If you don't know about Rhode Island divorces and how they are processed or the laws that guide the family court, that is understandable.
However, knowing your divorce lawyer's philosophy about divorce can make you or break you. A divorce lawyer should know what his or her own philosophy is and it is a valid question to ask what a lawyer's divorce philosophy is when you interview lawyers to represent you.
What is a philosophy? It is the underlying thought process and guiding principles by which a person does something. For instance, there is a philosophy of law itself yet there are also different philosophies for different types of lawyers and even different philosophies for lawyers who practice in the area of divorce.
So what is the philosophy of the divorce lawyer you may be interviewing or meeting with about your case? It is said that actions speak louder than words, but at the outset the best you may be able to do is to ask the lawyer the question, namely "What is your divorce philosophy?" Or, "What is your philosophy for handling divorce cases?" My personal thought is this. If a lawyer has no idea what you are asking or does not know what you mean by a philosophy, I believe that to be a sign that the attorney you are interviewing has not thought deeply enough about their own method of handling cases and therefore you may not be happy with the attorney's representation.
In my professional and personal opinion, any Rhode Island attorney who practices divorces, should readily know what their philosophy is. So what should you be doing? Well, that's your choice as a prospective client, but if I were a client I would be thinking about how I would like my attorney to approach my case and what considerations they should have in mind when addressing my case. If the lawyer's philosophy doesn't meet the case approach or considerations that you believe you would like to be taken with your approach, then it is probably not a good match with that attorney.
My philosophy is not agreeable to every prospective client and I don't expect it to be, yet I believe my philosophy to be as noble as the principles that I endeavor to project to my clients because these principles are part of me.
My philosophy is client-centric. The client is at the center of everything and therefore it is not a matter of the divorce lawyer dictating every step of the process. In my divorce lawyer's philosophy I should always do several things.
1) Listen to your legal and personal needs;
2) Consider your financial well-being and balance any items that might need to be done in your case with the cost of those items in legal fees, etc... In other words, is the work cost-effective. Would you approve of what needed to be done for the possible benefit?
3) Address matters based upon your mental and physical well-being and considering all factors in your divorce situation. There is value to your anxiety, grief, emotional, mental and physical well-being and health. Isgetting an extra $1,500 for you in your settlement worth the cost to you of two extra days of stress and anxiety? It may not be worth pursuing due to non-legal factors because your importance is far greater than just a "divorce case" you as a whole person is most important.
4) I consider the stress on your finances and trust. Clients deserve respect and I must earn and keep your trust not only by your words but by my actions in your divorce. In a divorce situation you have entrusted me with a major part of his or her life. That is a tremendous amount of trust. Because of this you are not a paycheck to me. You are not a file folder. You are a person who has placed an important part of your life in my hands.
5) Ultimately, my goal is always to reach a reasonable settlement for you as quickly as possible and to do it within the parameters that you find reasonable provided I advise you of all the pros and cons of each aspect of your case. I need to do this because it is important that you be informed. How can you make crucial decisions in your divorce without being informed by your lawyer? You may need to have things explained to you only because they do not live in my lawyers world of technical jargon from day to day and I don't expect you to know what all the legal terms mean. So I make sure that understand it. Plain and simple.
6) In summary, I endeavor to settle cases reasonably, make sure youare are informed and understand everything that would go into the settlement, and help you to settle your case with as little stress, anxiety, physical drain on your system and as little drain on your finances as possible.
7) I serve you. I am the way lawyers were intented to be. No hidden agendas or motives. You deserve my help, my respect, my honesty, my understanding of your situation and the fact that you deserve to be listened to them more than I need to be talking. This is all about doing what is best for you as my client.
There you have it. This is my divorce lawyer's philosophy for my clients and explains how I process cases.
My philosophy does not work for every prospective client. Prospective clients who simply want to use my expertise to hurt or damage their spouse or cheat their spouse out of what they are entitled to from marital assets do not match my philosophy. Could they ask me for representation just the same? Certainly. Would I agree? Not likely. I have rejected cases that could put $20,000+ in my pocket for a single case. Yet knowing what the person wants to do is all I need to know.
My philosophy is one of integrity for my clients and for people generally.
Ultimately, some lawyers may bend for a price, especially in hard times when money is tight for many of us. I will not do it. My integrity is not for sale at any price.
Find a good divorce lawyer with integrity and a strong central morality that is designed to protect people and preserve the family unit and you have located a good divorce attorney. If that lawyer also offers a divorce philosophy that meets your needs and financial budget then you may have found just the right divorce lawyer for you.
Philosophy is at the center of every business man. Ask enough questions and you will find it. Match your needs to the business person's philosophy and you found the right lawyer (or business person) to meet your divorce needs. This isn't just for Rhode Island. It works for anything you need help with.
I am Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall
and I am The Rhode Island Divorce Coach!
My Best to All Who Will Go before the Rhode Island Family Court,