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April 2012

RI Divorce Lawyers Have to Protect Their Clients from Technology!

Is your greatest enemy your spouse in your divorce?

Maybe.  Maybe not.

Is your greatest evil in your RI Divorce your spouse's attorney?

Maybe.  Maybe not.

Is your greatest enemy in your divorce you and your own emotions?

That could be but most likely it's not.

What many people are finding is their greatest enemy is their own technology devices!!!


Smart phones, Cel phones, iPhones, iPads, Tablets, Androids, the Kindle Fire and other technology devices, including computers and wireless networks are coming under fire in all kinds of legal cases including Rhode Island divorces.

Is it possible or not?  Did you know?

1)  Did you know that everything you do on your computer can be recorded and sent to your spouse or anyone your spouse may designate?

2)  Did you know that your iPad or iTouch can take photographs of you and your spouse significant other or places you have been and if you post the picture anywhere on internet then anyone can find out where and when the photo was taken?

3)  Did you know that your smartphone can be used as a GPS device to track your location 24/7 (or at least your phone's location)?

4)  Did you know that your technology device can allow the microphone on your device to be a bug to listen to your conversations both during phone calls and even just when you are sitting there talking to a friend with it on a counter beside you?

5)  Did you know that every text you send might be forwarded to someone else and your own text history can be watched in real-time?

6)  Did you know that your celluar phone can be bugged and all your phone calls recorded simply by knowing your phone number?

Rhode Island divorce attorneys, old-fashioned or not, can no longer ignore the impact technology has both on their own computer networks and technology devices but also the impact it has on their clients.  

Ignorance of these things might give cause for clients to have malpractice claims against RI Divorce lawyers depending upon how long and how widespread knowledge of these dangers have reached in the technological community.

Technology spying is quickly becoming an epidemic and both lawyers and their clients need to grasp very quickly that these things dangers exist.

It is possible that some less scrupulous lawyers might be using techniques themselves or suggesting that their clients use these technologies to gain the information they need to produce a winning (or leveraged) case.

Some of these technologies are so new that they are virtually untraceable but they sit in your hands day in and day out.

Ignorance of these things is no excuse.   Lawyers need to be aware of them.  Clients need to be aware of them.  If a client screws things up after being advised of these dangers, then that falls on the client.  Yet where does the blame fall if these things exist in divorce cases and clients are not advised of these dangers because we are too busy being lawyers, who look at laws and file typical paperwork in divorce cases?  The law and the disciplinary committee here in Rhode Island have yet to speak on that subject.  Do you want your lawyer to be the first case that is addressed?  

The law has changed much more slowly than technology.  Awareness needs to be brought to the forefront!  

Whether you represent yourself or whether you have a lawyer, you need to know that technology is not necessarily your friend.  It may well be your worst enemy or your client's worst enemy.  

It is only by remaining informed and being aware of the dangers that we can take precautions for ourselves and our clients.

Did you know that if we as Rhode Island divorce lawyers by emailiing our clients back and forth we may be delivering both information and strategy to the opposing party.  

Could these be by criminal acts?  Perhaps.  It depends upon how insidious the person using the technology has been.  Sometimes loopholes in the law with allow them to do it legally.

In either case, whether legal or illegal, it doesn't stop the end result. Once you or your client is betrayed then the bell can't be unrung and the damage is done.

Some of this can not be traced so it's likely you can't even prove a crime even if there is one.  Therefore, what are you going to do? Prevention is the only cure I know of at the moment.  

All you can do is inform your client about these dangers and do everything you can to avoid their interception. 

We are only ending April 2012 right now and already this year I have seen 4 cases involving this subject and a "breach of security" as I choose to call it.

So what are the best practices to use?

Has the attorney in your RI Divorce even mentioned these things?

Has your divorce lawyer belittled techology invasions?  Technology is prevalent in our society today.  Just about every other person driving a car or even children walking down the street have cellular phones.

Don't you think your attorney should advise you of the dangers if you have a computer, iPad, smart phone, Tablet, cel phone, GPS or other technology device so you can make important decisions about the risks you are willing to take?


I watched a video this afternoon as I learned how a 12 year old kid easily hack into his neighbors wireless WEP/WPA2 encrypted and password protected network in 12 minutes or less without the neighbor even knowing about it.

Does it scare you that all your private and confidential information held by your attorney might be accessible by a 12 year old kid on your lawyer's computer network?

Imagine what an adult with that information could do!  Why did I see the video?  The child was doing a tutorial on how anyone can do it and he showed you how.  It put me into shock that this kind of content was easily available on the internet.

