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December 2010

The Rhode Island Divorce Coach speaks - Do Legal Custody Agreements get Rubber Stamped by RI Family Court Judges??

Many people wonder when their Rhode Island Divorce or Family Law case comes before the court if the court will just approve the decision(s) they as parents may have reached regarding the legal custody of their minor child(ren).

You can stop wondering Rhode Island litigants.  The truth is that rubber stamping by the court does not always happen.  Yet why is that?  Why can a judge trump an agreement you've made with your spouse about the well-being of your child.  

If you've ever watched any version of Star Trek or any of it's newer counterparts then you will understand what I am about to say here.  Regardless of whether you have a Rhode Island divorce or a child custody dispute in the Rhode Island family courts, the Judges have a "prime directive" above all else that needs to be adhered to and which they do a pretty good job identifying.  It is this... protect the best interests of the minor child(ren) whatever the case may be.  So don't expect to simply make an agreement as parents and expect that the court will accept it to.  The court does not have to accept your agreement if for any reason the judge has any reason to believe that one or the other or you may not be acting in the child(ren)'s best interests.

This veto of Rhode Island parents' agreements doesn't happen "often" but it does happen.  Judge's know that sometimes that a parent may be under duress by the other parent or that either parent may agree to terms that are less than beneficial to the minor child for the sake of "not rocking the boat" or preserving their relationship with the minor child over what is doing what is best for him or her.  In instances such as these a Judge may use his or her authority and/or discretion to step in and do what is truly best for the minor child or in the very least require an explanation from each parent why they reached the decision they did and how they see it to be in the best interests of the minor child(ren)

So, what might trigger a Rhode Island Family Court Judge to exercise that veto authority?  

Imagine that you are a judge.  You have an agreement between two parents before you and they agree to share joint legal custody.  Yet the judge already knows from earlier statements that the father has a criminal record.  Upon inquiry the RI Family Court judge finds out that the father's criminal record is only a few years old, that it goes back 10 years and that it contains numerous arrests for cocaine sales to minors as well as possession of cocaine.  No matter how good a mother thinks that father may be, that judge's common sense is at work.  Clearly this man has broken the law not once but several times.  These offenses are fairly recent and they relate not only to drugs but to sales to minors.  

A judge could easily draw the conclusion that this Rhode island Father has a problem making good decisions for his own life.  A Rhode Island Family Court judge might be of the opinion that this father isn't a good role model and because his own choices are poor for his own life that he should not have even 1/2 of the say in major/important decisions for a minor child.  Therefore, that Family Court Judge might intervene to protect the child and deny the approval of the agreement based upon the circumstances because the court has it's most important role in protecting the children within our state and subject to our family court system.

In a nut shell, the general standard that I have always applied and it seems to have rung true with the Rhode Island Family Court justices thus far is this, "If a parent demonstrates that he or she has not or does not make appropriate decisions regarding their own life, then the court will seriously question whether such a parent should be given the continued right to make important decisions for a minor child who may not know any better and is relying upon the judgment of that parent."

Will the Family court rubber stamp a legal custody agreement between two parents.  The answer is, "Not Always!"  It should never be presumed that the court will do so.  The parents should know each other's background from a decision making standpoint.  If either parent would question the other's decisions for their own lives in the slightest, then concern should be given to whether the court will approve the agreement

Keep in mind, if you are a parent with a good track record of making good decisions for yourself and suddenly you agree to joint legal custody when you know the other parent is not suitably fit to make decisions for their own life and therefore for a minor child as well, then you have just caused your own credibility and your actual concern for your child's best interests as an issue before the court.  You have literally shot your own credibility out the window.  It's not a good position to be in.  Now the court may wonder if either or you are to be trusted.  In extreme cases, a judge might even pull the child from your placement and give temporary placement of your child to the State of Rhode Island Division of Youth and Children giving you no say at all and throwing your child into a world in which he or she is confused, has lost his or her stability and may now suffer permanent trauma all because you tried to enter into an agreement that the Family Court Judge believes you knew or should have known was not a good idea.

