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May 2012

Question to the Rhode Island Divorce Coach about Motions for Temporary Orders or Allowances?


Attorney Pearsall, I have a neice that I am trying to help out with a very difficult situation. To keep her anonymous, I'll call her Tracy.

Tracy married Brian about 15 years ago.  Tracy had a promising career and a very good education but she gave up working as a graphic designer to raise their two children.  The kids are age 13 and 10 right now and they are her whole world.  Tracy hasn't worked in 15 years.

Before filing for divorce Brian took Tracy's name off all the bank accounts, confiscated the checkbook from her and took the debit card out of her purse.  They have a house and he pays the house bills right now but he has given Tracy an ultimatum that she has 3 months to get up to speed with her job skills, get a job and pay 1/2 of everything or he'll fight to take the kids from her and not give her any money at all.  Brian is the only source of income for their family.  Brian is the jealous type and thinks that Tracy has been having an affair when she hasn't.

What can Tracy do in this situation?  Tracy is already cut off from all the monies of the family and she doesn't know what Brian has done with their savings account and other accounts.    Any help would be appreciated.  Tracy is a mess over this divorce and she is frazzled to the bone.  There must be something she can do.

Thanks for any help you can provide.


There's no easy answer for Tracy.  Many spouses do this in a Rhode Island divorce either with or without their lawyer's advice.  I call this move a "pre-emptive strike" by a spouse in order to leverage their position to try to coerce their spouse into giving into their demands.  What happens is up to Tracy!

If Tracy has already filed for divorce, and it's early on in your proceeding, then Tracy could file what is known as a Motion for Temporary Allowances  otherwise known by many lawyers as a Motion for Temporary Orders.  The idea is that the parties can't wait for the matter to be heard in full by the court and needs some orders in place so that the parties can each continue to function.  For instance, if the Children are residing with Tracy, then she would ordinarily ask for child support for the children as well as a contribution for medical care which would either reimburse the State of Rhode Island for state assistance that the custodial parent of the Minor children may be taking advantage of or child care that is necessary for either party to work and support the children.

There types of relief Tracy can request is as broad as the mind can think of.  Can the Rhode Island family court grant "every" kind of relief?  No.  You will find that without either testimonial documentary evidence at a formal hearing, the court will be reluctant to order anything except what the parties may mutually agree to.

Temporary allowances is to get relief ordered from the court sooner rather than later because the type of motion puts the court on notice that relief is needed in advance of the court's intervention at trial.

How you approach the requests for relief to the court is important.  Sometimes the manner and order in which you request the relief can make a difference too.

What should or could Tracy ask for in this situation?

1.  Child Support for the Children?

2.  Contributions toward the marital bills that need to be paid?

3.  Orders requiring Brian to put back the monies he previously deposited into the joint account for the benefit of the wife and children as well?

4.  Attorney's fees for Tracy because she doesn't have money to pay for her attorney or had to borrow the money to hire a lawyer?

5.  Orders freezing any assets in Brian's name to protect Tracy from any future damage?

6.  Order Brian to pay all the bills?  With a hearing?  Without a hearing?

7.  Spousal support for Tracy herself to help her survive and rehabilitate herself?

These are only a few questions to ask yourself and things you need to know the answers too.  Do you know if these can be done?  In fact, some of them can.  It is only in some instances that the court is limited in what it can do for Tracy.

What do you need to prove to the court in order to get any of the items of relief I have mentioned above?  Can you prove these things by an affidavit?  Can your attorney simply represent to the court what you are requesting and why?  Do you need to be sworn in and testify under oath in order to obtain the relief from the court? 

The fact is that each circumstance will vary depending upon what you are requesting and what the level or proof is that is needed.

Let's assume that Tracy files for divorce and needs immediate relief for the sake of the children.  Can she do anything different?  Can she request any or all of the things noted above.  Yes, she can but she could or would do so on an Ex Parte Basis where the party requesting the relief would do so by a Motion, Affidavit in Support of the Motion and his or her presence to confirm for the Judge that he or she has testified truthfully under oath regarding what is contained in the affidavit.

In fact, there are many ways to handle each and every situation that Tracy may encounter or need help with and each one may be different.  Tact and approach may be a big factor in the presentation as well as the content and manner of the presentation.  None of these things come easy to an attorney, let alone Tracy who may be representing herself in her own divorce.

