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December 2011

An Important Step to Protect Your Privacy When You are Being Followed, Recorded or Watched in Connection with a RI Divorce!

Are you in a RI Divorce?  Do you suspect that your spouse or your spouse's Rhode Island attorney is having you watched, tracked, or recorded?  

While there are many important steps that can, and many times should be taken to protect your privacy. This one tends to be higher on my priority list when protecting my clients.

First, don't jump to conclusions and become paranoid.  Provide your RI Divorce Attorney with the facts or other information that you have that leads you to believe that you are being watched, followed or recorded.

So what is this important step you can take?

CRUCIAL SAFETY WARNING:  Make sure you always take care of your own safety first.  I know very little about cars themselves but I have learned about divorce snoopers only through practice over the years as they have become more prevalent.  When it doubt about whether reaching for something or touching something in an area of your car that may cause injury, always bring your vehicle to a trusted professional who can assist you without injury.


One Important Step


Check your car for unusual objects that look out of place.  Keep in mind that you are looking for a device that could be used to record your location, your voice or video of you.  Shapes and sizes of these "Divorce Snooping Devices" vary too much to describe to become helpful.  Look for things that are out of place that have a microphone, lens or possibly a small blinking light.

What do you look for?  Unfortunately, there are too many types of devices to describe that are manufactured in too many shapes and sizes.  Too many of these things are readily available over the internet.  However, many people remain ignorant of the fact that in some states the actual use of these devices without the consent of the party being recorded or tracked is a crime.


Where Should You Search?

Search both the interior and exterior of the cars you use for these Divorce Snooping Devices.  

Interior Search Locations for Divorce Snooping Devices:

    1.  The glove compartment;

    2.  Both the driver and passenger visor;

    3.  Around and under both the fronts and back seats (especially in between the seats;

    4.  The ashtray area if you are not a smoker;

    5.  All additional middle compartments used to store extra items;

    6.  All compartments on each of the car doors;

    7.  Check "cavity areas" where a recording or tracking device can be taped or stuck and remain hidden from you under the front driver's column.  This is just above where the gas pedal and brake pedal are located.  Better snoopers will use these areas.  There are often similar areas in some vehicles in the same location on the passenger side as well.  Take extreme care so you don't unplug or dislocate anything that makes your vehicle operate properly.  If you want to really protect your vehicle then take it to a mechanic and have your mechanic do the search.  Even though your mechanic isn't likely to recognize a divorce snooping device, he or she is very likely to know whether what they touch is or is not dangerous (i.e. carry an electrical charge that can injure you or have sharp edges) and if it is actually a part of your car.


Exterior Search Locations for Divorce Snooping Devices:

1.  Inside both wheel wells;

2.  When the car is cold check around the muffler area;

3.  In the trunk, look and feel around everywhere for anything that seems out of place.  Some tracking devices that report your location via a GPS satellite service are not attached to anything else at all. Some of them even look like an extra light in your trunk that operates on a simple light sensor when it is a tracking device for your spouse or his or her Rhode Island divorce lawyer to track your whereabouts and discover whom you are with and where.

4.  When checking the trunk whether it is inside or outside the car, make sure you check your spare tire and that entire area that houses it.  There are usually no electronic devices of any kind in most vehicles.  If you see something that doesn't look right, contact a local dealer for your vehicle and try to identify the item before removing it.  If you can see identifying words or numbers on the item itself, it never hurts to go to, and to run multiple searches to see if you can do a word search or an image search ( to see if you can determine what you have found.

5. Check under your engine hood itself and then around the inside of the engine.  It's best to make sure that your vehicle is off and cold to prevent any injury to yourself. Look for items on the underside of the hood, in and around the engine and in the front grill of the car and around both headlight fixtures.

More articles on Rhode Island Divorce Snoopers and other techno-surveillance devices in Rhode Island Divorce and Family Law Situations to follow soon.

My Best to All for a Wonderful and Safe beginning to the New Year!

I'm Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall, The Rhode Island Divorce Coach and I'm here to help.

Call now at (401) 632-6976 for your affordable legal advice and/or coaching session!

I'm here to help!

Rhode Island Divorce Attorney Coaching Tip: Be Aware of What Untrusting Spouses are Capable of!

