Attorney Ethics Feed

In a Contested Rhode Island Divorce does it matter who files first?

Some lawyers in Rhode Island do believe that there is an advantage to filing first.  There are several reasons.

1.  If you file first then the rationale is that the judge just might see it as the fact that the Plaintiff filed first in the divorce because something was so wrong with the Defendant that he or she couldn't stand their spouse anymore.  Therefore, if a judge believed this then the natural question in the judge's mind just might be "What is wrong with the Defendant?"  If this is the question it immediately places the Defendant on the defense in the divorce when, in fact, there may be nothing wrong with the Defendant other than simply agreeing with the spouse that he or she would do the filing.  

2.  Some attorneys who practice divorce in Rhode Island also have the idea that by filing first they can depict the Defendant as a bad person such that the Plaintiff had to file for divorce because of the Defendant's actions which were no longer tolerable.  In fact it could be true that the Defendant's actions had nothing to do with it but rather that the Plaintiff simply fell in love with someone else and had an affair.  However, appearances to the court and how and attoney depicts the parties drastically affects how the court takes the direction of the divorce proceeding.

 

3.  Another philosophy of some lawyers goes with a practice generally used with women that they should in some way create a situation in which the woman can reasonably say that she is in fear of imminent bodily injury to herself and then, if the affidavit to the court is worded just right, the woman can obtain a Protection from Abuse Order against that man which not only orders "No Contact" with the wife but also usually orders the man out of his own home even if he has no place to go.  Typically judges err on the side of caution and grant Requests for Protection from Abuse Orders to protect women whereas with men it is rare that such petitions are made, let alone granted.  This is the perfect preemptive strike to get the husband out of the house during a divorce since the Notice of Automatic Orders of Divorce which are served with a divorce proceeding prohibit one spouse from exclusing the other spouse from the marital domicile if they are living together at the time the Notice of Automatic Orders are put in place.  In fact, the granting of a Protection from Abuse Order which forces a man out of his home during a divorce is the only "effective" was of getting the opposing spouse out of the home once a divorce has started.

Based upon the above, it is a philosophy of many attorneys to encourage their clients that if they get into any situation that might cause a reasonabe belief of imminent harm (even if it doesn't) should be used as a means to get a Protection from Abuse Order and get the husband out of the house.  To say the least it is a very prevalent philosophy to help clients gain an advantange in a divorce proceeding by making the Defendant husband appear as a Domestic Violence Abuser when, in fact he his not and the entitle episode may be completely a bogus setup simply to get the husband spouse out of the house.

Once a husband is tainted as an abuser before the court, even if he has not been proven to be an abuser, is likely to affect your divorce judge's decisions in the case.

These are only a few of the philosophies held and used by RI Divorce lawyers.   You can judge for yourself the morality and level of professional ethics the attorney has based upon the attorney's recommendation.

There are, of course numerous other lawyer philosophies in divorce proceedings regarding who should file first.  These are merely a few of the philosophies I have witnessed used in the Rhode Island Court System.  

Which lawyer would you want?  Would you want a lawyer that advises you to fraudulently create a situation which allows you the power to remove your spouse from the house?  Or is your integrity stronger than that?

Ethics and morality often enter into these philosophical divorce questions and they then become a matter of what you are willing to do to achieve your goals.

My hope is that honor and integrity still exisits in most people these days and that the court is not used fraudulently as a tool to achieve whatever you want.
 

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."


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!!!

Why?

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?

PRIVACY IS OPTIONAL

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!

UNMARRIED - IT'S A CRIME

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!


MARRIED IT IS NOT 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."


An Uncontested RI Divorce Tip for those who want to avoid Attorneys Looking to Line their Pockets!

Here's a simple tip that adversarial lawyers sometimes use to get your business. They tell you they are on your side and that they are more than agreeable but that it is the other attorney that your spouse may already have that is very difficult to work with and therefore if things seem drawn out it is because of the other lawyer.