If it doesn't put you into shock and you are in a family law matter, then you need to call me now at 401-632-6976 so that you can get informed!  This is not big!  IT IS HUGE!!   It is happening every day and is becoming as common as corporate espionage that might be used to obtain company trade secrets.

This information may save you divorce case AND protect you privacy!  You don't get a second chance on something like this.

Once the information get's out, then it's out.  You can't get it back and you may not be able to stop it if you don't act now.  Don't become a victim!

It's only $145 for a one hour techno-legal advice session.  Remember, when it comes to your privacy, you don't get a second chance!  Call me now at (401) 632-6976.  

All my Best to All Who Go Before the Rhode Island Family Court,

I am Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall and I am "The Rhode Island Divorce Coach."

Technology Crimes on the Rise in Rhode Island Divorces!


Imagine this.  You have a girlfriend and her name is Silvia.  You live together with her and Silvia brought a computer when she moved.  Silvia gave you permission to use the computer to check your personal email from time to time.  

You suspect Silvia is seeing some guy so you install spy software on the computer.  The spy software later tells you that Silvia has, in fact, been seeing not one, but two other men while she has been living with you in what you thought was a monogamous relationship. 

 Well, whether your name is Jack, Chris, Bob, or Bill the fact is that a quick reading of the Computer and Technology Crimes section of the Rhode Island General Laws will tell you that you just committed a crime.  

Essentially, what you've done is the equivalent of hacking into someone's computer. When you install software that you have not been given permission to install on a computer that does not belong to you and you receive information that the owner of the computer didn't authorize you to have then you've crossed a legal line from snooping to crime.

This may, or may not be serious criminal offense depending upon how many times you have had contact with the criminal system, but the idea is that it's a CRIME!


Now here is where it tends to boggle the mind.  Let's say that it's the same scenario but after Silvia moves the two of you get married.  A weeks later Silvia buys a computer with a credit card in her own name.  

Now you suspect the same thing while you are married to Silvia and you install the spy software on the computer and find out the same information.  

Guess what?  You didn't commit a crime!  

That's right!  The computer is most likely to be considered marital property by the family court because it was bought during the course of the marriage.  Therefore, technically it belongs to both of you. Installing spy software on your own computer isn't a crime!    

Well, let me tell you something that may be hard to swallow.  Tens of thousands of spouses who lack security in their marital relationships are spying on their spouses.  Yes, it's sad.  What is even sadder is when you expect to have your privacy respected whether you are married or not and yet once you are married, that privacy goes right out the door in many ways.

Unfortunately, this is being used as a major tactic in divorces these days.  Even when one spouse seizes control of a family computer or cellular phone, etc...  it still may be marital property and still may be bugged or contain spyware.  

Private investigators are slowly becoming a thing of the past and amoral tactics like disregarding your spouse's privacy by using family law loopholes to allow you to bug spouses technology devices your spouse uses is now becoming a new divorce tactic.  As long as it's not illegal, then a divorce lawyer can recommend it to the client.

Scary isn't it!  The number of people doing this, and attorney's recommending this is on the rise and the tactics of the people employing them are escalating to the level of criminal conduct.

There are ways to protect yourself based upon the circumstances but they must be done carefully in order to make sure that your privacy is protected by law.

Do you suspect you are being tracked?

Do you wonder if your spouse knows your every move and is having you followed?

Do you care if this happens?

Is there anything that could be twisted in your divorce proceeding to make you look bad?

Do you even consciously think about what you are texting and your choice of words or do you just let the texts fly?

All it takes is a little thoughtlessness or a sloppy divorce lawyer to allow these things to go unchecked and allow things to spiral out of control.

If you suspect foul play with your technology devices, then it may be worth your while to call to me for a Technology Investigation Session.  

I've been investigating computers relating to divorce cases for 5 years now and while the court might not recognize me as an expert, it helps to know quite a bit about both divorce law and today's technology in a single package.

Your Privacy is Precious!  Don't let someone rob you of it!

Call Now at (401) 632-6976 to set up your Divorce Technology Session to find out what you can do to find out if you could be the victim of technology privacy invasion!

All my Best to All Who Go Before the Rhode Island Family Court,

I am Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall and I am "The Rhode Island Divorce Coach."

Vested versus Non-Vested Pensions - How are they treated in a Rhode Island Divorce Case?


Attorney Pearsall, my wife and I are getting divorced in Rhode Island.  I have a pension that has been building up due to accrued time that I have put in over the years with my employer.  Ultimately, I don't know what it will amount to as far as monies are concerned when it finally vests or when I start taking pension distributions but it is something I feel strongly that I don't want touched.  How might the court treat my pension?