When trust breaks down in a relationship you'd be surprised at what can happen.  Your trusted partner can turn into your worst nightmare whether you are married or not.

Here are just five (5) ways a trusted partner has lost trust in your faithfulness can help to cause the destruction of your relationship or invade your privacy.

1.  Your trusted partner may hire a private investigator to check into anything and everything you are doing, follow you around day and night, and even cause you to become paranoid and in fear of your life.

2.  Your trusted partner could install  software on your computer to spy on you that might do everything from cataloging everything you do... to literally turning on your webcam and watching what is going on in your room without your knowledge.

3.  Your trusted partner could install remote control software that allows him or her to gain control of your computer at any time of the day or night if you have an "always on" internet connection such as dsl or cable internet, which may even include turning on or shutting down your computer whenever they want.

4.  Your trusted partner could "bug" your car with a listening and/or tracking device to hear what you are saying, record what you are saying, or even track where your car is at any point in time.

5.  Your trusted partner could obtain your passwords for online accounts you have set up, or even set up "online access accounts" with companies they know you have services with in order to obtain detailed information about what you are doing on your phone, with your texts, with your travel, in your smartphone's email, etc...

One of the most prevalent statements I hear from people who come to me for advice when they mention things that indicate any of these things may be occurring is, "my partner would never do that."

The best first step toward protection you can have is to avoid ignorance.  Any spouse who is emotionally angry or scared enough is capable (sometimes with a little encouragement or suggestion from a friend or even an attorney) of falling into the trap of becoming even more untrusting and then become untrustworthy as that partner struggles for some semblance of reasonable assurance that their world is okay and their relationship with the other partner.

As an optimistic Rhode Island attorney who hopes that parties can survive their relationship difficulties I still advise my clients of one thing.

It is this.

Your best defense is to avoid ignorance.  

Keep this statement always in the back of your mind.  

"Any partner with enough distrust or doubt in your relationship is capable of becoming your worst nightmare."

My Very Best to All for a Joyous, Happy and Safe Holiday Season!

I am Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall.   I am "The Rhode Island Divorce Coach, and I'm here to help!

Call for your affordable Rhode Island Divorce Coaching Session or Seminar and get the information you need to make the important decisions in your life.  Call now at (401) 632-6976!

Affordable RI Divorces are The Future of Rhode Island as Today's Poor Economy Lends a Helping Hand!

If a Rhode Island divorce is in your future, wouldn't you rather be an economical one?  Of course, it only makes common sense.

Why not do it yourself?  Don't think you can?  Hogwash!  It's possible.  

Is it possible in EVERY case?  No, it isn't.  Some divorces require a divorce lawyer's expertise and representation.  This could be for any number of reasons.  It could relate to issues regarding the children, the assets, the debts or perhaps the attitudes of the parties.  Yet wouldn't it make sense to know if your case requires representation or not?

The vast majority of uncontested Rhode Island divorces can be handled by the parties themselves with just a little coaching.

So how do you find out?  

Give me a call and set up an affordable Rhode Island Divorce Coaching Session. 

Is it free?  No, it isn't. It's a session I've been offering for almost 4 years as of the writing of this article and it has been a tremendous success.


All you need to do is look at both the Rhode Island and the National economy.  Our country is hurting.  Friends and colleagues all over the state and the country are losing their jobs or closing their businesses.  Unemployment is rising out of control.  The US Dollar is losing value.  President O'Bama is trying to extend unemployment payment periods again and again and again to keep families alive.  Landmark businesses that have been around for over 100 years are closing their doors forever. Families are falling apart due to major financial stresses.  This is not my opinion.  I see it on the news.  It's in our newspapers.  It's all over the internet.  It's a national condition that is so great that it can't be hidden.

People like you need affordable alternatives in divorce situations.  People like you don't just WANT it!  They NEED it!  So here I am as a Rhode Island lawyer presenting an innovative concept that works and it's an AFFORDABLE way to get through a Rhode Island Divorce.

My alternative is called Rhode Island Divorce Coaching.

Does this sound bad to you?  I developed a program that helps families get from the beginning to the end of their divorce affordably, the family unit is usually kept intact, and you spend a small amount of money at intervals that meet your budget, learn something new and achieve something you can be proud of.  

