your employer.
3.  Hospitalizations
4.  New job that pays more money or less money.
5.  Birth of a new child to either parent.
6.  Discontinued overtime from your employer.
7.  Child is working and contributing to the placement household.
8.  Unemployment
9.  Out on TDI, are hospitalized
10. Any other circumstance that causes a change of at least 10% in the combined gross income of both parents.

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PLUS more answers to your Rhode Island Divorce Questions at http://www.ChrisPearsall.com 


Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer: Overtime May Affect Your Rhode Island Child Support!

Who Pays Child Support?

In a Rhode Island divorce proceeding the parent that the child or children does not live with (the “non-placement parent”) should anticipate paying child support.

What is Rhode Island Child Support?

Rhode Island Child Support is typically an amount of money that the court orders the parent the children do not live with (the “non-placement parent”) to pay to the parent the child(ren) lives with ( the “placement parent”) the for the care, support and maintenance of the minor child(dren).

How is Rhode Island Child Support calculated?

For the purposes of this article it is necessary to understand that Rhode Island Child Support is based upon the gross incomes of both parents.

Though Rhode Island Child Support can and often is, somewhat complicated to calculate, the foundation of a basic calculation to arrive at a recommended minimum order involves taking the combined gross monthly income of the parents and applying it to the Rhode Island Child Support Guidelines table.   Using the combined gross monthly income of the parents together with the number of children on the Child Support Table, a proposed minimum amount of support that the child(ren) are entitled to each month is provided by the Rhode Island Child Support Guidelines table / chart.

You should note that there are both mandatory and optional deductions that may be made from a parent’s gross monthly income if certain criteria are met.  This section is not an all inclusive explanation of how child support is figured in every instance, rather it is an overall view of a basic calculation assuming no other deductions.

When do the Rhode Island Child Support Guidelines provide for support increases?

Of course it stands to reason that the higher the combined gross income of the parents, the higher the child(dren)’s standard of living and thus the higher the total child support the children are entitled to on a monthly basis.   Therefore the total child support obligation the child(dren) is entitled to on a monthly basis will go up incrementally as the combined gross income of the child’s parents goes up.

Each parent, however, is typically held responsible for his or her percentage of the monthly child support obligation for both parents that his income is to the total.  Thus, if you make $3,700 per month and your spouse makes $6,300 per month, then your total combined gross monthly income is $10,000 per month. 

A quick calculation shows that you make 37% of that total income and your spouse makes the other 63%.    Therefore, whatever the total child support is for your child according to the guidelines, the non-placement parent will pay his or her percentage multiplied by the total child support.  (i.e.  If the child support monthly total is $1,000 and you are the non-placement parent you would pay child support of $370 per month).

How is overtime pay factored into Rhode Island Child Support?

A strict reading of the Rhode Island Child Support guidelines demonstrates that overtime is not required to be considered by the court in the gross income of a party.  However, that does not mean that it is not considered.

Overtime is a factor left to the discretion of the judge handling your case.  Therefore, it may or may not be considered based upon the circumstances of your case or the judge hearing your case.

However, if you have consistently worked overtime, have used the overtime pay to provide for your children, and your matter is heard before a judge who believes that all or a portion of overtime should be considered, you can expect that your child support is likely to be higher than those who do not work overtime.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.  You should not take legal action without legal advice from a licensed practitioner who has been fully informed about your specific circumstances.

Authored by: Attorney Christopher Pearsall Pearsall Law Associates 571 Pontiac Avenue Cranston, RI  02910 Phone: (401) 354-2369

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Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer: Orders to Heed - Part 1

One tip your Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer may overlook is advising you in advance of filing a complaint for divorce is explaining to you the Rhode Island Family Court's Automatic Orders.

Automatic Orders - What are they?

Automatic Orders are just that, Orders of the Court carrying the full authority of law that apply to every divorce case filed in the Rhode Island Family Courts . The Automatic Orders are contained in an official form called, not surprisingly, Automatic Orders, that must be served upon the Defendant with the Plaintiff's Rhode Island Divorce Complaint, Summons and other accompanying documents that depend upon the factual circumstances of your specific case.

Who is bound by the Automatic Orders in a Rhode Island Divorce case?

Both the plaintiff and defendant (thus, both spouses) n a Rhode Island Divorce are bound by the Rhode Island Family Courts Automatic Orders.

What is the purpose of the Automatic Orders in a Rhode Island Divorce case?

There is no specifically stated purpose for the Automatic Orders of the Rhode Island Family court that anyone could direct you to and Rhode Island attorneys practicing in the area of divorce and family law may differ slightly about the phrasing of the purpose of the Automatic Orders, yet I believe the general principle can be summed up as "status quo".

