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July 2007

Rhode Island Divorce Tip: On Judicial Bias

Rhode Island Divorces are hard enough without judicial bias.  Judicial bias is when a judge or magistrate in the position to make a decision in your Rhode Island Divorce listens more to one parties' position than the other parties' position and gives that position unjust weight in the decision making process.

It happens.  It's no mystery.  Judges and magistrates are people.  They are not machines.  While they are set on the course of impartiality as part of their duty, you cannot strip the humanity out of them. 

Naturally, with that humanity comes all the personal experiences, thought processes, underlying suppositions, precepts and all the other things that go into the formation of the human person, including biases.

I don't envy Judge's and Magistrates.  They are supposed to remain detached from each situation and try to make consistent decisions from case to case.  Yet, how can they when they have their own belief systems and their own ideas about the way families should be have, visitation should be conducted, the child support system and more.

Judicial bias exists on a practical level on a daily basis.  In a Rhode Island Divorce  System comprised of human beings how could some bias NOT exist?  It just isn't reasonably possible.

Its when Judicial Bias overshadows a case to the extent that prejudice is caused to a a person's case. 

It occurs! In fact, there seem to be some warning signs that one could look for to gauge the level of bias.

Ask yourself this:

1)  Is the Judge or Magistrate for my divorce matter giving me equal time to speak as compared to the opposing party?

2)  Is the Judge or Magistrate for my divorce case allowing the opposing party to enter all his or her exhibits and shutting you down when you attempt to do the same thing?

3)  Does the judge's demeanor or tone change when he or she addresses you as compared to the other party?

4)  When liberties are given by the Judge, are they extended only to the other party and denied to you client?

5)  Does the Judge seem friendlier to the opposing attorney as opposed to your attorney or you?

Judicial Bias Exists!  You MUST be aware of it!  It is an inherent part of the system!  Some of the biases are small and others are large. 

So how can you protect yourself.  Know the Judges.  Ask around.  Learn about the judges.  Sit in court, watch and listen to each judge and how he or she handles cases.

Knowledge is the key.

Authored by:

Christopher A. Pearsall, Esquire
PEARSALL LAW ASSOCIATES
571 Pontiac Avenue
Cranston, RI  02910
Phone:  (401) 354-2369

NOTE:  The postings on this website are NOT legal advice, DO NOT create an attorney/client relationship and are NOT a substitute for a detailed consultation with an attorney experienced in the state where you have your legal issue.  This site is presented for the convenience of the internet public.

* The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers in the general practice of law and has no procedure for recognition of specialty in any area of law.


Rhode Island Divorce: Speeding Up Your Divorce

You can speed up your Rhode Island Divorce by getting together information that you'll need to get your divorce package completed for filing.

What my clients find the most troublesome is the Certified copy of the Marriage Certificate which they normally must obtain for a cost from Bureau of Vital Statistics for the State in which they were married in or from the local Town Clerk's Office vital records department in the Town or City they were married in.

If you want to speed up your Rhode Island Divorce you may want to obtain this document in advance if it's at a location you can't just hop in your car and drive to get.  It may take as much as two (2) to four (4) weeks for some states to process your request for the certified copy of your marriage license and they may wait until your check clears as well.

Costs vary for this request.  The most recent client experience I had involved a written request by check and took about two weeks but the client paid a fee to expedite the request and it cost about $43.00.  In my humble opinion, that's a bit pricey for a single sheet of paper reprinted and mailed to you.

Sadly, about one-third of it wasn't even legible.

One thing to remember when obtaining a certified copy of your marriage certificate for your Rhode Island Divorce.  The Marriage Certificate or Certificate of Marriage that you receive from a religious institution is not sufficient to satisfy the requirements of Rhode Island Law when filing your Rhode Island Divorce complaint.  It MUST be the Marriage Certificate that ends up being filed with the State in which you were married.  This normally contains vital information about your family history such as your parents names, your maiden name, your date of birth, etc.....

You will also want to read my article regarding the checklist for a Rhode Island Divorce.  Having things in order and things ready to go is the best way to get things moving quickly and keep them moving.

Let's face it, a court is just like any other governmental agency, it runs on paperwork.  If you have the right paper and you file it at the right time then you've mastered half the battle.  Yet if you miss a crucial document that is required by the court and you can be sitting their puzzled trying to figure out what is going on.

Unfortunately there is more to a divorce than forms.  Divorce relates to laws that involve taxation, equitable distribution, capital gains, premarital property, tax deductions, placement of children, alimony, child support and much more. . .  and without knowing the law that goes with the forms . . . . as well as the timing of those forms . . . then you could be spinning your wheels.

Yet in the end, whether you have a lawyer or not it's important to have your information, especially your certified copy of your Marriage Certificate, and your other vital information ready for any form that's needed.


Rhode Island Divorce Tip for Men: Don't Get Trapped!

Divorce can be heart wrenching.  In fact, it can be so earth shattering that it can cause your spouse to do things he or she wouldn't otherwise do.  This can lead to some pretty devastating consequences if you aren't aware of it or simply trust that "my spouse would never do that".

