Attorney Ethics Feed

What is Your Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer's Philosophy? Are you a Lawyer's Paycheck?

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,


Rhode Island Divorce Lawyers have to Consider Covert RI Tracking and Surveillance Methods of Some Spouses!

Being a good Rhode Island lawyer when handling a divorce matter isn't about knowing the basics, a few forms and a the fundamental rules anymore.  So if you're considering representing yourself in Rhode Island's Family Court System you need to know a lot more if you have an untrusting or deceitful spouse.

Today's technology brings with it many conveniences but it also brings with it many dangers.

Let's imagine that you are a lawyer representing a client or even a spouse who wants to represent himself or herself.  Do you know about Patrolman GPS?  What about the FamilyMap Celphone Service by AT&T?  Okay, how about MobiStealth?  

If you are a Rhode Island lawyer representing a divorce client and the opposing party seems to be one step ahead of you every time, or if you represent yourself and the same thing is happening then you need to at least jump onto the internet and find out about these and many other devices and services FAST!

Let me introduce you quickly to each.

Patrolman GPS is a small attachable GPS tracking device that can be used in a magnetic case and put in your pocket, on your car, in your briefcase, in your glove compartment, etc... and track your every move.

PatrolMan GPS (Front and Back)



FamilyMap is a service you can add to your AT&T Cell phone service. Unless you know what this service is, what it does, AND you also take care of paying the cel phone bill then you wouldn't even know that you are being tracked by GPS built into your cel phone regarding your every movement.



Now for Rhode Island Divorce lawyers this is one to throw into the works that will rock your world and your client's divorce if you are not careful.
MobiStealth is a tracking program that can be installed and remain completely hidden on many cellular phones and is linked both to the phone itself and a GPS Satellite tracking system.  It is reputed that this little germ (as I prefer to refer to it)  of cell phone spywhere can do the following on your cell phone.

  • Email, call and SMS history– Stores copies of emails, call logs and SMS that were sent and received from the phone.
  • Recent location – MobiStealth can be set to automatically retrieve the GPS coordinates of places that were recently visited.  To get live tracking you will need to signup for the PRO and PRO-X versions as the Lite version doesn’t offer real-time GPS tracking. You will also need to signup for one of the PRO versions if you want to track a phone that doesn’t have GPS.
  • Secretly Record Phone Calls (PRO-X Version only) – With this feature you can have MobiStealth record incoming and outgoing calls to specific numbers and even perform reverse phone number look-ups to see who the call are made to or received from.  This feature alone makes MobiStealth a much better buy that many other Android spouse spy software because it doesn’t require that you are there to listen in on calls as they are happening.
  • Retrieve Pictures and Videos – A picture, they say, is worth a thousand words and in fact may be all you need to make your case against someone, especially if the person has the habit of taking lots of pictures and videos.  This feature allows MobiStealth customers/clients to remotely retrieve pictures and videos that were taken with the targeted phone.
  • Recordings of the Phone’s Surroundings – This spy feature can turn on the phone’s microphone in order to secretly record conversations that are within earshot.
  • Bookmarks, chat Sessions and Calendar events – A detailed record of bookmarks, chat sessions and calendar events can be just as incriminating as photos and text messages. You can use this Android spy app to review of chat sessions, calendar events and even contacts that were created.
  • Internet Browsing – If you are concerned that the phone in question is being used by your spouse to view  inappropriate content, MobiStealth can help you get all the evidence you need to confirm your suspicions or confront your partner.

To this point there haven't been cases addressing the legality of these particular devices when used in connection with Rhode Island divorce cases by the Rhode Island Supreme Court.

However, from the perspective of Rhode Island lawyers representing you in a divorce proceeding these are becoming more common issues that should be considered.  These should be considered not simply due to the possible invasion of the attorney/client privilege but also due to the fact that legal protections and/or motions may need to be filed in the family court to establish prevent further invasion and/or validate the criminal nature of the surveillance.