Thank you for your divorce question.  Pensions are certainly no stranger to the family court.  Generally speaking, the Rhode Island Family Court has the power to distribute only what is determined to be a marital asset of the parties.  

So a more direct question is, "what part of your pension is a marital asset."  If you started accruing time toward your pension before you got married, then that time and the monies that are attributable to it are not a marital asset, they are considered yours.  This is where the tricky part comes in.  Since your pension in particular is based on an accumulation of years which coincides to a certain amount of money once it is vested, then only the years you were married to your spouse are considered a marital asset that can be divided between you and your spouse.  However, if you have no actual monetary contributions to the pension and if you were to die today noone would get anything, then your pension's value is worthless as far as a value before the court.

If, on the other hand, you had contributed to your pension and you had contributions in the amount of say $32,000 but the pension hadn't vested and if you were to die today your beneficiary of the pension would merely get the contributions back, then that is the value of the pension $32,000.  Therefore, as long as all of the contributions were made during your marriage, then the $32,000 is a marital asset in your unvested pension that is subject to division between you and your spouse.

It can be a little tricky in Rhode Island divorces, especially when you are dealing with pensions, annuities, disability based incomes and retirement vehicles as to what is and what is not a marital asset divisible by the family court.

On the whole, whatever those marital years are, or whatever monies, if any, they may amount to before your pension vests are generally thought by many lawyers and judges to be divisible with 50% going to each party.  

Why is that the thought when Rhode Island is an equitable division (i.e. fairness based upon the circumstances) state for divorce purposes?  Well, the rationale often used is fairly logical.  It is simply that retirement vehicles such as pensions, 401K's, IRAs, etc.. were intended so that the parties would share those things equally when they retire.  Therefore, it makes sense to share the marital portion equally.

Typically, if a pension is vested then this becomes a rather complicated actuarial computation.  The computations is usually performed by the administrator of the pension at the time of distribution.  The administrator takes care of the distribution depending upon either what was settled upon by the parties to resolve their divorce, or what was ordered by the court, though usually the two are identical if the parties reached a resolution to their divorce by agreement.

In your particular case, you mention having a pension that has not yet vested. The question then must be asked whether it will vest before your divorce proceeding is done, if it will then you may have to do some bargaining with your spouse to make some trade-offs so your spouse doesn't take his or her rightful share of your pension.

If your pension has not vested, then it may have the value of it's contributions or it may be valueless.

As you can tell, this can be a complicated factor in divorces.  It is always best to consult a highly skilled legal professional to understands the ins and outs of your particular plan and the situations that may arise in the division of any plan.

I often explain to people that divorce doesn't have to be so difficult and confusing but make no mistake about it.  Divorce can be as complex as any other area of law with its finer points and details that can too easily be overlooked.

Take the time to get good legal advice.  It's worth it!

All my Best to All Who Go Before the Rhode Island Family Court,

I am Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall and I am "The Rhode Island Divorce Coach."

Affordable Uncontested RI Divorces are Possible with the Rhode Island Divorce Coach

Do you have an uncontested RI divorce but you need to know how to navigate the divorce process to get from A to Z?

You can.  With just a little help from the Rhode Island Divorce Coach!

Do you know how to fill in the Rhode Island Divorce Forms properly?

You can.  With just a little help from the Rhode Island Divorce Coach!

Do you need to know how to make sure your spouse lawfully receives the divorce papers?

You can.  With just a little help from the Rhode Island Divorce Coach!

Do you need to know what issues you need to resolve with your spouse to satisfy the court?

You can.  With just a little help from the Rhode Island Divorce Coach!

Do you need to know what to say to the court at your Nominal Divorce Hearing?

You can.  With just a little help from the Rhode Island Divorce Coach!

Do you need to know how to create a Decision Pending Entry of the Final Judgment?

You can.  With just a little help from the Rhode Island Divorce Coach!

Do you need to know how to create a Final Judgment of Divorce?

You can.  With just a little help from the Rhode Island Divorce Coach!

Do you need to know how to fill out a Child Support Guideline Worksheet?

You can.  With just a little help from the Rhode Island Divorce Coach!

Do you know how to fill out the CSS-1 Form?  Do you know what a CSS-1 Form Is?

You can.  With just a little help from the Rhode Island Divorce Coach!


Uncontested RI Divorces can be simpler and more affordable than hiring an expensive Rhode Island Divorce lawyer to do all the work for you.  

How do I know that?  I've been helping people like you for almost 4 years now.  The tremendous success rate of the program is nothing short of phenomenal.