Examples are always best.  Consider this one.

Charlie has been married to Victoria for about 22 years.  The children are fairly well grown and in their late teens.

Charlie sees Victoria as very spoiled and unreceptive to him.  He tries to talk to his wife about it but she doesn't want to hear about it.  Victoria is from an old fashioned italian family and getting a divorce in Rhode Island isn't even something she'd consider.

Charlie runs into an old friend, Carrie.  They have some coffee and talk about old times.  Charlie has a good time just talking with someone for years.

Charlie comes home happy after a nice chat with Carrie and Victoria suspects something more is going on.

Victoria starts following Charlie around and finds him having coffee and lunch with Carrie on a few separate occasions.

Victoria confonts Charlie very harshly about it and asks him what is going on.  Charlie explains that he can't seem to talk with her anymore so when he met up with an old friend they've been getting together to talk and catch up on old times.

Neither Charlie nor Victoria mention getting a divorce or that the situation is even that bad.  Victoria is angry and she yells and screams at Charlie so that he gets in his car and leaves.  He comes back later after he thinks Victoria has calmed down.  Victoria's car isn't in the driveway.

Charlie drives into the drive way and goes into the house.  Victoria has not calmed down.  She accuses Charlie of having an affair and cheating on her.  As Charlie tries to calm Victoria down she starts pushing Charlie and then hitting him with spatulas as they make their way into the kitchen. 

They make their way out the kitchen door into the driveway and Charlie sees that Victoria's car was hidden in the backyard.

Victoria runs out to Charlie's car and starts rifling through it looking for any evidence of this "mistress" or an affair, .... something..... anything.

Charlie begs her to calm down.  Then she starts ripping open his seats with her car keys.  Charlie reaches into the card door and takes hold of Victoria's arm to pull her out of the car.  Victoria comes out of the car and slashes his arm with her keys and she tears Charlie's shirt.

As Charlie's shirt rips Victoria falls back on her butt and notices that their daughter is near the window.  Victoria starts screaming "Help" and "He's Beating me".  Neighbors come out.  The daughter comes out and the next thing you know, the police have been called and Charlie is arrested and convicted for domestic assault and prohibited from returning to his house.

Charlie never expected that Victoria would do such a thing.  To some of us it is unfathomable that the prospect of divorce or the possibility of betrayal would cause someone to hide cars, accuse our spouse of infidelity, stalk other people and even set them up for criminal charges.

Is Rhode Island Divorce potentially in your future?  Are you a man?  Be wary!  Be careful!  Be mindful!

Authored by:

Christopher A. Pearsall, Esquire
PEARSALL LAW ASSOCIATES
571 Pontiac Avenue
Cranston, RI  02910
Phone:  (401) 354-2369

NOTE:  The postings on this website are NOT legal advice, DO NOT create an attorney/client relationship and are NOT a substitute for a detailed consultation with an attorney experienced in the state where you have your legal issue.  This site is presented for the convenience of the internet public.

* The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers in the general practice of law and has no procedure for recognition of specialty in any area of law.


Rhode Island Divorce Tip: Work with Your Spouse!

A Rhode Island Divorce can be hard enough without all the costs that go with it.

Yet what does that have to do with the title "Work with Your Spouse!", right?"

Well, it isn't easy but if you and your wife can get to the point of realizing that you are adults, can and should act like adults and that you are adult enough to work out the settlement of your divorce together then you can save a lot of money on your divorce.

Recently Carly came to me and paid me for a divorce consultation.  Carly and her husband Jacob had been married a long time. 

Carly asked if she and Jacob could come in together and whether I could advise them both.  I told Carly I was prohibited from representing them both in the same proceeding because their interests were adverse to one another. 

Carly asked how they could just use one lawyer and save money on their divorce?

My answer?  Work with your Spouse!

Carly was nervous but she did just that.  She and Jacob worked out every aspect of what they wanted to agree to and they came in to see me.  Jacob said that he was fine with the fact that I represented his wife and he was comfortable with the arrangement they had come to.

Carly told me what she promised to do and Jacob told me what he promised to do in return.  I explained to them that I would hold both of them to their promises and I explained to Jacob that I considered him "PRO SE" and therefore I was required to treat him fairly and ethically and I could not deceive him or I would be violating my oath to uphold the law and I could be subject to disciplinary action.

In the end, the divorce will complete shortly and after countless divorces it will be the cheapest divorce I have ever helped a couple with and the most amicable as well. 

How is this possible?  Work with your Spouse!

Authored by:

Christopher A. Pearsall, Esquire
PEARSALL LAW ASSOCIATES
571 Pontiac Avenue
Cranston, RI  02910
Phone:  (401) 354-2369

NOTE:  The postings on this website are NOT legal advice, DO NOT create an attorney/client relationship and are NOT a substitute for a detailed consultation with an attorney experienced in the state where you have your legal issue.  This site is presented for the convenience of the internet public.

* The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers in the general practice of law and has no procedure for recognition of specialty in any area of law.