If you are convinced that you need a Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer from the moment you are served by the constable with the summons and divorce complaint, then you have doomed yourself to automatically shelling out more money for your divorce than you might have to.
As a Rhode Island lawyer I have practiced divorce and family law almost exclusively for nearly a decade and I have been writing on the subject for better than two years now. Though I try to make all of my articles helpful to everyone, this particular article may only be helpful to one of two groups, either
1) those of you who live near enough to the Rhode Island courthouse where your matter will be heard in order to appear at every court date;
2) those litigants who find themselves in the Rhode Island Family Court for a divorce and have the financial means to travel to the court from wherever they may be at any given time in order to attend every court date in their divorce proceeding.
With this out of the way, let me strongly suggest to you that there are two simple things you could do in order to make your Rhode Island divorce more affordable.
Tip No. 1 - Represent yourself (i.e. be your own lawyer) as far along in the process as you are able to.
First, let me dispel a common divorce myth. Here it is. You are NOT required to have a lawyer to go through a Rhode Island Divorce proceeding, even if a judge tells you not to come back until you have a lawyer.
Some judges believe that it is always better for an individual to have a lawyer because a person who has no idea what they are doing can waste the court's time and wreak havoc on the court's schedule.
I must respectfully disagree with judges who harbor this belief. I agree that an uninformed individual who comes before the court and is not prepared to properly proceed before the court can cause problems. However, I believe that an informed individual who has taken the time to be informed about his or her rights and comes before the court with good intentions and reasonably endeavors to present his or her case before the court should be allowed that opportunity. It should be the goal of every member of our judiciary to educate the public about the legal system and not simply require that they be led through it like cattle to pay a substantial price for our services.
So let me be clear on this aspect before I move on to Tip No. 2. You have the absolute right to represent yourself in the Rhode Island Family Court. It may be difficult to assert this right in the Rhode Island family court to proceed through your divorce, but you do have that right. If you wish to represent yourself and you insist on doing so, the Rhode Island General Laws do not provide any statute that gives a Rhode Island Family Court Judge the power to order you to hire a lawyer for your divorce.
Practically speaking, the principle of representing yourself is commonsensical. Many people do not have the monies to hire a divorce lawyer. Others simply do not wish to expend the monies to hire a lawyer. The fact is that some people believe it is possible to represent their own interests better than any lawyer. After all, it is your life now isn't it. Who is going to look out for your best interests better than YOU? A paid attorney? No matter what the lawyer is paid . . . do you think he or she is going to have the care and concern for your life's issues that you will. I'm sorry, but short of myself and a few lawyers I know with integrity that I find beyond reproach, I don't see it happening.
Representing yourself, at least as far as you feel you can go, is practical and it is cost saving. Would you rather pay a divorce lawyer $500 to $700 or more to prepare a divorce complaint that you could prepare yourself if you had the forms and a little guidance? Would you rather pay a divorce lawyer for something his secretary has probably done a million times, OR would you rather save yourself $300 to $500 just by getting a little guidance? Tip No. 1 is purely about practicality but it goes hand in hand with Tip No. 2.
Tip No. 2 - Get a little guidance from a Rhode Island Lawyer who regularly practice Rhode Island Divorce Law!
Let me be clear on this tip. Practical Tip No. 1 that I recommend to save you some money is worthless without Tip No. 2. As much as people may think that a divorce is "No Big Deal!" This is a part of your life and it is not one that you can take the chance to screw up.
Think about it. I am a Rhode Island Lawyer and I focus my law practice exclusively in the area of Divorce and Family Law. If you think it's simple... I can tell you that you are sadly mistaken. If it were simple, I would not have had to get a 4 year bachelor's degree, pass my thesis before an oral board of professors, attend law school for four (4) years and then pass the State of Rhode Island Bar examination in order to become a lawyer and then make my entire living solely based in the area of Divorce and Family law.
Can it be that easy when I make my whole life's work in it? Hardly! In fact, keeping up with the legal changes of divorces on taxation, marital settlements, premarital property, estates, non-marital property, evidentiary changes in the admissibility of today's emails and forensic evidence, business valuations, property appreciations, psychological fathers versus biological fathers and the court's power with regard to each can be overwhelming to even the most dedicated of divorce practitioners.
This is precisely why Tip No. 1 and Tip No. 2 go hand in hand here. Am I recommending that a person represent himself or herself in his or her divorce or Rhode Island family law proceeding. Yes.... but..... only if you obtain professional guidance.
If this guidance comes from me in the way of my new Rhode Island Divorce and Family Law Coaching Practice Services GREAT! If it comes from another Rhode island lawyer who is experienced in Rhode Island divorce law and is willing to give you the necessary guidance you need to get you through the rough spots. However, DO NOT mistake the meaning of this article. DO NOT undertake Tip No. 1 without getting legal guidance from a licensed Rhode Island lawyer who is experienced in the practice in divorce and family law.
I do not recommend that a person represent himself or herself in a Rhode Island divorce or family law proceeding without professional guidance, at a minimum, in the form of divorce or family law coaching.
If you don't have enough money to engage an attorney to handle your case from beginning to end or you simply don't want to pay an attorney for things that you could do yourself, then go ahead and move forward and represent yourself . . . . as long as you get guidance along the way.
Even a blind man has a cane to guide him and tell him where the bumps, dips and slopes are so that he can make it through his journey.
It is based upon this type of thinking and this article that I now offer Full-Time Rhode Island Divorce Coaching Services to help the people of Rhode Island and those who will come before the Rhode Island Family Court System.
If you need a guide to help you through a difficult divorce or family law situation, I welcome you to consider my services. I am proud to be Rhode Island's First Full-Time Divorce and Family Law Lawyer Offering Coaching Services to save you time and money.
Christopher A. Pearsall, Attorney-at-Law
Rhode Island's Full-Time Divorce Lawyer is Now
Rhode Island's Premiere Full-Time Divorce Coach!!
Call (401) 632-6976 Now
Schedule Your Rhode Island Divorce Coaching Session!
Copyright 2009. Christopher A. Pearsall, Esquire
A New Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer for a New Millenium!
* Rhode Island licenses all attorneys in the general practice of law.
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