Does Tracy have options available to her to request help from the family court.  Absolutely!  Yet Tracy may only have one chance to make the request and get it right.

Law is not as easy as people make it seem.  Most of the time there is no definitive answer because family court judges have tremendous discretion in their decisions, including the laws that govern and guide that discretion.

Do you know someone who is in such position?  Perhaps it is you!  If so,  you need to know your rights and your options before you can make any decisions at all.  Without information then our decisions may be the wrong one.  Your legal rights, the court's procedure, the judicial process and other answers you don't have are the very reason I created my coaching program.

I don't have any expectation that you hire me after our 1 hour advice and coaching session.  There is no other foot that falls by my telling you how many thousands of dollars it might cost you.  We meet and within our 1 hour together I inform and educate you as well as answer your legal questions.  For 1 hour of my time I reduce it from $250 per hour to only $145 for that hour so that you are informed.  I answer YOUR QUESTIONS!  I learn about YOUR situation!  I advise you on YOUR RIGHTS!  I coach you on what alternatives are available and what might be best suited to you.  Lastly, I answer your most important questions!  The appointment is about YOU and it is 100% focused on YOU and what YOU NEED!

I expect nothing more than being paid my roughly 53% reduced fee of $145 to make sure you know your rights and what you can do and what you can't do during before and during your divorce proceedings.  The amount covers 1 hour of my time and a small portion of my liability in case you misunderstand something I have said or misuse something I have said.  It's a small price to pay for long-term family law experience and the large liability I undertake when advising you of your legal rights and positioning on everything we discuss.

On top of all of this, our meeting and everything we discuss relating to your case is completely confidential.

Don't let anyone convince you that representing yourself is easy.  Can it be made simpler?  Yes, in some instances it can, but not in every instance.  Make sure you don't become overconfident and make even one huge mistake in your divorce... if you miss something... it's very likely that you won't get a second chance.

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."




Coping with Divorce is Easier When it's Not the Enemy!

Too many people see divorce as an enemy.  If you're a staunch catholic or have a family history where divorce is seen as taboo, then divorce becomes an evil.

Coping with divorce is often about coming to terms with what it truly is and what it means.  Marriage is a wonderful thing.  There is no doubt about it.  I have a wonderful woman that I love and I would give my life for in a second.

Yet marriage is a legal bond recognized in different ways.  In some cultures marriage is recognized as part of religious tradition, one that is forever and to remain unbroken because it is sanctifed by god, or nature, or budda, or creation, or the energy of the spirits.  In other ways marriage is a civil ceremony bound merely by an officiant who has the power to bind people by law as husband and wife to enjoy certain benefits afforded by law to those who are joined in marriage.

Sometimes when coping with the breakdown of your marriage it becomes more than simply the breakdown of a relationship but rather it becomes a person's own struggle with the idea of failure or breaking cultural morays or traditions in one's family or one's faith.

Yet coping with divorce means realizing that divorce is not one's enemy.  Too many people fight divorce as if it were a destroyer of relationships, families, children and family custom or religious tradition when it is merely a word connoting one's recognition of a relationship that simply doesn't work anymore as a loving spousal connection.

It is the separation of the contract between the people in a legal way such that it is understood that the relationship no longer works between the two spouses in a loving and productive husband and wife relationship.  

Coping with divorce in the truest sense is not a giving up or a giving in, but rather I see it as a coping mechanism . . . a recognition in ourselves that we have done all we can do to achieve harmony with our spouse.  

Coping with divorce through infidelity and betrayal becomes more in its aspects of coping.  It goes well-beyond recognition of two parties, once in love, who have done all they can do to rekindle and understand what went awry.  

Yet a start begins in your coping process when you begin accepting that you are not the enemy, that divorce is not an enemy nor a destroyer .. . it is merely a process to bring you to a different tomorrow.  

People destroy relationships.  People destroy themselves.  People destroy their futures.  Divorce does nothing more than provide a remedy to an existing problem that sometimes needs a solution... when a relationship as husband and wife simply no longer works it is merely a journey ... hopefully .... to a better tomorrow.