Technology concerns in divorce cases in Rhode Island are no longer optional for the lawyers in the cases or those people who represent themselves.  Divorce is a whole new ball game folks.  Knowledge of technology is no longer optional.

I'm Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall and I am "The Rhode Island Divorce Coach."

My Sincerest Wishes for Success if you Appear before the RI Family Court,


Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer Coaching Tip - Understand Your RI Divorce!

It's too easy to pay a Rhode Island lawyer money to handle your representation and then just believe you are handing over your troubles to him or her.  Too many people do it.  Can you imagine what the natural result is?  Lawyers just handle your divorce and you have no clue what is going on because you don't understand what the heck your divorce lawyer is doing.

Consider Giselle's Rhode Island Divorce situation.

Giselle hires Attorney Shelly Melatonin to represent her.  She pays her retainer fee and waits to hear from her attorney.  Giselle gets a questionnaire in the mail and is told to fill it out and send all the information back to the attorney, including a 9 page financial form that she does her best at filling out.  A few weeks after Shelly sends the papers back to her attorney, she get's a voice mail asking her to come in to meet with her attorney.

Giselle meets with her attorney and is told that the paperwork is standard and that she must sign the divorce documents in various places and the Attorney says she'll take care of notarizing the documents.  Giselle trusts her attorney.  The attorney flips from page to page and points to the signature line where Giselle needs to sign and she quickly signs each page.

Giselle feels rushed and isn't sure exactly what she just signed.  Giselle mentions that she wants things to be as amicable as possible with her husband and she is worried about her husband getting upset.  Attorney Melatonin reassures her that he will be fine.  Shelly asks what's next. and her attorney answers that they have to have some of the papers delivered to her husband so he knows about the filing and then they will all start talking about how to resolve things nicely.  Giselle feels reassured.

Two days later Giselle gets a call at work from her husband, William.  He is furiously screaming at her on the phone.  Giselle doesn't understand and is partially in shock.

Giselle can't understand why William is upset.  Giselle calms him down and asks him to bring the papers and meet with her at Dunkin Donuts for a coffee after work.  William is still shouting but reluctantly agrees.

Giselle and William meet at Dunkin Donuts.  William is screaming and waving the papers in a crazed rage from the moment he gets out of his car.  Giselle rushes into the Dunkin Donuts hoping that a public place will calm him down as she tries to figure out why he is all upset.  William enters the Dunkin Donuts and quiets down slightly as he comes over to Giselle and starts to raise his voice again.

Giselle offers to buy William coffee and whatever else he wants and asks him what he wants.  Thankfully it diverts William's anger so he can select something.  Angrily, William orders several dozen donuts to take back to his new apartment and two extra packages of coffee to take home.

Giselle is still puzzled and sits down and waits for William to come over to the table.  William sits down and begins to open his mouth.  The conversation goes like this.

Giselle:  Will, you knew I was filing the divorce papers.  I told you.  So I'm really surprised that you're so upset.  I don't have anyone else if that is what you are thinking.  What is going on?

William:  What is going on?  How could you do this?  What is this crap?  Sure, file for divorce but now you're trying to screw me over.  Don't think for one minute that I'm going to stand for this.  You humiliate me and then want to leave me penniless and keep me from being part of our kids lives.  I thought you were going to be reasonable but I must have been stupid for thinking that any woman could be reasonable in a divorce.  You all want everything isn't it!!!  [William is shouting again.]

Giselle:  What are you talking about Will?

William:  THIS!  THIS is what I'm talking about! [Squeezing the Divorce papers in front of her face so hard they begin to rip.]

Giselle:  May I look at those?

William throws the divorce documents on the table.  Giselle starts to pick them up to read them.

William:  I just can't believe you want this divorce so badly that you went so far as to have a Sheriff serve me at work in front of all the guys at the job first thing in the morning.  I was the talk of the office all day and no one would even talk to me.

Giselle:  [Raising her Voice.] WHAT?!?  I didn't know anything about that or have anything to do with that at all.