Usually the situation is the contrary.  Recently an attorney was hired by a client.  I have it on good authority that the attorney told the prospective client that I was a very difficult to deal with and that it was almost impossible to reach an agreement with me.

Frankly, this is a fabrication.  I am about as easy to deal with as they get as long as you aren't trying to back my client into a corner or believe that you have some sort of entitlement to more than half the marital estate for reasons that don't support your belief.

When I received the attorney's Complaint for Divorce against my client, it asked literally for everything... short of the kitchen sink.  

Wouldn't it make sense that the RI divorce attorney who is disagreeable or is "nearly impossible to reach an agreement with" would be the attorney who asked for EVERYTHING?  It's just common sense.  Yet most client's miss it.  They disregard what they have said and sometimes get caught up in their own misrepresentations. 

Ultimately, what may happen is that the attorney may well prolong a divorce, make promises he or she can't delivery on and should not be promising under an attorney's Rules of Professional Conduct.

The end result could well be that the particular attorney prolongs the matter to get more money out of you, destroys your family, hurts your children and ends up wasting your time and money in a longer Rhode Island Divorce matter that was unnecessary all because that lawyer needed to send his or her child to a private school or to fund the attorney's 3rd vacation for the year in Greece, etc...

People don't deserve to be used.  As a person, a client, a paralegal, a divorce lawyer and a professional I don't appreciate colleagues who do this.  They lose my respect and they disrespect our profession and do their own clients an injustice.

Don't be a victim of your own Rhode Island Divorce Attorney!  Keep your eyes and ears open.  If you hear and/or see inconsistencies that don't make logical sense then be sure to pay attention to that little warning bell in your head.

I cannot reasonably identify the client or attorney in the case I am talking about here, but the warning signs are clear and while a slick lawyer can explain them away as normal or part of a template, or simply to trust the attorney because this is the way things are done but if you are looking for an amicable divorce that leaves your life and your children substantially unharmed and you hear your lawyer blaming the other lawyer but drafting a Complaint that asks for literally EVERYTHING then use your common sense.  

The attorney you hired is most likely adversarial and based upon his or her own financial gains and not your best interests.  I've seen too much of this and too many families destroyed by these destructive attorneys.  Don't let yours be the next one!  Be aware of what your RI Divorce Attorney says and does!  Common Sense tells you the rest!


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."


Uncontested Divorce Tip - Communicate with Your Spouse During Your RI Divorce!

Do you want your Rhode Island divorce to go easier?  Would you rather it go as quickly as possible, and be reasonable and amicable?

Let me give you a huge tip that many Rhode Island lawyers would rather you disregard completely.

If you have a Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer and your lawyer tells you something like this,

"Now that I'm your attorney.  Let me do my job.  Everything goes through attorneys.  That's the way divorces work.  Do not talk to your spouse.  If you say anything to your spouse, tell him (or her) to talk to your attorney." 

Here is what I suggest.  GET A NEW LAWYER!

Why do I say this?  Most divorces are resolved without costing you a fortune because you DO talk to your spouse.  The moment you listen to that crap that your lawyer just handed out, is the moment you just doubled or tripled your legal bill and handed over control of your life to your lawyer.  It is also the first moment that you say goodbye to money that you are entitled to from the marital assets because each dollar you pay your lawyer is a dollar that you won't get.

That's it in a nutshell.  If you listen to that "advice" from your lawyer you just shot yourself in the foot in my professional opinion.

There is only one instance when that advice might be even remotely correct and that is when your spouse is threatening or bullying you and you are incapable to dealing with it.  I am not talking about a spouse talking to you about what you would like to do for settlement or how to resolve things and you are simply nervous or uncomfortable around your spouse.  I am talking about directly threatening your well-being or threatening to harm you.

In the very least I hope that many people read and take this divorce tip to heart.  Do yourself a favor... when you hear that advice and you are not being seriously threatened by your spouse, it is a good idea to get another lawyer.  Try looking for one who cares about you enough to truly resolve your divorce in an amicable fashion.