Having been through this journey and guided others tomorrows of their own making.... I offer you consolation in knowing that divorce is not the enemy . . . it is the solution to an existing problem.  It is your choice to feel guilted by tradition and religion and family and peer pressure into whether you utilize a solution made avaliable to you or not.  

If two birds mated for life are happy in their bird cage and their needs are each fulfilled then no remedy is needed.  They should continue as they are.  Yet if those two birds, whether mated for life or not begin to pick each other apart and pull the feathers off one another and starve the other from food and affection to give and receive equally, divorce is only the clasp which holds the door closed.  

The clasp is simply a plausible way out, not a required one.  It is your choice to press the clasp or not.  Divorce is your option. In the end, it would be wrong to blame the fact that the door is given a clasp to allow an avenue to remove ourself from an unhappy situation.  

The clasp itself does nothing to the relationship .  The clasp, like divorce, is merely there as an option.

Consider the foregoing analogy... because life is not black and white... it is a million shades of every color contained in the rainbow and a million more.  Keeping divorce in perspective as merely an option will keep it from being the ominous destructor people make it out to be.

It is far from the easiest thing in the world to find our perfect loving mate the very first or second or even third time in this world of millions of people from thousands of cultures while still trying to honor our different beliefs, histories, traditions, religions and every other facet that goes into who we are today.  It is, perhaps the hardest thing we will ever do in our lives and yet often we are expected to get it right the very first time.  Perhaps if we take a realistic step back, we will realize that this just doesn't make sense.

My best to everyone who is coping with divorce.  My heart goes out to you as do my skills for those who care to take advantage of them.

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."

Lesbian couple can file for divorce in Maryland, court rules


May 18, 2012 -- Updated 1807 GMT (0207 HKT)


Washington (CNN) -- Maryland's highest court has ruled that a lesbian couple married out of state can legally file for divorce, even though Maryland's own same-sex marriage law does not take effect until next year.

The issue is whether states without legalized same-sex marriage can recognize gay or lesbian weddings outside their borders. The appeal involved a Prince George's County couple, Jessica Port and Virginia Anne Cowan.

"Maryland courts will withhold recognition of a valid foreign marriage only if that marriage is 'repugnant' to state public policy. This threshold, a high bar, has not been met yet," the seven state Court of Appeals justices said in their 21-page opinion. "The present case will be treated no differently. "

The couple were married in a 2008 civil ceremony in San Francisco, during a short window when California recognized same-sex marriage.

A voter referendum in California later outlawed same-sex marriage, but a federal appeals court recently ruled against that ban. It said such a ban was unconstitutional and singled out gays and lesbians for discrimination. The case appears to be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The couple, who did not have children, settled in suburban Washington. They eventually separated and filed for divorce in Maryland when their relationship went sour, their attorneys have said.

But a Maryland judge denied the couple's filing, ruling in 2010 that the divorce could not be recognized under the current state constitution.

The "same sex marriage in which parties hereto participated is not valid pursuant to Maryland law," the judge said. "To recognize the alleged marriage would be contrary to public policy of Maryland."

Port and Cowan appealed, and the justices unanimously ordered the county court to grant the divorce, saying that "a valid out-of-state same-sex marriage should be treated by Maryland courts as worthy of divorce."

Gay rights group praised the ruling.

"There are many same-sex spouses who married elsewhere who now live in Maryland," said National Center for Lesbian Rights Legal Director Shannon Minter. "This ruling ensures that they have all the same rights as any other married couple in Maryland. This is a powerful decision that will provide enormous security and protection to thousands of families."

Susan Sommer, director of constitutional litigation at Lambda Legal, said, "The high court of Maryland confirmed today in this divorce case that out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples are entitled to legal recognition under longstanding principles of comity, allowing this couple the same access to a divorce as other married couples whose relationships have ended."

While the case highlights state differences in the recognition of same-sex marriages, analysts have said it will probably have little influence outside Maryland because federal law allows states to ignore how other states define marriage.

"This is simply going to be a case about the Maryland state constitution," said Mark A. Graber, a law professor at the University of Maryland School of Law.

Gay rights activists say the matter often leaves same-sex couples in legal limbo when moving between states, claiming that Maryland state courts have also inconsistently ruled on issues relating to same-sex marriages.