Don't count on a rubber stamp from the court on your agreement no matter what any Rhode Island divorce or family law attorney tells you.  Even rubber stamps need re-inking and sometimes they just don't have that ink when your lawyer hopes they do.  A good attorney will give you a good evaluation right at the outset and tell you what to expect even if it means you won't be hiring him or her.  Don't just go with the first attorney who tells you what you want to hear.  

 

Authored By:

Christopher A. Pearsall, Attorney-at-Law

Rhode Island's Full-Time Divorce* Lawyer is Now
Rhode Island's Only Divorce and Family Law Coach
!!

Discover the Tremendous Benefits You Receive by 

Participating in Family Law Coaching Sessions!

Visit the RhodeIslandDivorceCoach.com

Call (401) 632-6976 Now
to
Schedule Your Low-Cost Rhode Island Divorce* or Family Law* Coaching Session!

Experience the Difference!

Copyright 2007 to Present.  Christopher A. Pearsall, Esquire
 Offering Rhode Island Rhode Island Divorce and Family Law Coaching for a New Millenium!

* The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all attorneys in the general practice of law.  The court does not license or certify any lawyer as an expert or specialist in any particular field of practice.

- - Recommended Websites - -

Pearsall.net | AttorneyPearsall.com | Rhode Island Divorce Tips | ChristopherPearsall.com | GuaranteedWealth.com | Rhode Island Divorce Attorney | Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer | ChrisPearsall.com | LegalScholar.com | Pearsall-Law-Associates.comRhode Island Divorce Attorneys | Rhode Island Divorce Lawyers | Rhode Island Divorce Coach  |  RI Divorce Coach | RI Divorce Lawyer on Twitter | Rhode Island Divorce Coach on Twitter | Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer on Facebook.com| Attorney Chris Pearsall at LawGuru.com | Rhode Island Family Law Lawyer - RI Consumer Tips


The Rhode Island Divorce Coach Explains Rhode Island Legal Custody!

Without all the legalese that goes with it, the Rhode Island Family law principle of Joint Legal Custody refers to the legal right of parents to make major decisions regarding their minor children.

In Rhode Island Family law cases joint legal custody is usually the norm.  Joint legal custody means in principle that both the father and the mother of a minor child each have equal decision making authority when it comes to major issues affecting their minor child's life.  It wouldn't be too out of line to say that on major decisions affecting are minor child's life the father has a 50% say and the mother has a 50% say.

Keep in mind that we are talking about MAJOR decisions here.  What are MAJOR decisions?  Our Rhode Island Supreme Court has narrowed them into four (4) types or categories, namely Health, Education, Religion and those major things in life that affect the GENERAL WELL-BEING of the minor child.

 Examples aren't too hard to identify.  It is easily a major Health decision for a minor child if the child is struck by a car and a decision must be made about what is best for the child if two methods of proceeding with an emergency surgery are proposed by opposing surgeons.  

In the area of education, a frequent Rhode Island family law decision Rhode Island courts must often address is the difference of opinion between whether a child should go to private school or remain in public school.

Religious preferences for children are frequently a subject to debate when the father may want the children to be raised in the Mormon tradition but the mother wants the children raised as Roman Catholics.  

The last category referred to as the GENERAL WELL-BEING of the minor child attaches to anything that has a major affect on a minor child's life but does not fall into the other categories.  One example of this might be the minor child's participation in a sport or activity that the mother and father disagree upon such as a cliff diving for a child who is only an avid swimmer.  The father may believe it to be a good thing that the minor child conquer a fear of heights and swimming by such an activity.  Yet the mother might learn that this is not a professionally trained group who know what they are doing but rather a group of kids who merely put together a cliff diving club they put together for popularity rather than with proper training or supervision.

Now that your understand Rhode Island Legal Custody fundamentals, doesn't it make sense that a father and mother should share equally in the decision-making process for these major decisions?

When there is a tie and the parents can't agree, you proceed to Rhode Island Family Court and if you don't reach agreement or come to a compromise the Family Court Judge makes the decision to break that "tie" to do what is in the best interests of the minor child.

