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May 2008

Rhode Island Divorce Attorney | Do you want to save yourself $800 to $3,000 on your Rhode Island divorce?

I've previously written Rhode Island Divorce articles about civility and trying to work with your spouse to resolve your issues.  What I didn't mention in those other divorce articles is that by remaining civil, holding your temper and keeping a cool head is that it can save you a hefty sum of money.

One of the most time consuming parts of any divorce is reaching a Marital Settlement Agreement.  A Marital Settlement Agreement is typically a document that embodies all the terms of what you and your spouse have agreed to and it anticipates what could happen in the future, to the extent that reasonable changes can be foreseen and prepared for. 

Assume that your attorney in this example costs $200 per hour and it takes him or her 4 hours to draft and re-draft the complete Marital Settlement Agreement which includes provisions to protect you and provisions to specify which states laws apply, etc....  That's $800 you would save if you just came to an agreement with your spouse, wrote out all the terms and conditions and you both signed it before a notary public and then testified at the hearing that your signature is genuine, that you signed it freely and voluntarily and that it is fair and equitable. 

[Exerpt]

To read the entire Rhode Island Divorce article click here ->  AttorneyPearsall.com

Authored by:

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

Attorney Pearsall's practice is focused almost exclusively in the areas of Divorce and Family law.

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 based on Rhode Island and 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 Attorney | Ahhh . . Draining Marital Joint Bank Accounts!

Once a Rhode Island Divorce is filed by your attorney (or by yourself) then it would be wise to consider what you do each day or you might end up in handcuffs.

The Automatic Orders of the Court are not simply a peice of paper. They are embodied in the Rhode Island General Laws and they prescribe what you can and cannot do.  I ran into a situation similar to this. You can look at the Automatic Orders of the court to see what you thing but here's my take on it.

Bob is married to Judy.  For the final year of their marriage Judy is not working outside the home but she is taking care of someone dear to her who is very ill.  She had a good job for the first two years of their four year marriage and contributed to everything.  Judy was unhappy with her job and presumably wanted his wife to be happy so he told her to go ahead and quit because he made enough income to sustain them for a while.  Judy does so with Bob's approval.  They decide to get divorced.  Bob gives Judy $4,000 as a sign of good faith to help settle the case more quickly after it's filed.  Bob files for divorce and gets a lawyer.  Bob is upset when Judy gets a lawyer and uses funds from their joint checking account to do so.  Bob has Judy served and immediately with draws all the money for their joint bank accounts.

As a family law attorney there's no argument, the Automatic Orders that were filed when  he signed his Complaint for Divorce are in full force and effect and they prevent him from essentially "monkeying with the finances".  Bob has shut Judy off from the financial resources that she has relied upon with his agreement for the past year.

Judy had planned to move to Indiana because she has relatives there but she has no job prospects yet.  She has her own credit card but since she has no job it would be difficult to pay it if the kept charging on it.

What is a judge likely to rule in this instance based on Tom's violation of the automatic orders?

Should it matter that Judy has a credit card in her own name that she can make charges on?

If the credit card is her only means of survival and she needs $2,000 to travel to Indiana and give her a 2 month cushion to find a job should this be considered an "Emergency Situation"?

Should  it be considered an emergency by the court if Judy had already booked a trailer with the monies Bob had given her paid her rent in advance in Indiana and was scheduled to leave in only four days?

What if Judy discovered through her attorney that she was entitled to ask for 10 times more than Bob was willing to offer her?  Does that change whether this puts Judy in an emergency situation.

My take on it is that Bob violated the Court Order, plain and simple and he should have to put half the money back or give half the money to Judy regardless of the $4,000 he gave her hoping that she'd go away with less than she was entitled to.

What's your take on this?  I'd really appreciate hearing from laypeople, professors, legal professionals, etc...

Authored by:

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

Attorney Pearsall's practice is focused almost exclusively in the areas of Divorce and Family law.

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 based on Rhode Island and 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.


RI Alimony - A Refresher by Rhode Island Divorce Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall

Alimony is an important concept to understand under Rhode Island law.

The Rhode Island media, in fact the media in general with television shows like, LA Law, Law and Order and articles about fat divorce settlements that include large alimony payments in the National Enquirer and even movies such as the comedy Liar, Liar leave Rhode Islanders with the notion that alimony is typical, commonplace and, in fact, an entitlement.  Unfortunately as the media creates its entertainment or information to sell more newspapers and raise its profitability can, and does, foster the idea in the minds of our citizenry that alimony really is an entitlement by a spouse and should be demanded by an aggrieved spouse who expects to suffer a decrease in his or her finances after a divorce if alimony is not granted by the court.

To gain a better understanding of Rhode Island alimony, you may wish to review the Rhode Island Domestic Relations section of the General Laws regarding Divorce & Separation, the more specific section relating to alimony appears below but since the laws are updating constantly it is always advisable to check your local library and any update services as well as the cases that interpret the Alimony statute before taking any action on your own.  The section below has been quoted, in pertinent part, from the Rhode Island Government Website as of this date.

[Exerpt]

To read the complete article on Rhode Island Alimony go to:

http://www.attorneypearsall.com/2008/05/ri-alimony.html

Also feel free to review my other articles on Rhode Island Alimony at:

http://www.rhodeislanddivorcetips.com/rhode_island_alimony_lawyer.html

http://www.christopherpearsall.com/alimony.rhode.island.family.courts.system.html

http://www.pearsall-law-associates.com/RhodeIslandDivorce-Alimony.html

 

Authored by:

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

Attorney Pearsall's practice is focused almost exclusively in the areas of Divorce and Family law.