"Divorce is never easy, but when a couple has made the decision to end their marriage, there is no reason why the state should prevent them from ending their legal relationship and moving on with their lives," said Erik Olvera, a spokesman for the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley signed into law a bill that allowed same-sex couples to wed. The law, however, isn't scheduled to take effect until January 1.

The measure's opponents have pledged to challenge it by holding a referendum during November's election.

The Maryland Marriage Alliance group says it's gathered thousands of signatures and is approaching the threshold required to put the issue on the ballot, adding further uncertainty to the Port and Cowan case.

"If anything, it shows the nuttiness of the interim period," Graber said of the unclear nature of Maryland state law in apparent transition.

A recent public opinion poll conducted by Annapolis-based firm OpinionWorks found that a slight majority of residents would vote for repealing the new law.

Of those responding, 43% "would vote to make same-sex marriage illegal in Maryland, while 40% would vote to make it legal," the poll said. The poll had a sampling error of plus or minus 4%.

"Although this result is within the poll's margin of error, it is the intensity of feeling among same-sex marriage opponents that causes the overall result to lean slightly towards repeal," said Steve Raabe, OpinionWorks president.

Currently, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York and the District of Columbia issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

In February, Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire signed a bill into law that legalizes same-sex marriage, but it does not take effect until June. Opponents there have pledged to block the bill, also calling for a referendum.

Five states -- Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey and Rhode Island -- allow civil unions that provide rights similar to marriage.

North Carolina residents voted this month to outlaw same-sex marriage, which was already prohibited in the state.

A 1996 federal law known as the Defense of Marriage Act would not force states to recognize same-sex marriages allowed in other states. That law -- now being challenged in federal court -- was not the case in the current dispute, the Maryland high court said.

"Some states have elected not to recognize valid foreign same-sex marriages for purposes of domestic divorce proceedings," the court said. "Those states, unlike Maryland, expressed clear public policies."


CNN Legal Affairs Producer Bill Mears contributed to this report.

(Disclaimer:  This literary work/article is the property of the named author and/or publication.  This website nor it's authors or publishers claim an portion of this work as their own.  It is used, in part, under fair use standands as a matter of public interest and full faith and credit is given to the actual owners and authors.  The reprinting of the portion of this article is not meant to reflect and/or represent the views of the owners or authors of this website. Neither Christopher A. Pearsall nor any websites or companies owned by him claim any legal, right, title or interest to this literary work. Full Credit is given to the actual authors and owners.)




Inexpensive Divorces using Rhode Island Divorce Lawyers - Do they exist?

Certainly the most inexpensive divorce is the "Do It Yourself" divorce!

Are people doing it?  Yes they are.  In fact, based upon a very rough estimate from talking with a few of the assistant clerks at the Providence Family Court over several months it may be up as high as 75% of people now trying to go through their divorce on their own.

The more people that do it, the more people think that it is easy and/or simple to be their own lawyers and go through their divorces without spending money for a lawyer.

Can your divorce be done this way?  Yes, it can be.  Should you go this inexpensive route?  Some judges today are helping people through the process here and there.  Should you do it without a decent amount of guidance from a lawyer who practices divorce law?  I can't give my seal of approval to that kind of inexpensive divorce.  Why?  Too many mistakes that are likely to come back and bite you in the behind.

Okay, so what about inexpensive divorces using a Rhode Island lawyer?  Are there inexpensive RI Lawyers out there who will help you through your divorce and can they be found?  Yes, there are some lawyers who offer bottom dollar prices to do uncontested divorces.

Can your divorce be done this way?  Yes, it can.  Should you go this inexpensive route?  That one is a loaded question.  Extremely low prices are an indicator of a Rhode Island lawyer who might be going outside his or her field of expertise to handle a divorce thinking its easy.  In that case you may be paying a lawyer to represent you who doesn't know anything more about divorce than the regular citizen who doesn't know anything either.  In that case you would be paying a lawyer who doesn't know what he or she is doing.

Extremely low prices by experienced family law and divorce attorneys may also indicate desperation because their practice is failing or they are losing income hand over fist due to the bad economy.  The less the attorney gets paid compared to what he or she may think they are worth, the less incentive there is for the attorney to do a good job for you.  In that scenario you take your chances.