The Rhode Island Divorce Coaching concept is intended for substantially uncontested divorces and works best with spouses who do not want to literally kill each other and can still communicate with each other.  This program has helped countless people.  It has helped the Rhode Island Family Court by making sure people aren't going into court wasting the court's time because they don't know what the heck they are supposed to do or without having thought through the important aspects of their divorce.  Best of all it has helped keep the family unit intact, especially for the children.

In truth, I have not enjoyed Rhode Island Divorce and Family Law practice.  I get to see the worst of too many people, especially when a bitter divorce spirals out of control.  If you've ever worked at something that you hate doing, you know that it certainly isn't enjoyable to spend most of your day doing something that doesn't particularly make you happy. 

Rhode Island Divorce Coaching has brought a change to my practice.  In the last 3 1/2+ years I have received 100 times more testimonials and thank you cards from divorce coaching clients than I have from clients I represent.  The fact is that representation usually means a client sees himself or herself headed for conflict in their divorce proceeding but divorce coaching clients are usually looking at a smooth and amicable divorce proceeding in comparison.  

Let's just say that now I make much less money but the testimonials, thank you cards, and pictures of my client's children at Christmas make all the difference and they are worth more than any amount of money they could pay me for my services.

Consider it!  A little education, a little investment in your future and the likelihood that you are going to avoid the anxiety and stress that goes with divorce full of conflict.  That doesn't sound so bad now does it?

I'm The Rhode Island Divorce Coach and I'm here to help.

My Best Wishes to All for a Joyous and Safe Holiday Season!

Uncontested Rhode Island Divorces - More People Try to Represent Themselves but It's Getting More Difficult!

More and more Rhode Island divorces are being filed by people trying to represent themselves ("Pro Se") to save money.  But if the truth be told it's getting harder than ever to do so.  Here are just three (3) reasons why representing yourself in an uncontested divorce is getting harder.

1)  One Rhode Island Divorce Hurdle - Disclosing your finances in a divorce is no longer accomplished by a quickly filed Statement of Assets and Liabilities which was once made up of the front and back of one sheet of paper.  Now the form has to be on Green paper.  Yes, it must be on green paper or it will be rejected.  Why?  I have no idea.  I have asked clerks, assistant clerks, and even one member of what I have understood to be the committee or commission set up to recreate this very old form in the Rhode Island divorce practice why it is now green.  So far no one has an answer for me.  Perhaps it's to make it more easily locatable by the judges and court personell?  Maybe it has to be on green paper because it relates to money matters and when we think of money we think of green.

Whatever the reason, the idea is that it can be downloaded from the internet and filled in using the Microsoft Excel program and it will perform automatic calculations for you.  But here's the catch to using this great online tool.  First, it's now nine (9) pages long.  Now, if you happen to have 9 pages of mint green paper laying around your house to print out your DR-6 Statement of Assets and Liabilities then good for you.  But short of buying a whole ream of paper at Staples when you only need 9 papers of the stuff, you're probably going to buy a bunch of green paper you don't need only to go through the frustation of filling out the less than clear form which I noted has some calculation and clarification issues that upon my inquiry the committee has no intention of addressing.  For those people who have any amount of assets, the form can be both confusing and time-consuming.  

2) The Second Rhode Island Divorce Hurdle - No more handwriting your documents.  I noted that a few of the Rhode Island Family Court Clerk's windows still had signs up showing that documents had to be legibly handwritten or they must be typed.  You should disregard the signs because the powers that be in the Providence Family Court have informed me that handwritten divorce packets will not be accepted.  That is not to say that no handwritten documents will be accepted at all, but don't plan on handwriting everything.  So folks, typing is no longer optional.  So plan on typing your Rhode Island divorce documents.  You can do it yourself via some good typing skills from school or typing it via the hunt and peck method of typing or perhaps even paying someone else to type it.