When is joint legal custody?  When should one parent be awarded sole legal custody?  If you are in a divorce and you agree to joint legal custody in a friendly / nominal divorce hearing, the judge just approves the parties' agreement, right?

The answers may surprise you!  The next article will be published soon.  Stay tuned.  Information is the most important thing you can have in any Rhode Island family law matter.

Need information specific to your RI legal custody case?

Get a legal advice in coaching session at an affordable price from an experienced long-term practitioner.  

Give me a call.  Set up an appointment.  I'll make sure you know the alternatives and the risks before you consider legal action or hire any attorney.

 

Authored By:

Christopher A. Pearsall, Attorney-at-Law

Rhode Island's Full-Time Divorce* Lawyer is Now
Rhode Island's Only Divorce and Family Law Coach
!!

Discover the Tremendous Benefits You Receive by 

Participating in Family Law Coaching Sessions!

Visit the RhodeIslandDivorceCoach.com

Call (401) 632-6976 Now
to
Schedule Your Low-Cost Rhode Island Divorce* or Family Law* Coaching Session!

Experience the Difference!

Copyright 2007 to Present.  Christopher A. Pearsall, Esquire
 Offering Rhode Island Rhode Island Divorce and Family Law Coaching for a New Millenium!

* The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all attorneys in the general practice of law.  The court does not license or certify any lawyer as an expert or specialist in any particular field of practice.

- - Recommended Websites - -

Pearsall.net | AttorneyPearsall.com | Rhode Island Divorce Tips | ChristopherPearsall.com | GuaranteedWealth.com | Rhode Island Divorce Attorney | Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer | ChrisPearsall.com | LegalScholar.com | Pearsall-Law-Associates.comRhode Island Divorce Attorneys | Rhode Island Divorce Lawyers | Rhode Island Divorce Coach  |  RI Divorce Coach | RI Divorce Lawyer on Twitter | Rhode Island Divorce Coach on Twitter | Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer on Facebook.com| Attorney Chris Pearsall at LawGuru.com | Rhode Island Family Law Lawyer - RI Consumer Tips


A Rhode Island Divorce Lawyering and Coaching Tip for RI Divorce Self-Defense

 

As a Rhode Island Divorce lawyer I can tell you that if you disregard the emotions that divorce brings on and the irratic behavior that results from those emotions then you are setting yourself up for a world of hurt.

Divorce brings about the worst in people and while I'd prefer not to dwell on the negative side of divorce litigants and the tragedy they cause to others, I cannot ignore that they exist, nor should you.  In fact, ignoring the emotional fallout of a Rhode Island divorce is a mistake. 

Do not underestimate what a scorned or upset spouse may resort to in order to hurt you emotionally or to get in your divorce.  I could tell you stories that chances are you would not believe.

I myself as a divorce lawyer have had to take protections from clients and opposing parties who "went off."

So take the following minimal divorce coaching advice with the degree of seriousness it deserves. 

Protect Yourself! 

This includes your children, your home, your computer, your cellular phone, your automobiles, your home phone, your bank of accounts, your place of employment and yes even your garbage!

You are a person.  You have your privacy.  You expect it to be free from invasion.  Often it is not!  Hackers and surveillance specialists are everywhere.  Now whether you care to believe it or not, there are people in and around Rhode Island who are available for hire to break into your home, track your car, hack into your computer or bug it, use audio devices to overhear your conversations, and violate both your state and federal rights. 

Yes, people will resort to ciminal acts get at every aspect of your life because they are angry.  If you think that your spouse's overzealous attorney is the devil incarnate but you don't believe they would do anything illegal, unethical or underhanded for their client then think again.

You cannot take too much care to protect your privacy.  Your spouse who was calm for years can turn into your worst nightmare because he or she is a bubbling teapot just waiting to blow off years of steam that you never saw coming.

I will write more articles on specifics, but let me emphasize the importance of this. 

You CANNOT take too much care to protect your privacy. 

