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December 2007

Low Cost Rhode Island Divorce Lawyers to Help You!

More and more I realize as people come in for consultations and don't return to take advantage of the services offered by my office, I wonder, "why"?   

Their initial reaction seems as though they are communicating to me that what I am offering is out of their price range or that it is, perhaps, not in keeping with the costs charged by other attorneys who offer the same degree or level or services.

Honestly, it baffles me.  My colleagues would first tell you that because I value my client's case so much I tend to overlook billing quite a bit of the work I do for the clients.  This, of course, translates into a loss for me and a gain for my clients.

Admittedly, there are of course those attorneys who have been practicing longer than I have been.  Perhaps this merits a greater fee as a Rhode Island Divorce Attorney . . . then again perhaps not.  I've noted that there is much I can learn from my fellow divorce attorneys and yet at the same time there are those who might benefit from my philosophies and insights.

Yet in all of this age versus experience, versus tenacity comparing I have learned that by and large those who practice full-time divorce and family law in Rhode Island generally get about $200 per hour plus a retainer anywhere between $2,500 and $5,000.  Of course I can only imagine that the higher retainer is reserved for those cases the Rhode Island Divorce Attorney foresees as being potentially more problematic.

Now, assuming this to be the average for Rhode Island Divorce Attorneys, for the sake of example, why would a client elect a higher fee and retainer in favor of a lower one if the client has never used either attorney's services?

Perhaps it's the personal connection with the attorney at the initial meeting?

Perhaps it's a free consultation versus a paid consultation?

Yet if you wanted valuable information at a consultation, wouldn't you expect to pay for that value?

Or better yet, if it were a free consultation . . . . how much value do you think you are going to get when you are taking up an attorney's time and not paying him or her a dime for practicing his or her livelihood?

Happily I remain a low cost attorney who charges a nominal amount for a Rhode Island Divorce consultation. 

Perhaps most important is that no fee, big or small, and no retainer, large or small will guarantee any result in a family court proceeding.

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 - Sylvia, Merlin and the Disappearing Alimony

Sylvia and Merlin have been married for decades.  Merlin's been the primary financial provider while Sylvia took care of the kids and then got a job as an assistant showing apartment units at an apartment complex.  Merlin makes decent money as an HVAC installer.  As many people do, they fell out of love and Merlin asked for a divorce.  Sylvia and Merlin spoke for quite some time over many months and Merlin apparently promised to take care of her by way of alimony.

Merlin files for divorce even though he had agreed with Sylvia that she would be the filing party.  Merlin's attorney makes Sylvia an offer on behalf of her husband.  Most things are agreeable to Sylvia but there is no mention of alimony.  She asks Merlin about it.  He is silent about it.  Sylvia retains an attorney to look into the offer and the alimony aspect. 

Sylvia's attorney confirms that she is a viable candidate to ask for rehabilitative alimony in the divorce.

Sylvia wants to make demand for a higher amount of alimony than might otherwise be prudent.  Sylvia and her attorney go over the options and realize their might be a better option, namely to take more of a cash distribution on Merlin's 401k or buyout on the house and waive the alimony.

Sylvia likes the idea of getting the money up front but realizes her attorney's suggestion means that Sylvia will receive somewhat less over time. 

Sylvia's attorney quickly explains that alimony is taxed as income and therefore she will not get all the money she projects as alimony actually in her pocket.

Sylvia realizes that she actually is better off with a payment upfront than with alimony for several years because she now sees a substantial part of her alimony disappearing and going to taxes.

Sylvia's focus changes to an upfront payment and how she can get it and disregards considering it as alimony.  In the end Merlin may regret the disappearing alimony.

Note:

Alimony under Rhode Island Law is rehabilitative in nature and is based upon a plethora of factors that that the Rhode Island Family Court Judge takes into account at the time of trial. 

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.

However, one key factor to remember in this instance is that the payor of the Alimony gets a dollar for dollar deduction against his or her taxes and the payee/recipient of the Alimony must pay tax on the alimony received in the same manner as if it were income.


Rhode Island Divorce Tip: Check with Your Attorney!

For those who haven't been in a Rhode Island Divorce before or who have ignored the single sheet of paper in the Complaint and Service packet called the "Automatic Orders" it's a pretty good idea to check with your attorney before you take any major actions or make any major moves in your divorce.

Though the Automatic Orders of the Court are fairly narrow in scope, it is certainly possible to violate them unknowingly.

For instance you might have a car that is up for sale at the time the constable has your papers to serve your spouse with.  You sell the car and spend the money before your spouse is served. 

Congratulations, you have just violated the Automatic Orders of the Court.  It may be a minor thing conceptually but depending upon the value of the car, the court might see it as a big thing because as the filing party you were bound not to sell any assets at the time you signed your Divorce Complaint.

Rule of Thumb!  Before you do anything in a divorce proceeding make sure you are familiar with the Automatic Orders and keep in mind their underlying purpose. . . to preserve the status quo.