Giselle grabs the divorce papers quickly and starts reading them.  The more she reads, the agrier Giselle gets.  The divorce papers ask for literally EVERYTHING and that William be given minimal visitation with his children. The papers even ask the court to award her sole decision-making power for their two children.

Giselle:  Will, I didn't want this.  I didn't even know about this.

William:  Isn't that your signature Giselle?  It looks like it to me!

Giselle:  Yes, but I didn't know that was in there.

William:  How could you not know it was in there?  You signed the damn divorce papers under oath Giselle?  You had to know it was there!

Giselle:  I didn't Will.  I swear I didn't and I'm going to straighten this out right now.  Giselle grabs her celphone and calls and leaves a nasty message for Attorney Melatonin that William is angry with good reason and she wants to know why she wasn't told about all of these things and nothing was said about a Sheriff embarrassing her husband at work.

William:  Well, the damage is already done at work Giselle.  How are you going to fix that?  I'm humiliated.  I can't talk anymore.  I'm just too angry.  I'm getting the best Rhode Island divorce lawyer I can afford tomorrow.  I'm not about to let you or anyone else take me to the cleaners.

William quickly grabs the papers out of Giselle's hands and storms out of the Dunkin Donuts.

Giselle speaks to Attorney Melatonin the next day and demands copies of all the papers.  She also demands an explanation about why papers were delivered to her husband by a Sheriff at work and why in the world all those demands were made in the divorce papers.

Attorney Melatonin:  First, it is standard that service is performed by a Sheriff. It's in the Domestic Rules of Procedure.  The language in the papers you signed is standard.  It's a template Giselle.  As soon as your husband got a lawyer, the lawyer would tell him that.

Giselle:  I just wish I would have known about these things.  I think we're going to war with William now.  He was so upset.

Attorney Melatonin:  I'm sorry that your husband is so upset but this is how it works.  I'm simply doing my job for you.  That's why people find divorce so difficult and get attorneys, because they don't know how the process works and they get all upset.  If your husband asked his own attorney instead of yelling and screaming at you, then he'd know everything is just fine.  It's just paperwork.

Giselle:  Oh.

Attorney Melatonin:  So are you all set now Giselle because I don't like receiving nasty voice mail messages like that on my cel phone in the middle of the evening.

Giselle:  No, we're not really okay.  You're fired.  I want my file documents and I want the balance of the monies I paid for my divorce returned to me right away.

Attorney Melatonin:  Why?

Giselle:  Well, William might have had to get his own lawyer and ask questions to get these answers.  But I already had you as my lawyer and I trusted you.  I trusted you to keep me informed about things and for you to take time to go over and explain things with me that are important and you didn't do it.  Now you've made things worse.  I don't need that kind of lawyer.

Please have my file and my refund check by Wednesday.  I'll come by during lunch break to pick them up.  [Giselle hangs up.]


Don't put so much trust in your Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer so that you don't think on your own.  Think about what you are doing.  Ask your lawyer questions.  Read Everything!

Lastly, if your lawyer makes a mess as was done in this case, don't be afraid to fire him or her before the mess gets so big that your divorce could never be cleaned up.


There are several issues that present themselves here.

First, Giselle trusted the lawyer a bit too much to act in her best interests.  She trusted her lawyer so much that she didn't even bother to read divorce documents that she was signing under oath.  That is a huge mistake on her part.

Second, Giselle shouldn't count on the fact that she paid a decent amount of money to Attorney Melatonin to be her security that her attorney is doing things right in her divorce.  You are the client.  Things should proceed reasonably as you expect and as you request but that only works if you know what is going on and remain informed.

Third, even when you ask your questions and your attorney gives you the answers, don't be afraid to question those answers if your attorney has already done something that has caused a foreseeable mess that you didn't expect or agree to.

What do I mean by the third issue?  