The Automatic Orders substantially prohibit any significant changes in financial circumstances by either party, at least to the extent that such changes are in the party's control.  For example, neither party may change beneficiaries on life insurance policies or transfer or encumber property that is owned either individually or jointly.

The consistent statement and argument that I have personally heard used most both by Rhode Island Divorce and family law attorneys as well as judges is that the purpose of the court's Automatic Orders is to preserve the status quo between the parties.

Ultimately, the court doesn't want the parties playing games with the finances or items such as insurances, etc... that may adversely affect the other spouse during the divorce proceeding and therefore, unless the Automatic Orders are specifically modified by a motion presented to, and granted by the family court, the best rule of thumb is to continue managing all financial, asset and debt matters as it had been the parties' practice to do during the course of the marriage.

Visit http://ww.ChristopherPearsall.com for More Helpful Rhode Island Divorce Tips

And Discover Valuable Rhode Island Divorce Information

PLUS . . . enjoy detailed Rhode island Divorce Information at Rhode Island Divorce Tips Blog


Rhode Island Divorce - Articles

Recently I ran across I very interesting article directory covering a wide variety of subjects.  I found several legal and non-legal articles to be very informative and thought that this directory, called Alumbo, might be of particular interest to my Rhode Island Divorce Tips readers.

Let me know what you think.

Visit http://ww.ChristopherPearsall.com for More Helpful Rhode Island Divorce Tips

And Discover Valuable Rhode Island Divorce Information

PLUS . . . enjoy detailed Rhode island Divorce Information at Rhode Island Divorce Tips Blog


Rhode Island Divorce Lawyers - Caring is not Fundamental. It's CRUCIAL!

When it comes to your Rhode Island Divorce, the selection of a Rhode Island Divorce lawyer that is right for you is not simply fundamental, it is CRUCIAL!

It's easy for your divorce to frustrate you in such a way that you "just want it over".  That's a typical mindset for most people facing divorce.  Yet people still have this instinctual need to want to make sure they have their interests protected.

So what do people do?  They look up divorce, lawyers or attorneys in the yellow pages and they start calling.  Most people will try to find one that has a free consultation first and foremost because they don't want to spend a dime on a person who may not tell them anything.  Divorce lawyers who offer free consultations may or may not tell you anything that will help you.  The latter is more likely but that is a blog article for another day on Rhode Island Divorce Tips.

Divorce lawyers shopping is far from enjoyable but it's important.  There are ways to go about it that will make it easier.  I will address those in another blog posting as well.

In my opinion as a Rhode Island lawyer who has chosen to focus my practice in the area of divorce and family law, as well as a man who tried to consult with attorneys before I went through my own divorce, I have come to one conclusion that I firmly believe.  If you don't engage an attorney who cares about people and who cares specifically about you and your case, then you've chosen the wrong divorce lawyer.

That's right.  It's my opinion that CARING is the biggest factor to be considered when hiring your Rhode Island Divorce or Family Law Attorney.

Why?    Think about it!  In fact think about people in general and how they think.

Hey, let's start with YOU!

When you care about something . . . your child, your wife, your career, your investments, your car or motorcycle, etc. . .    What do you do?  What do you think about?

When you care about something such that it means something to you don't you do what you can to take care of it . . .  improve it . . .  work hard for it . . .  protect it . . . and sometimes even die for it!  That's exactly what you do!  That's exactly what everyone does because that is human nature.

We take care of the things and people that we care about.  We don't throw them to the side and ignore them.  We don't abuse them.  We don't destroy them.

Human nature is such that we as people do the most we can based upon how much we care about that thing.  When people care they will move mountains for the things and people they care about.

So why is caring important?  That's the answer.

If you have an attorney who truly cares about you and your case as I do for my clients, their cases and their assets, you do whatever you can to take care of them. 

Sure any attorney will still do what is necessary to insure that he or she will get paid some kind of fee for the work being done for you because that's that divorce or family lawyer's livelihood... without that he or she just doesn't survive.

Yet when you find a caring attorney it's not about the amount of the fee . . . it's about YOU.  It's about caring about YOUR LIFE, and YOUR ASSETS and doing what is necessary TO HELP YOU get through the turmoil, sometimes at the expense of the attorney's personal time or at his or her expense.

We're out there.  Some of us care and we're here to help you without charging you the $300+ an hour that some attorneys think you need to pay them.

Look for the caring attorney and my bet is that you'll be better off every time.

Visit http://ww.ChristopherPearsall.com for More Helpful Rhode Island Divorce Tips

And Discover Valuable Rhode Island Divorce Information

PLUS . . . enjoy detailed Rhode island Divorce Information at Rhode Island Divorce Tips Blog