It's never a good idea to start off your divorce on the wrong foot by violating the court's Automatic Orders.

All My Best to You on Your Journey Through The RI Family Court,
Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall a.k.a. "The Rhode Island Divorce Coach"™

Advertised? A Rhode Divorce for $200?

I see this title from time to time.  It's a teaser line that is advertised to get people's attention and hopefully entice them to get in the door. 

There are any number of ways to create such an advertisement and still be within the bounds of the ethical rules.  Unfortunately it really isn't what it claims to be.  Any attorney who tries to put through a divorce in Rhode Island for $200 is taking a massive loss.  I don't just mean a loss of profits.  I mean a loss of their time.  It's easy to do the math.  It costs $100 to file the divorce complaint and that fee goes to the State of Rhode Island.  Then it costs about $45 to have the constable serve the complaint and summons upon the defendant spouse.

On average, even an uncontested divorce under the best case scenario is going to take a minimum of 15 hours of work by the attorney.  How is an attorney going to survive by doing 15 hours of work for $55?

Perhaps there are other ways that legal practitioners are making this offer.  Perhaps they are giving a "do-it-yourself" course by giving the person a packet and giving them a quick guide through the system.  This may  sound like a good idea but it comes with a  lot of liability on the attorney's part and  there is virtually no way an attorney can anticipate the twists and turns a divorce will take once it gets going.

It's true that no two divorces are alike and each of them has to be treated differently and attorneys often have to adapt their legal arguments and strategies during the course of the proceedings.

So what is this - "Rhode Island Divorce Only $200 or $300" all about.  Well, I must admit that I have not gone into the office of a lawyer making such an offer to find out, but I can state that in my opinion, no reputable Rhode Island Divorce or Family Law lawyer would offer such a thing.  I must believe that it is only a teaser to get clients in the door or that the lawyer is just giving a mini-course or packet that addresses the Rhode Island Divorce process in a general way.

Though the packet might seem to be a good idea, it borders on an attorney's assistance of the Unauthorized Practice of Law which is prohibited by law despite any attorney's good intentions.

I don't want to misjudge here.  To the extent you have been a client and you have responded to an add such as this, or if you are a Rhode Island Divorce attorney with a legitimate offer that I have overlooked, please feel free to respond to this article as I have no intention of falsely accusing anyone or misunderstanding a legitimate purpose.

At this juncture however, I must say that if it looks too good to be true....it probably is!

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.


Rita and Chester - A Post Rhode Island Divorce Tragedy

Rita and Chester have been divorced for many years. They had four children together and live within about five (5) blocks from each other.

The marriage broke down when Rita's best friend (who was also married) began sleeping with Chester on the side.  This lead of course to a divorce several years back.  Rita got placement of the four (4) children, Tammy, Lucy, William and Christine.

Later, Chester decided he was going to take Rita off the health and dental insurance to save some money even though it was in violation of the Rhode Island Final Divorce Decree. 

Later when it came time to modify child support to take care of his children, Chester selfishly hid money and assets and with the help of his lawyer reduced the child support to it's lowest denominator.

Rita was reasonable.  She just wanted to be back on the insurance and receive just a little bit more child support to help with the children.  Rita had her lawyer send a reasonable letter asking for a "sit down" to discuss the issues. 

Chester's response was to have a lawyer buddy of his file a half dozen bogus motions against Rita alleging she is a crazed lunatic and having her publicly served at work on the day Rita's lawyer had asked for a response about sitting down for a discussion.  Chester's lawyer buddy doesn't charge him a dime.

Rita's attorney objects to the motions.  Rita's attorney files a Motion to Modify Child Support and a Motion to Adjudge Chester in Willful Contempt.  These are the very same issues the letter from Rita's attorney asked to discuss.

Chester's lawyer continues to litter the court with motion after motion, all of which are bogus and unfounded.  The motions sought restraining orders, change of placement of the children away from Rita to Chester and Emergency Motions for Change of Placement.

Rita's lawyer saw it for what it was... a smoke-screen.  Chester works late and never mentioned getting placement of the children.  In fact, he didn't show up at PTA meetings or participate in most of the children's doctor's appointments  or school events.

Through delays of illness and other excuses, Chester's lawyer obtained continuance after continuance from the court.  Chester's lawyer was able to call all of his client's witnesses.  It took over 2 years.

Suddenly, when Rita has a chance to present her case, her lawyer is informed that due to court scheduling  and the length of time the matter had been pending, it would have to be remanded to a new county and begin again.

Chester's buddy hadn't charged him a dime to create this elaborate and bogus smoke screen.

Rita had drained her retirement fund substantially only to be informed she had to start again.

Though the tragedy goes on . . . I can tell you. . . there are some attorneys who don't care.

They don't care if they destroy your life.

They don't care if they pull your family apart.

They don't care if they violate the rules of ethics.

They don't have even a remote sense of moral integrity.

Even given the circumstances above, what kind of attorney would you want?

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.