Okay, so what about a combination of representing yourself together with the guidance of an experienced Rhode Island divorce practitioner who agrees to be paid less than than he or she may be worth in the open market because the attorney is guiding you and no doing all the extra work the attorney would do but that you could do just as well with a little help.

Sounds like a great combination to me.  

Imagine that you handle the divorce yourself so that you remain in control of your own divorce.  The deadlines then depend on you.  No more bugging a divorce attorney to get something done that you wanted done a week ago.  It helps you to get things done as fast as you want them done and not the attorney.

Imagine being informed about how the process works so you don't look like an idiot and the paperwork is done right the first time instead of having it rejected several times by the clerk's office because you didn't know how to do it right and the assistant clerks aren't allowed to give you legal advice.

Imagine knowing your legal rights so you can decide for yourself what the outcome should be on any settlement with your spouse instead of relying on an attorney to decide what is best for you or explaining it to you in a way that simply settles the case rather than explaining it in a way so you decide for yourself what you think is best for YOUR life.  After all, who knows your life and what is best for you better than YOU?  NO ONE.

I saw the need for this last approach years ago as the economy was going down hill.  I could see people needing help but I wasn't willing to throw all my experience out the door.  Yet I didn't mind charging less and doing less at the same time.

My Coaching and Legal Advice Sessions are the answer to what people need today.  I give you the best of what I have and what you need... my legal knowledge on all aspects of Rhode Island divorces.  Yet if I take out doing the paperwork myself and the court appearance, then I don't mind charging a heck of a lot less than my divorce services would be worth.  People get the best of both worlds.

I created coaching for people just like you.  I've tried to create a minimal number of sessions, work as fast as I can with you and even provide you with examples so that you have something to work with that in some instances actually gives you the answers you want or need to fill out forms or to work with your spouse.

Everything is confidential as well!  I even give private classes to explain how the process works to couples as long as things remain generic and I don't answer legal questions for either party about their particular situation.  However, as you might expect, classes are not confidential, they are merely informational just as if I were giving the class at a school.  Yet I work with you to do this on your schedule as much as possible.

All of these things are relatively inexpensive at $145 for a minimum of one hour but they are chalked so full of information you'll wish you had a photographic memory.

I invite you to contact me at (401) 632-6976 now to set up your low-cost appointment so you can understand your divorce and handle it right.  Be sure to leave a message so I can get back to you as soon as possible.


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."



Mixed Reaction on RI Governor Chafee’s Same-Sex Marriage Executive Order

Source/Author:  GoLocalProv

Date:  May 15, 2012

As he signed an executive order recognizing same-sex marriages from out-of-state, Governor Chafee on Monday again called on lawmakers to support full marriage equality in Rhode Island and said he would sign a gay marriage bill into law immediately if it were to pass in both General Assembly chambers.

“Let’s get full equality,” Chafee said. “It’s time to get on with it.”

 Chafee became the first Governor in the countrty to sign an executive order recognizing our-of-state gay marriages. His order was met with loud applause from hundreds of supporters inside the State House and earned praise from national progressive groups throughout the day.

"Our members are thrilled that Gov. Chafee is stepping forward to help loving, committed same-sex couples gain the recognition and rights they deserve from Rhode Island,” said Adam Bink, director of online programs for the Courage Campaign. “His support and the unanimous support of Rhode Island's congressional delegation for the Respect for Marriage Act speeds up the day when over 1,100 federal rights and benefits currently denied to legally married same-sex couples are granted alongside what they are getting today from Rhode Island."

Chafee said the executive order reaffirms former Attorney General Patrick Lynch’s 2007 opinion stating that recognizing the valid marriages of same-sex couples does not violate Rhode Island public policy. The Governor said the state was “way overdue” for recognizing out-of-state gay marriages.


See the Complete Article at GoLocalProv

(Disclaimer:  This literary work/article is the property of the named author and/or publication.  This website nor it's authors or publishers claim an portion of this work as their own.  It is used, in part, under fair use standands as a matter of public interest and full faith and credit is given to the actual owners and authors.  The reprinting of the portion of this article is not meant to reflect and/or represent the views of the owners or authors of this website. Neither Christopher A. Pearsall nor any websites or companies owned by him claim any legal, right, title or interest to this literary work. Full Credit is given to the actual authors and owners.)