3) The Third Rhode Island Divorce Hurdle - This hurdle isn't as new as the others.  Yet if you are intending to represent yourself in your Rhode Island divorce, then you better plan on it.  The Judges in family court are not there to counsel you.  They are not there to lead you through the divorce proceeding.  They are not there to ask you the questions that give them the right answers so they can hear what they need to hear.  They have a responsibility to hear your case.  However, you and your spouse have the obligation of presenting your case in the manner in which it is expected to be presented as if you went to law school and knew what you were doing.  I know of a few judges who occasionally do help people through their divorce by asking a few questions.  Sometimes those questions are just the bare basics.  Many times people DO NOT realize that even though the judge may be helping them, those questions most likely do not cover everything in your relationship, your divorce, your children, your assets, your debts, your possessions, your former name, your healthcare, etc...  So what happens if something isn't addressed?  I can't tell you because everyone's case is different... but the truth is that if something important isn't addressed then all hell is likely to be unleashed later.

Know what to say at your own divorce hearing.  

Know the questions you should have thought over and have the answers to.  

Know if your answers are acceptable to the court, BEFORE you go into court.  

Know what you and your spouse agree to.  

Ultimately, if you are going to represent yourself, DO NOT expect on the JUDGE to do it for you!  

Remember, the Rhode Island Family Court judge is NOT your divorce attorney.  The judge's job is not to protect your interests or your spouse's interests.  

So, if things fall apart now or in the future, remember that you can't go back and blame the court.  

2011 was a unique year for my Rhode Island divorce focused law practice.  About 24 percent of all the cases I handled were spent fixing issues that people representing themselves.  Keep in mind that I'm a lawyer who advocates people representing themselves if they are willing to do it right and get just a little bit of coaching.

In the end, in several cases where I had to play "Mr. Fix It", it cost the people more money for me to fix the issues than it would have cost if they had just called me and had just a little bit of coaching to get through their divorce properly.  It really is true that an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.

Divorces are part of life... YOUR LIFE!  They are important.  If you have assets, debts, real estate, children, . . . . just ONE of these factors is worth getting some coaching to get you through the divorce correctly.

If you can't find a way to pay $135 for some coaching to get through your divorce properly then you should re-think getting any legal help because that is peanuts compared to what it costs for representation by an experienced Rhode Island lawyer who knows his and/or her way around the family court.

I'm here to help you.  I'm here to guide you through, over, around and under the hurdles if need be.  I live, eat and breathe divorce in the Rhode Island family court system.  It is my entire Rhode Island law practice.   I want to help people have more uncontested divorces because it helps the parties, it helps the children, it helps the courts, and it helps our society as a whole.  

In the end, I may get to pay part of a bill from what I make on my coaching and that is it.  I don't offer coaching for the money.  I know just as well as any other lawyer that representing clients is where the real money is.  

Yet I still offer Rhode Island Divorce Coaching.  Why?  I don't do it for the money.  I do it for the PEOPLE!  I do it for YOU!  Does it sound ridiculous because you think all Rhode Island divorce lawyers just charge too much and they are all there to screw everyone over?  

Think again.  The fact is... sometimes it only takes one person to make a difference and if I happen to be the only one then so be it.  That's okay because I know one person can make a difference.  I'm going to make a difference if it kills me.

Yes, I'm Christopher A. Pearsall.  I'm a Rhode Island attorney focusing my Rhode Island practice exclusively in the area of Rhode Island Divorce.  

I am "The Rhode Island Divorce Coach" and I'm here to help and here to stay!

Happy Holidays to All for a Happy and Safe Holiday Season! 

Rhode Island Divorce Lawyers Ponder whether getting at the Truth is Prohibited in Rhode Island Family Court?

A particular Rhode Island Family Court issue arose a little more than four (4) years ago.  It was in the form of a particular question that I discussed with no less than nine  (9) lawyers only a few of whom I even remember and who shall remain nameless.  

Yet it doesn't matter who the lawyers were.  It matters that I overheard several lawyers who were unfamiliar to me discussing the same question not long ago relating to their own experiences in the Rhode Island Family Court.

The Rhode Island Family Court judges each have discretionary power by law.  Most assuredly they are the authority as to what can and cannot be done in their courtrooms short of a directive from the Chief Judge of the Family Court.

One of the main things that the Rhode Island Family Court judges generally endeavor to do is to protect and preserve the family unit as a whole.  I have not found this wording in any specific manual, statute, treatise, case law or Administrative Order of the Court.  I have learned this consistently from numerous judges over my years of practice in the family courts and before various judges.

