Authored By: Christopher Pearsall, RI Divorce Attorney
a.k.a. " The Rhode Island Divorce Coach ℠ "
The Story of a Lawyer Who Needs to Be Taken Out Back!
Lillian was contemplating divorce from her husband Justan. Suddenly Lillian meets someone who makes her feel loved and alive again. Things get more and more uncomfortable in the house as Lillian spends more time with this new fellow and less time trying to talk to Justan and doing whatever she can to see if they can save their marriage.
Lillian finally goes to Attorney Ratigan. Lillian explains that things have become so uncomfortable at home that she wants to get her husband out of the house and she wants to know how to do it. Attorney Ratigan explains to her that if an incident were to happen at the house where Justan might raise his voice and throw something, kick something or do anything that she can reasonably say puts her in reasonable fear of immediate harm from him that she can go to the family court and get a Protection from Abuse Order which will almost always be granted if she states something that Justan did that she can describe well enough that it sounded like it could cause her fear AND that she is scared and is in fear for her safety. Attorney Ratigan states that all it takes is getting Justan angry enough to do even a small thing like slamming a door or a mention that he has weapons in the house or has a violent temper.
Lillian asks if there is any other way to get him out of the house. Attorney Ratigan tells her that there really isn't unless he agrees to voluntarily leave.
Lillian leaves the appointment and keeps this in mind. Lillian and Justan's household gets more tense as Lillian spents time texting, emailing and calling this guy who makes her feel special. Both Lillian and Justan are tense and no longer talk with each other. They constantly avoid each other at home and Justan is sleeping on the couch down in the finished basement.
Justan starts asking about all the calls to this guy's telephone number on her celphone since the bill has increased and the number of texts and calls is extreme. Here is the conversation that ensues.
Lillian: Those are my calls to a friend since we aren't talking and it's none of your business.
Justan: It is my business because I pay the bill and you've gone way over our budget.
Lillian: I don't care. I have a right to call my friends. You know, this just isn't working anymore and I can't live like this.
Justan: What are you talking about? What isn't working anymore?
Lillian: Our marriage. You're always upset and moody and it makes me very unsettled and uncomfortable.
Justan: So what are you saying? Is this your way of saying you want a divorce?
Lillian: Well . . . yes... I guess it is!
Justan: I'd like for us to see a marriage counselor. I don't want to give up that easy.
Lillian: You mention this NOW??? After the way you've been treating me? [Shaking her head].
Justan: Well, you weren't talking to me. And what do you mean after the way I've been treating "YOU"? Neither one of us has been talking to each other for quite a while.
Lillian: Well you are the one who is sleeping downstairs! I didn't do that!
Justan: Well the tension was so much in our bedroom and you were so cold I just thought I'd give you your space until things calmed down. I don't even know what happened but I'm not to blame.
Lillian: You are to blame! I don't feel loved anymore and I'm not in love with you anymore. You've already been sleeping downstairs. I need to think about this divorce thing. I'd like you to leave.
Lillian: I said I would like you to leave. Pack up what you think you need and go stay with a friend or your parent's house. I don't care. I just can't stand it with you here anymore.
Justan: I'm not going to leave my house. This is where I live.
Lillian: Please Justan don't make this difficult. Just leave the house while I figure this out.
Justan: If you need time to figure things out Lil then I'm staying right here and you can go figure things out somewhere else.
[At this point Lillian realizes that Justan is not going to leave the house voluntarily and she knows that the only way she is going to get him out of the house is to have him removed.]
Lillian: Fine, then I'll make you leave. [ Walking. .. .]
Justan: What are you doing???
Lillian: I'm calling the police to have you removed!
Justan: For what?
Lillian: [Thinking] For whatever I tell them that you just did to me. I'm calling 911. [Picking up phone]
Justan: You're out of your freakin' mind. Put that phone down!
[Lillian dials 911 but holds the receiver button down.]