Your privacy is your personal space.  It is where you believe you are secure and safe.  Yet make no mistake about it . . . it can be invaded and you can be victimized in less than 20 minutes.

Yes, 20 minutes or less.  Take this tip to heart. It only takes minutes to create destruction, phony emails, false phone records, forged documents, fraudulent bank records, bogus child pornography and more. 

It can occur at work in your desk drawer, on your laptop, in your car, on your personal computer at home or on your cel phone or PDA.

If you don't look out for these things and your Rhode Island Divorce lawyer does not take them with the level of seriousness they deserve and keep up to speed by knowing about the fundamentals to advise you, then you could be a victim who gets less than you deserve in a divorce. 

If you are portrayed as a pervert you may not get to see your children for weeks on end.  You may lose  your right of legal custody.  You may even be ordered to attend rehabilitation or even sent to the ACI because of fraudulent documents brought forth in your divorce that show you to be addicted to drugs or a child pornographer.

Don't let it happen!  Be aware.  Remain vigilant and know that it can happen.  Protect yourself.  If you don't, you have no one else to blame but yourself.

I'm here to help you be aware of these things and to coach you on protective measures.  Many attorneys don't know these things or don't care because directly that is not their JOB.  I understand that. 

Yet they are dealing with YOUR LIFE!  And your life IS their job in my personal opinion!  The law isn't going to protect you, even with the best lawyer, if you don't know the protective measures to take against people who are willing to violate the law.

I will be happy to have a Coaching Session with you for 1 hour for $135 to help you with these issues and make you aware of them.  Too much money?  The consequences could be tens of thousands of dollars.  It could mean the loss of your privacy.  It could mean criminal charges.  It could mean supervised visitation with your children. 

The time to pay attention to these things is before you become a divorce victim, not when it's too late.

I will not live or die on $135.00 for that hour.  It will not make me or break me.  It is not worth anything to try to screw anyone out of $135.00 since people seem to believe that every lawyer is just out for your money.  If you think this is too much, that's okay.  Don't call and know that I wish you the best.

With what I have seen and what I know, if $135 isn't worth it to you to know what can happen, how it happens and how to protect yourself from it, then I wish you the best.  Too many people could have used my help before it happens.  Too many people contact me too late.

I'm here to help and just make a living.  Good lawyers who truly care about people do exist in Rhode Island.  I do not hesitate to say that I'm living proof of it and I'm here for you if and when you need be.

Just remember, protect yourself.  Awareness that your privacy is at risk is crucial in every Rhode Island divorce.

Authored By:

Christopher A. Pearsall, Attorney-at-Law

Rhode Island's Full-Time Divorce* Lawyer is Now
Rhode Island's Only Divorce and Family Law Coach
!!

Discover the Tremendous Benefits You Receive by 

Participating in Family Law Coaching Sessions!

Visit the RhodeIslandDivorceCoach.com

Call (401) 632-6976 Now
to
Schedule Your Low-Cost Rhode Island Divorce* or Family Law* Coaching Session!

Experience the Difference!

Copyright 2007 to Present.  Christopher A. Pearsall, Esquire
 Offering Rhode Island Rhode Island Divorce and Family Law Coaching for a New Millenium!

* The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all attorneys in the general practice of law.  The court does not license or certify any lawyer as an expert or specialist in any particular field of practice.

- - Recommended Websites - -

Pearsall.net | AttorneyPearsall.com | Rhode Island Divorce Tips | ChristopherPearsall.com | GuaranteedWealth.com | Rhode Island Divorce Attorney | Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer | ChrisPearsall.com | LegalScholar.com | Pearsall-Law-Associates.comRhode Island Divorce Attorneys | Rhode Island Divorce Lawyers | Rhode Island Divorce Coach  |  RI Divorce Coach | RI Divorce Lawyer on Twitter | Rhode Island Divorce Coach on Twitter | Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer on Facebook.com| Attorney Chris Pearsall at LawGuru.com | Rhode Island Family Law Lawyer - RI Consumer Tips