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Rhode Island Divorce Lawyers - Be Careful that a Lawyer doesn't Tell You Exactly What you Want to Hear!

Uncontested RI Divorces - What Rhode Islanders Need to be wary of!

Do you have a Rhode Island divorce that you would like to settle amicably, economically and as quickly as possible?  If so, you may have an uncontested divorce.

So what do you need to be wary of? 

Simply put, hiring the wrong uncontested divorce lawyer!

You would think it would be easier, wouldn't you?  Of course you would!  After all, in an uncontested divorce the parties are more agreeable and they don't want things to be a battle.  That should mean that it makes less work for your uncontested divorce lawyer, right?

Logic would make you think that an uncontested divorce would cost less if you hire any lawyer in Rhode Island.  Sadly, it's not always the case.

Now, I want you to know that there are good lawyers in Rhode Island who will treat your uncontested divorce properly and make a real effort to settle your divorce exactly as you want it . . . amicably, economically and as quickly as possible. 

Regrettably this is not true for all lawyers who might handle your uncontested RI divorce.  As a divorce practitioner I try to maximize my time when I am in court.  Typically I am found working on another client's case to maximize my time before the Judge takes the bench or when the Judge has left the bench to hear conferences or for the morning or afternoon break.  Most of this time is spent trying to block out the chatter of other lawyers when I'm doing this.  However, many times some of it seeps in because of the nature of the conversation.

I overheard a conversation in which one lawyer determined how much it would cost for the lawyer's yearly trips abroad, the cost for payments on the lawyer's summer home, the cost of private school for the lawyer's children and other costs the lawyer had to pay.  What forced its way into my workday as I waited for my conference time with the Judge was the lawyer's statement that he/she had to bring in X number of clients each month and had to make $4,000 off each client in order to make the lawyer's desired income for the year.  The lawyers conversing with each other did not differentiate between a contested case or an uncontested case.  The lawyer's goal was simply to make $4,000 off each client regardless of the circumstances.

If you had an uncontested divorce in Rhode Island and you happened to interview the lawyer in this conversation, and you wanted an amicable, economical divorce as quickly as possible . . . would you want to know the lawyer's underlying financial goals for himself or herself?  Would you hire that lawyer if you knew that the lawyer's expectation was that the lawyer make $4,000 from you by the time your case was completed?

This is the danger Rhode Islanders and others going before the Rhode Island Family Court System and seeking an uncontested Rhode Island Divorce need to be aware of.

In one case I have represented a client whose husband engaged a lawyer who in my professional opinion is without scruples and has little concern for anything other than money.  Very shortly into the case the spouses began to be very amicable with one another.

I always make it a practice to encourage parties to be amicable and to speak with one another to resolve their issues if they are able to do so because it is not only in their own best interests but leads to a faster and less expensive divorce.  The husband apparently came to the conclusion that his divorce lawyer was not interested in being amicable or in being thrifty and the husband decided to terminate his lawyer and work out what would be an uncontested divorce with his wife.

What ensued, to my understanding, was nothing short of reprehensible to any person of moral conduct.  The lawyer supposedly improperly stated that the client could not terminate him and that the lawyer would have to file a motion and go to court and this would cost him another $600 for the court appearance plus the time he had already spent.  After what I can only presume was some form of bullying by using what I suspect to be incorrect information to his own client, the husband provided more funds to the lawyer via a post dated check.  Although the lawyer knew funds were not yet available to cover the check, the lawyer rushed to the bank and deposited it at the earliest possibility.  The husband's own lawyer then threatened that if the funds did not clear that he would "come after him" or "call the police".

Would you want this lawyer to represent you?  Would you really think this lawyer was truly representing your best interests in your divorce? 

The end result?  The husband was apparently so afraid by his own lawyer's threates that he would be sued or arrested that he did not fire the lawyer.  Somehow the husband came to believe that the consequences of terminating his lawyer would be greater than simply going through the process with the lawyer.

If you think this is an isolated lawyer and an isolated case, I must regrettably say that you would be incorrect.  While in my humble opinion this is certainly a case of unethical conduct by a lawyer who professes to look out for the client's interests until they discover otherwise, it is not an isolated incident.

All you need to do is pick up the Rhode Island Providence Journal Bulletin to see the stories about lawyers embezzling funds from clients, misusing funds, and other inappropriate conduct that often lead to lawyers being suspended or disbarred to know how important it is to find the right lawyer, especially if you are seeking an uncontested divorce.

Where do you start?

Have at least three consultations (preferably 5) with lawyers known for practicing divorce law regularly in the Rhode Island Family Court System?   Many lawyers offer free consultations.  Go ahead and take advantage of their free offer.  Note how much time you get with the lawyer.  See whether they start talking about themselves first or if they concentrate on your needs first.  Do they take the time to truly listen?  By the time you leave each consultation, make a note if each lawyer has given you any legal tips, points, or advice that you could use even if you didn't decide to hire that lawyer or if you decided to try to represent yourself.

Lastly, consider putting me on your list of divorce lawyers to see.  Now while I stopped offering the "free consultations" that my colleagues choose to offer because of the abuse of "free consultations", I charge only a nominal fee for my time.  Ultimately I have not had one person who was unhappy with the consultation and the vast majority of people want to hire me but sometimes I have to turn people away so that I can give all my clients the attention they deserve.

No matter what, you don't go away empty handed.  You leave your consultation with solid legal advice and information you can use to help and protect yourself.  Plus, I might just be able to help you get to a good attorney who, not unlike me, will have your best interests at heart.

A divorce lawyer should be guiding you to a better tomorrow, not forcing you into bankruptcy with expensive fees and costs.  You may find that all you need is a little help from me as a Rhode Island Divorce Coach and you'll be on your way to a better tomorrow.

Authored By:

Christopher A. Pearsall
176 BlackRock Road
Coventry, RI  02816

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Copyright 2009.  Christopher A. Pearsall, Esquire
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