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Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer - How do I stop lots of motions after my RI Divorce is done?

To the Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer,

I could use a tip from you about how to stop my ex-wife and her lawyer from taking me back to court every single month for ridiculous motions just because she is upset that I got remarried.  How do I stop her from filing all these motions?

- Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

You pose one heck of a problem that I'm sure isn't limited to Rhode Island family courts but without more information I have to presume that you are just dealing with the Rhode Island family court system since I that is my jurisdiction of practice. 

As a Rhode Island lawyer I have had several cases with this problem. There is no law or court rule that sets a limit on the number of motions either party can file.  Without seeing the motions or knowing what they are about it is very hard to know how to answer your question because there may be a specific way to address all the motions if, for instance they are all repetitive or all contain a common thread.  Then the court might consider directing the party to create one motion that addresses the true issue rather than filing a motion on each little tiny issue involved in the big picture.  If this is the case, you could call all the motions to the court's attention and point out the similarities and trust that the court would provide some direction or that upon your own Motion to Strike that the court might strike a whole bunch of repetitive motions to get to the true issue.

If the court weren't inclined to strike your ex-spouse's motions for child custody, child support, visitation, change of placement or whatever all of these motions contain by your ex-spouse then, generally speaking, I can think of only one practical way to stop this flurry of motions.  Summed up in one word, it is "leverage."  

* * * LEVERAGE * * * 

What is leverage?  It is finding some information or circumstances that the ex-spouse does not want known to one or more persons or government agencies (not necessarily criminal) that you can use to your advantage to stop the ridiculousness.  For instance, perhaps your ex-spouse is on Rhode Island State Assistance because she has claimed she does not make enough money and qualifies for State aid, but you know that she lives with a boyfriend who pays the rent and takes care of other expenses.  You might mention to your ex-wife that if the motions do not stop, that you would hate to hear that she lost her state assistance because she didn't declare her boyfriend's household income or financial help to her. That factor just may be strong enough to get your ex-wife to stop the motions.

The leverage factor in Rhode Island family court is tricky.  It can work for you or have the opposite effect and intensify the situation.

It is entirely possible that there may be a very simple answer to your problem that I could come up with based upon your specific information if we were to sit down together and discuss you situation confidentially at length.  

However, if you are looking for a "one-size-fits-all" answer to your predicament, there just isn't one.  Unfortunately there isn't one that prevents the filing of numerous motions in all types of cases.

"For every challenge there is a solution if you expend the time, energy and resources necessary to come up with it."

Feel free to call me at (401) 632-6976 to set up your low-cost coaching and advice session and I'll be happy to meet with you and discuss what alternatives you may have available to you.

Authored By:

Christopher A. Pearsall, Attorney-at-Law

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