Lillian: [Pretending to talk to the police.] Yes, I'm at 103 Pine Tree Lane. I need help. I told my husband I want a divorce and he just went nuts and started hitting me.
Justan: What??? [Taking the phone from her.] You crazy bitch! Making up stuff about me to get me arrested. You have seriously lost it. Fine, I'll go stay with my folks for a day or two until you screw your head back on. [Justan leaves slamming the door behind him.]
Later that evening Lillian calls the police and explains how she was going to call them and Justan pulled the phone from her hand to stop her. Jason is arrested later that evening at his parents house. First thing in the morning Lillian does what Attorney Ratigan stated by going to the court and stating how she told Justan about divorce and he "lost it" and was "screaming at her" and she tried to call for help and he "ripped the phone from her hand to stop her" and then he took off so the police wouldn't get him and slammed the door as he ran out.
Justan was arraigned in criminal court and a no contact order was issued against him which prevented him from being around Lillian or having any contact with her. As Justan was leaving the courthouse he was served with a Protection from Abuse Order preventing any contact with Lillian and preventing him from returning to his home. Justan was allowed 10 mins. with 2 police escorts and a trash bag to grab only necessary clothes and toiletries. He was not allowed to protect his valuables or take his work computer or equipment from his home office, including his appointment book or his rolodex.
Two days later Lillian took the money that was in the bank account and hired Attorney Ratigan who immediately filed her divorce proceeding and had Justan served at his work.
Lawyers like Attorney Ratigan are unfortunately too common. Unfortunately many women who are desparate to get there spouses out of the house are as common if not more so. Both of these groups of people abuse the Protection from Abuse System, do a disservice to those women who truly are battered and in need of protection, and wrongfully often ruin a man's life, sometimes for life. Many vindictive attorneys and women who care more about their own needs than the man the woman has fallen out of love with press a man who did nothing whatsoever to have a criminal record because they persist in their lies and their counsel backs them to "win" for the client.
Women such as Lillian are a disgrace. Yet attorneys such as Attorney Ratigan who literally coach woman on how to go about setting up a man and writing a convincing affidavit that exaggerates or misrepresents the truth entirely so that the court will force the husband out of his home are reprehensible.
Lawyers are officers of the court. We are sworn to uphold the law. We have dedicated our lives to doing the best we can for our clients within the bounds of the law yet toward the ends of justice.
This scenario is about a man because very few men are granted Protection from Abuse Orders because (1) men don't run to the courthouse every time they are slapped, punched, kicked or even cut or strangled by the woman in our life, and (2) the court, notwithstanding its appearance of impartiality continues to view women as the weaker sex and as being substantially less capable of creating fear in the stronger man. Nothing can be further from the truth and while it is a reference to a movie, nothing exemplifies these conditions more than the movie "Fatal Attraction."
However, for those women unfamiliar with abusing the system as was done here. Attorneys should not school them or even recommend to women how to get men out of the house as a precursor to divorce. It is used too often and too many women "set up" the man involved, especially in cases where a divorce is filed, or they have another man on the side, or they want to do something such as leave the state with the children without the man knowing what they are doing in the house so that the woman is free to pack up and disappear into the night.
Is this dramatic? Yes! Is it a dramatization? Absolutely not! This kind of thing has to end. Men are being victimized by being forced from their homes, kept from their children, kept from the basic things they need to live, and are even left without a place to live where some even end up having to sleep in their cars in the winter.
The law needs to change. Attorneys who provide this sort of coaching as a preemptive strike for a divorce need to stop doing so and act ethically. Women who perjure themselves need to be punished instead of the court turning a blind eye as I have seen on numerous occasions in other cases where the man was "not allowed" to speak or otherwise defend himself even when a women admitted she lied.
The lady of justice is depicted holding the "scales of justice" which are virtually always uneven and she is blind-folded. Perhaps this is because she already knows that the scales are already tipped against men and she remains blindfolded because she can no longer stand the sight of these injustices.