Yet I am not the only Rhode Island Attorney who been thwarted in his or her divorce and/or post-divorce efforts at presenting the best representation possible for clients by a judge's prohibition of calling a child of the parties as a witness in a divorce or post-divorce case.  

Now, I understand and agree with the preservation of the family unit.  I am a strong advocate for uncontested divorces, reasonable people, counseling for those who need it, reunification of parents with their children if it is reasonably possible without psychological injury to minor children.

Ultimately I believe this should be a concern of the RI Family Court as a judicial institution as well as the individual family court judges appointed to serve the people and address the countless issues they hear day in and day out both fairly and equitably.

Yet it is disconcerting as a Rhode Island lawyer representing a party in, for instance a post-divorce matter involving the violation of the court's order to (1) be prohibited by a judge from calling a child of the parties as a material witness to defend my client or prove my client's case when the "child of the parties" is no longer a minor and/or when the child of the parties has insisted on testifying to reveal the truth of what he or she knows has occurred, and (2) to then have the judge berate or accuse me or my client of trying to take steps to undermine and possibly destroy the family unit.

Most assuredly, if the child of the parties were a minor of younger years then I might expect some skepticism on the judge's part and the attorney and/or client might well deserve a rebuke in the eyes of some judges.  Yet some judges have prohibited children of the parties who may be as old as 23 and who are married, have children of their own and who may have developed a career that rivals their own parents.  In such cases, wouldn't the prohibition of testimony violate a person's right to present either their case or their defense, notwithstanding a RI Family Court Judge's concern for the preservation of the family unit?

 Perhaps a proper alternative for a 17 year old might be for the RI Judge to speak with the minor child of the parties in camera with counsel so that the judge might determine the nature of the testimony, the level of it's material significance, the weight that might be given to the testimony or even the maturity level of the 17 year old minor child to determine the appropriateness of the testimony.  

Clearly some attorneys might simply call a minor child to the stand and ask questions designed to emotionally injure the other parents by using the minor child merely as a tool.  Such conduct should not be tolerated.  Yet to jump to the conclusion that this is what is happening when one party calls a child of the parties to the stand without further examination or consideration by the judge may place blind faith in mere allegations made by counsel who is zealously representing his or her client and who might clearly benefit by the exclusion of say, the 22 year old daughter who saw and/or heard the father violate the court's order directly and without hesitation.

However, might a better route be for the Judge to suss out the nature of the testimony offered by the child of the parties and it's purpose, determine any possible bias of the child, and consider other pertinent factors.

This would seem to be a more prudent route that would result in a more equitable decision and the pursuit of justice via hearing what may be the clearest indicator of the truth as to what did or did not occur rather than a family court judge simply setting a rule that in his or her courtroom a child of the parties shall not be allowed to testify regardless of age, maturity level, or the direct importance or content of the testimony itself.

There is always the fear that as practitioners before the Rhode Island family court, that if we mention an issue that may be considered by some to be controversial that as legal practitioners we might then become a persona non-gratis (a person not in favor with the court) and thereby risk that judge's will suddenly rule against our clients at every turn.

However, I choose to believe that the members of our judiciary are above such a juvenile standard of conduct.  Absent an extreme and direct encounter with a particular judge to a significantly greater degree, I believe that our judiciary is always cognizant that our family court judges are always aware that they are capable of improvement in their roles in the Rhode Island Judicial System just as we should be as Rhode Island lawyers.

This seems to simply be a matter of counter-balancing the two issues of family preservation with the search for truth with lies in each parties right to present evidence before the court to either made their case or to defend themselves against what may be unfounded allegations.

Therefore, I bring this issue to the forefront more for the consideration of the judiciary and for the betterment both of practitioners and the clients they seek to serve.

I certainly welcome any comments from the court, fellow practitioners and from the general public as I am certainly not beyond learning which I find to be a daily and never-ending practice of improvement to better serve my clients and present information to the court in a way that does not waste the court's time but also presents to the court the information needed for our judiciary to make well-informed, equitable, and just decisions for all.

Happy Holidays to the Members of the Rhode Island Family Court and to all who read my articles.