Well, Attorney Melatonin wasn't fully truthful about the service of the divorce documents.  A plain clothes constable in a plain car could just as easily have served William without the traumatic problems that were caused.  William didn't need to be served at work either.  He could just as easily have been called and he might have agreed to meet the constable at a comfortable location for William.  Using a Rhode Island Constable might have kept things reasonably amicable.

Also, there is no set "template" for wording that must be used for men or women when it comes to divorce.  The wording was present because Attorney Melatonin may have a template she uses but to say it's a standard template is rather deceptive.  Attorney Melatonin should have taken the time to go through all the divorce papers with the client and explained the wording and significance with Giselle.

Thankfully, in my humble opinion, Giselle made the right call by terminating Attorney Melatonin.  She should have been told about the options for service of the divorce papers on William.  Giselle also shouldn't have been told its a template.  That very fact that Giselle fired her attorney due to her anger over the situation is likely to calm William back down because it will show him how upset she is with the way William was treated.


 1.  Think.
 2.  Question.
 3.  Read.

Realize that no one is in a better position than you to protect your own interests. 

I'm Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall and I am "The Rhode Island Divorce Coach."

My Sincere Wishes to All Who Go Before the Rhode Island Family Court,


Rhode Island Divorce Attorney Coaching Tip: Be Aware of What Untrusting Spouses are Capable of!

When trust breaks down in a relationship you'd be surprised at what can happen.  Your trusted partner can turn into your worst nightmare whether you are married or not.

Here are just five (5) ways a trusted partner has lost trust in your faithfulness can help to cause the destruction of your relationship or invade your privacy.

1.  Your trusted partner may hire a private investigator to check into anything and everything you are doing, follow you around day and night, and even cause you to become paranoid and in fear of your life.

2.  Your trusted partner could install  software on your computer to spy on you that might do everything from cataloging everything you do... to literally turning on your webcam and watching what is going on in your room without your knowledge.

3.  Your trusted partner could install remote control software that allows him or her to gain control of your computer at any time of the day or night if you have an "always on" internet connection such as dsl or cable internet, which may even include turning on or shutting down your computer whenever they want.

4.  Your trusted partner could "bug" your car with a listening and/or tracking device to hear what you are saying, record what you are saying, or even track where your car is at any point in time.

5.  Your trusted partner could obtain your passwords for online accounts you have set up, or even set up "online access accounts" with companies they know you have services with in order to obtain detailed information about what you are doing on your phone, with your texts, with your travel, in your smartphone's email, etc...

One of the most prevalent statements I hear from people who come to me for advice when they mention things that indicate any of these things may be occurring is, "my partner would never do that."

The best first step toward protection you can have is to avoid ignorance.  Any spouse who is emotionally angry or scared enough is capable (sometimes with a little encouragement or suggestion from a friend or even an attorney) of falling into the trap of becoming even more untrusting and then become untrustworthy as that partner struggles for some semblance of reasonable assurance that their world is okay and their relationship with the other partner.

As an optimistic Rhode Island attorney who hopes that parties can survive their relationship difficulties I still advise my clients of one thing.

It is this.

Your best defense is to avoid ignorance.  

Keep this statement always in the back of your mind.  

"Any partner with enough distrust or doubt in your relationship is capable of becoming your worst nightmare."

My Very Best to All for a Joyous, Happy and Safe Holiday Season!

I am Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall.   I am "The Rhode Island Divorce Coach, and I'm here to help!

Call for your affordable Rhode Island Divorce Coaching Session or Seminar and get the information you need to make the important decisions in your life.  Call now at (401) 632-6976!

A Principled Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer Should Avoid Encouraging Divorce!

As a Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer I frequently hear stories both in and out of the courthouse about Rhode Island lawyers and how they deal with new clients.

One of the things I've from some Rhode Island divorce lawyers is how they handle their initial appointments.  Generally speaking, it seems as though most lawyers who are approached about divorce simply seem to assume that a divorce is imminent and do nothing to assist a couple in resolving the marriage.

Having been both married and divorced and then remarried, I can state in all honesty that more devastation can certainly be done when a lawyer makes no attempt to suggest or encourage resolution of a marriage and jumps right to divorce as the answer.