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 based on Rhode Island and 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.


An Divorce Court Speaks through its Orders: What do you need to watch out for?

Each time a divorce or family court matter is brought before a Rhode Island Judge designated to address that matter, the Judge almost universally checks the file, reviews the docket sheet and looks at the Orders entered in the matter to tell the story or the history of what has taken place before the particular matter is heard.

The importance of Rhode Island Family Court Orders can't be emphasized enough.  It has often been said, "a court speaks through its Orders."  Though Orders in a divorce or family law matter often summarize the majority of information contained "on the record" of the court (i.e. transcribed in real-time by the family court stenographer) this quotation carries substantial truth.

Thus, the importance of the wording of the Orders becomes even more significant because once an Order is entered, its language will tell the Judge not only the history of the case but it will tell the Judge the posture of the parties.

Here's where you or your attorney need to be on your guard when reviewing a proposed order or proposing an order in your case.  You should review a proposed order carefully for wording and/or distortions that may look your position look less positive.  You should also look for language that is slipped into an Order because it may have been discussed but not agreed upon or the Judge was less than definitive on in his or her ruling.

Typical examples are as follows:

The attorneys have a chamber's conference with the Judge to try to narrow and resolve some issues and agree to bring various offers to their clients to consider.  The clients then approve the agreed upon terms and the attorneys confirm for the other attorneys and the judge that the terms are agreeable.

Then comes the scrutiny of the proposed Order.  Assume a proposed Order comes in from an opposing party and it states that "after hearing thereon, and by agreement of the parties, the following is Ordered, Adjudged and Decreed."

In this instance your eyes should gravitate to the words "after hearing thereon".

Why?  Because there was NO HEARING. 

A hearing presumes either oral argument on the record of the court or a full hearing with live testimony on the witness stand.  This did not occur here and a judge who is reviewing the file will assume that arguments were made by the parties or that testimony was taken, either of which justified the entry of the Order by the judge.  This gives the judge a substantially different picture of the circumstances surrounding the entry of the Order than if the Order simply stated "by agreement of the parties."  Strive for accuracy and as much positive language you can include that supports your position as possible.

In another instance . . . 

[Exerpt]  To read the complete Divorce & Family Law article click here ->  Attorney Pearsall.com

Authored by:

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

Attorney Pearsall's practice is focused almost exclusively in the areas of Divorce and Family law.

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 based on Rhode Island and 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.


RI Divorce Lawyers can Help You Cope with Divorce!

Coping with a Rhode Island divorce situation isn't easy.  It can be harder with children if the parents focus on their own emotions, legal and person goals and forget about the children.  Yet sometimes it can be easier with children if both parents are focused more on the well-being of the children than their own needs.

People often call to ask what I charge for a divorce without realizing that each divorce is just as different as each person coping with a divorce handles the situations, issues and emotions differently.

Though Rhode Island divorce lawyers are not "counselors" in the sense of a psychologist or other mental healthcare professional, it often falls upon the divorce attorney to address emotional and psychological issues that arise during a divorce proceeding.

In this sense a well-trained or seasoned lawyer who is also experienced in dealing with the mental and emotional fallout that accompanies a divorce can be an asset to you and your case.

Coping with divorce is an individual process. 

For instance, John may be divorcing his wife Jane after 20 years of marriage.  John is agreeable and may not have a problem at all going through the divorce process itself and reaching an amicable agreement with his spouse.

Yet John may not realize the full impact of the divorce until his first night sitting alone in his own apartment with no one to talk to, no one to a meal with and sleep in a single bed alone.  John may suddenly realize the ramifications of divorcing his wife go well beyond simply not being "happy" anymore like he felt in the first five years of his marriage.  It may not be until this point that John begins "coping with divorce."  In this instance, the Rhode Island Divorce lawyer is of little assistance and John may need to seek the assistance of a mental health professional if he finds stress, loneliness or depression taking hold.

In another case Gale may be filing for divorce from her husband Tom after a 4 year marriage.  Gale may be adamant about her divorce after she realizes that instead of attending late night meetings at the office Tom has been stopping by the local strip club.  By all accounts Gale and Tom both agree they have had an active sex life.  In this case the attorneys for either Tom or Gale may find himself or herself in the position to help Tom or Gale "cope" with their divorce.  Tom may wish to settle things quickly and be very angry because he does not want it to come out that he went to a local strip club because he also participates in the local Catholic Church as a Lector is a Knight of Columbus and is viewed a a model family man.  Tom may want to express his anger in court, need calming or need to understand how Gale might feel in this situation in order to appreciate his own conduct.  Tom's attorney, with the right approach, may be able to help Tom with his emotional struggle by directing Tom into a calmer state of mind which will foster a better attitude toward a settlement by discussing the possibilities of sealing the court record or including a non-disclosure clause in the settlement.  Tom's attorney may also be instrumental in helping Tom realize that he needs the assistance of an individual or a marriage and family counseling therapist.

The point here is that Tom's need to "cope with divorce" may arise much sooner than John's did in the prior example.  Each person's needs are different and it is those people who appreciate all the consequences of a divorce proceeding before the proceeding is completed, that can be aided by a good Rhode Island Divorce attorney who recognizes and appreciates the client's non-legal needs and assists the client either personally by helping the client deal with those non-legal issues either personally through his or her own experience or by referring the client to a licensed therapist if it appears that would be helpful to the client.

Authored by:

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

Attorney Pearsall's practice is focused almost exclusively in the areas of Divorce and Family law.

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 based on Rhode Island and 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.