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August 2013

A Rhode Island Divorce isn't Over until it's OVER!

Picture of Attorney Christopher Pearsall
Atty Chris Pearsall

Authored By:  Christopher Pearsall, RI Divorce Attorney
a.k.a.  " The Rhode Island Divorce Coach ℠ "

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I can't tell you how many Rhode Island divorce clients that I've had to instruct NOT to begin dating during their divorce proceeding.

Though each person is different and it may well be a personal choice that the client makes at that point, it isn't advisable to date, particularly if you have children.

Just the mention of a girlfriend or boyfriend in a divorce proceeding can wreak havoc in your divorce proceeding depending upon the judge and depending upon how hard the opposing party works to emphasize the existence of a person who may be cast as a "home  wrecker".

Though your feelings may be gone for your spouse or you may have found that new person who sparks your interest and makes you feel "in love again", you are still married to your spouse until that final decree of divorce is signed by the judge.

As long as you remain legally married to your spouse, the Rhode Island family court judge assigned to hear your divorce may consider your conduct during the course of the marriage.   I can honestly say that no judge will look favorably on the fact that you have a new girlfriend or boyfriend in the picture before you've properly settled your affairs with your current spouse.

If you don't want to risk losing a portion of your assets or call into question your fitness as a parent, then it is best NOT to date as long as you are legally married to your spouse. 

Remember, it's not over  . . . until it's OVER! When your Rhode Island Final Decree of Divorce has been signed by the judge and sealed by the court, then you can breathe a small sigh of relief that your divorce is over.

Why add an alimony request in my divorce complaint if I don't qualify for it?

Picture of Attorney Christopher Pearsall
Atty Chris Pearsall

Authored By:  Christopher Pearsall, RI Divorce Attorney
a.k.a.  " The Rhode Island Divorce Coach ℠ "

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The best way to understand the request for alimony in a divorce complaint is by an example.

Let's say that Jillian and Sarah are a same-sex couple that were married in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts some time ago but for many reasons their relationship has broken down due to incompatibility.  Both Jillian and Sarah make about $45,000 and $57,000 respectively and they each have a fairly good job history that shows they will each be able to take care of themselves once a divorce is complete.

Jillian files for divorce in Rhode Island and Sarah counterclaims for divorce both upon the grounds of irreconcilable differences.  Sarah is of the understanding that Rhode Island is substantially rehabilitative in nature and she doesn't need any rehabilitiation.  Sarah realizes that she has a good long-term job so she's not concerned in the least about alimony from Jillian.  Therefore, as a matter of principle, Sarah does not ask for alimony from Jillian and does not ask that Jillian be denied alimony from her.  Sarah is not really concerned about the alimony aspect of divorce because she's confident she can take care of herself once the divorce is over.

Jillian just follows her lawyers advice and while she doesn't intent on pursuing the alimony portion of her divorce complaint she includes it in her complaint because her lawyer does not want her to waive such a valuable right.

During the divorce, Jillian gets in a horrible car accident and he can no longer work anymore.  She is permanently disabled for life and no one is admitting to liability.  Jillian's lawyer speaks to her because he realizes that if Jillian doesn't get some long term alilmony from Sarah then Jillian is not going to be able to make ends meet due to her permanent disability.

Sarah is surprised at the request for alimony and feels that since the accident wasn't her fault that she should not have to pay the price for an accident that she had no part in.  Nonetheless, Sarah finds herself on the receiving end of a very serious and substantial claim for alimony because essentially Jillian has no choice otherwise she won't be able to fianancially survive.

While this is an extreme example, it is not uncommon.  Accidents happen during divorces and sometimes necessitate alimony claims.  Alimony is a protective measure, not a punitive one.  It is intended to make sure that the parties involved who are claiming alimony are deserving of it and that it makes sense.

If you were to fill out a divorce complaint are you going to leave the request for alimony out of your request for relief due to pride, out of an abundance or respect for your partner, or because you don't think it would be fair?  Or would you be cautious like Jillian did?

Divorce proceedings are also about protecting unforeseen events.  Are you ready not just for the Alimony question but for the others that may come along.  Have you correctly worded your divorce documents so that you do not waive your rights by accident?

Remember, lawyers don't go to law school and beat their heads against the wall for nothing.  Everything has a reason and there is a reason for everything and even one misplaced word can mean the difference between protecting yourself and finding out that essentially "your screwed."  Sorry for the vernacular there.  Words failed me in that instance.  it happens to the best of us.

How do I take back my former name in a Rhode Island Divorce proceeding?

Picture of Attorney Christopher Pearsall
Atty Chris Pearsall

Authored By:  Christopher Pearsall, RI Divorce Attorney
a.k.a.  " The Rhode Island Divorce Coach ℠ "

See me on Google+.

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Resuming a maiden or a former name in a divorce proceeding, whether it is a contested or uncontested proceeding is quite simple.

Many people know that they want to resume a former name at the time they file their initial divorce complaint or their counterclaim for divorce.  When you do so there is a section that asks for the relief you are looking for in the proceeding.  In that "request for relief paragraph" you simply include a statement that you want to resume your maiden or former name of "SMITH" or whatever it may be.

In the event that you neglect to include the request to take back a maiden name or a former name the court will usually allow you to amend your complaint or counterclaim either by a written or an oral motion to the court requesting that you be allowed to do so.  It is usually accepted by most judges in either contested cases or in uncontested/nominal hearing cases.

How do I file a Motion to Adjudge in Willful Contempt in Rhode Island Family Court?

Picture of Attorney Christopher Pearsall
Atty Chris Pearsall

Authored By:  Christopher Pearsall, RI Divorce Attorney
a.k.a.  " The Rhode Island Divorce Coach ℠ "

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Question: How do you adjudge in contempt in ri family court?   My ex  took my parental rights away from me until he filed a motion to modify visits

Answer: To Adjudge in Contempt in Rhode Island Family Court assuming it is an open court proceeding before the court you would file a Motion to Adjudge in Willful Contempt.

A basic motion would typically consist of the following:

1) Identify the Order of the Court that the other party has violated.

2) Direct the Court to the specific terms of the Order that the party did or did not do.

3) Claim that the party has willfully disobeyed the Orders of the Court and therefore should be adjudged in willful contempt of Court.

The person making the motion would then ask for the relief that they would like from the court. This relief could be attorney's fees, lost wages for having to file and prosecute this motion, an amount of financial damage that you suffered, committal to the ACI (Adult Correctional Institution) until the person complies with the Court's Order, etc.... Relief in these motions vary based on each case.

Since there is no information about your case I have just given you some basic examples of types of relief you might request. Now regarding your 2nd sentence, you ex-partner is not able to unilaterally take away your parental rights since only the court has the power to do this and does not do so lightly.

Therefore, I'm not really sure what you are referring to here. Unfortunately this is the best guidance I can give you since I do not have detailed specifics about your case which would require much more than is allowed through this forum. My very best of luck to you in your matter in the Rhode Island Family Courts!