While it may be natural for a Rhode Island divorce lawyer to jump to thoughts of divorce because the client is there for legal advice and/or representation, in my estimation it is not an appropriate first step.  Certainly resolution doesn't make the lawyer any money so the practicalities over having a client over not having a client weigh heavily in favor of making no effort to even suggest resolution with the other spouse.

However, as the divorce rate climbs in this country and in Rhode Island, I cannot help but wonder whether we as lawyers play a contributing part to its increase by avoiding resolution and repair of a marriage as a possible precursor to a divorce proceeding.

It would, in fact, seem to me to be a disservice to the client to jump directly to a divorce proceeding as a resolution, especially when there is any amount of hesitancy on the part of the prospective client who has approached the divorce lawyer indicates the possibility for resolution.

Based upon this gravitation of what I see to be an increased impression that Rhode Island lawyers may avoid the discussion of resolution in a potentially salvageable marriage in favor of a client who generates additional income in a difficult economy, I urge principled Rhode Island Divorce lawyers to avoid encouraging divorce and be open to the opportunity to save a family as opposed to simply enjoying the benefit of additional monies at the family's expense.

Secondarily, I urge those people who have not attempted marriage counseling with a licensed professional that they refrain from seeking the assistance or advice of a divorce lawyer until they have fully exhausted the possibility as to whether the marriage can be saved or not.

Ultimately, I can tell you from experience both as a Rhode Island lawyer focusing my law practice exclusively in the area of divorce, and as a divorce litigant, that coping with divorce is much more cumbersome, emotionally draining, financially draining, and devastating to the personal individual and to family as a whole than any amount of of family counseling or efforts to resolve your differences with your spouse.

Coping with thoughts and feelings of divorce should not begin with a divorce lawyer.  Remember that a divorce lawyer is trained to tell you your divorce rights, the legal procedures, and it is not uncommon for a divorce and family law lawyer to direct you toward a divorce because that's what he or she is trained to do.  Rhode Island Divorce lawyers are not trained to help you resolve your marital difficulties nor to encourage you to make attempts to do so.  If you run into such a lawyer then thankfully you have encountered a principled Rhode Island divorce lawyer who has not encouraged divorce and he or she has been a miraculous god-send.

In my coaching practice, my greatest skill is listening.  


Because I am familiar with the pain of divorce, the emotional turmoil, and the financial stresses, as well as opportunities for resolution that are often not encouraged by many attorneys, I consider it my principle duty to help the client to do the best thing for himself or herself and to consider all options, including non-legal avenues which may involve no continuing fee to me at all.

I do this because it is the "Right thing to do."

You are not a paycheck.  You are not a number.  You are not my cashflow.

You are a person with a life and a family that is heading into turmoil and you need guidance.  That guidance may involve more than simply information about filing for divorce.  It's not about money.  It's about your life!  That's more important than any amount of money.

If you'd like to meet with me, we'll examine all aspects of what you should or may want to consider.  If you want it to include divorce rights, laws and procedures.  So be it.  I will be happy to provide the knowledge I have to you in an affordable coaching and case advice and evaluation session.  If it involves discussing the difficulties and why they occur or have occurred in your life and recommendations I might have on resolving them, we will discuss those to the extent possible before we address any divorce considerations.

As a person in a difficult relationship, coping with a possible divorce does not necessarily mean filing for divorce.  It may mean coping with the devastation that could be caused by a divorce and considering means of resolution.

As lawyers offering divorce services in Rhode Island, I suggest that you adopt a principled perspective and avoid encouraging divorce in favor of considering and examining resolution with your prospective clients.  

To all who are involved, let's try to save as many marriages as we can before we result in the devastation divorce may cause.  Put yourself in your client's shoes, is the small amount of money you might receive as the attorney worth the pain and agony you would go through?  I highly doubt it.

Remember, our clients come first!

Authored By:

Christopher A. Pearsall, Attorney-at-Law

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