Why do I do it?  It's not the money.  It doesn't make much money.  

I offer Coaching because people like you need it.  Years ago, I needed just what I offer today but it wasn't invented yet.

Thankfully many people have found a safe, affordable and amicable way to get through their divorce without an expensive family law attorney.

Experience it for yourself!  

The Time?  1 Hour

The Cost?  $145.00

The Value of Knowing the Divorce Process and Your Legal Rights?  



All my Best to All Who Go Before the Rhode Island Family Court,

I am Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall and I am "The Rhode Island Divorce Coach."

Cope with Your Rhode Island Divorce by Separating The Two Key Components!

History to Remember

It is important to remember that family courts did not always exist.  Back as far as Old England itself and even into the 1970's in State of Rhode Island the Family Court itself did not exist.  In fact, what we know as divorce and family court's today were part of the court that handled civil contracts.

It wasn't until the volume of cases began to rise and the court's saw the increasing number of issues regarding varying matters regarding families that the powers that be created a separate court from the superior courts to handle specifically those matters relating to family type issues.

With this in mind, let me show you how you can cope with your own Rhode Island Divorce more easily by making a single distinction in your mind. 

Understanding What A Marriage Really Is!

When you got married you most likely did so because you established a "love" relationship with your spouse that was deep enough that you believed that you could make certain promises to one another and keep those promises.  So, you both took your relationship beyond feelings and decided to to formalize it so you would both be recognized by others and by law as a single unit which carried with it certain benefits and liabilities relating to one another.

In short, you took the "Relationship" and formalized it so the law would recognize it as a "Marriage."  When you get married, the Relationship itself (i.e. the feelings and emotions both spouses have toward one another) almost invariably does not change at the time you get married the only thing that happens is the creation of a legal relationship. 

So how in the world does this help you cope with divorce, right?

Okay… here's how it helps.  By understanding that these two things are different, you can address them more appropriately. 

Understanding What A Divorce Really Is!

A "divorce" in the family court is a legal procedure to allow one or both parties to sever the legal contract they made that gained them benefits provided by law to those called "married."

A marriage simply creates a legal connection (a "contract") between you and your spouse.  

During your legal contract you may have had children, acquired assets and accumulated debts.  

Divorce is simply a legal procedure set up fairly sever the legal contract (called "marriage") between the two partners who made the contract.

So how are legal contract issues most often handled?  If they are handled with a lawyer then the lawyer usually handles the majority of the legalities and advises you of your rights, alternatives and options.  As the client, you then weigh those rights, alternatives and options using your own logic and reason and with the lawyer's advice you give your lawyer instructions on how you would like to proceed.  If you handle this legal process yourself, then you may research your own rights, alternatives and options.  Then, as a smart and prudent person would, hopefully you would make your decisions based upon your own logic and reason.

The Single Greatest Problem That Causes Contested Divorce Proceedings

Yet there is no denying the single greatest problem that arises in divorce proceedings.  

The problem is that people more often than not pour their hurt, anger, rejection, betrayal and other strong emotions into their divorce proceeding.  Though it is understandable, I truly believe that everyone could benefit from understanding the distinction that the hurt, anger, rejection, etc… are part of what you and your spouse believe divorce means to your relationship.  It is the person's own projection of their emotional issues thrown into a logical legal proceeding.  

There is relatively little argument against the fact that emotions, especially strong emotions, block your ability to think logically and make practical decisions based upon facts.  It's like taking the alphabet and trying to do mathematical equations with them.

Too many people equate the Relationship with the process of addressing the breakdown of the Legal Contract called Marriage, namely the "Divorce process."  

Your "Relationship" consists of the feelings, emotions, and level of intimacy you have between you and your spouse.

A "Marriage" on the other hand is the legal connection you have with your spouse.  You are certainly free to disagree with me on this because religiously I have always understood it much differently, yet I've had my eyes opened quite a bit after years of divorce work and separating legal proceedings from religious beliefs.

So, what is the best way to handle a divorce?  Two Steps,

1)  Use your logic, reason and the advice of a good lawyer (or your own common sense) to address the resolution of your divorce.

 2)  Address your feelings by going to a good counselor or therapist to get some professional third-party assistance to help you with your feelings and emotions so that they don't exacerbate your problems by allowing your emotions to cause conflict in the court proceedings.

 By separating the two aspects, you keep your RI Divorce proceeding from spiraling out of control and you are able to more smoothly handle your divorce process and maintain your mental health in the process.


All my Best to All Who Go Before the Rhode Island Family Court,

I am Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall and I am "The Rhode Island Divorce Coach."