Coping with Divorce Feed

In an Amicable RI Divorce Does It Matter Who Files First?

Max and Jerry are getting divorced in Rhode Island.  They are going to try to represent themselves because they believe everything is amicable.  They are not focused on blame, just the resolution of their divorce and moving on with their lives. Does it matter who files? 

In Max and Jerry's divorce since neither spouse seeks to gain any advantage over the other spouse or claim a divorce based substantially on the actions of the other spouse therefore it won't matter whether Max or Jerry opt to be the Plaintiff on the divorce papers.

Philosophies of divorce attorneys in Rhode Island regarding which party files first in contested divorces varies widely.  One of this week's articles will address lawyer's philosophies in contested cases.

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."

Coping with Divorce is Easier When it's Not the Enemy!

Too many people see divorce as an enemy.  If you're a staunch catholic or have a family history where divorce is seen as taboo, then divorce becomes an evil.

Coping with divorce is often about coming to terms with what it truly is and what it means.  Marriage is a wonderful thing.  There is no doubt about it.  I have a wonderful woman that I love and I would give my life for in a second.

Yet marriage is a legal bond recognized in different ways.  In some cultures marriage is recognized as part of religious tradition, one that is forever and to remain unbroken because it is sanctifed by god, or nature, or budda, or creation, or the energy of the spirits.  In other ways marriage is a civil ceremony bound merely by an officiant who has the power to bind people by law as husband and wife to enjoy certain benefits afforded by law to those who are joined in marriage.

Sometimes when coping with the breakdown of your marriage it becomes more than simply the breakdown of a relationship but rather it becomes a person's own struggle with the idea of failure or breaking cultural morays or traditions in one's family or one's faith.

Yet coping with divorce means realizing that divorce is not one's enemy.  Too many people fight divorce as if it were a destroyer of relationships, families, children and family custom or religious tradition when it is merely a word connoting one's recognition of a relationship that simply doesn't work anymore as a loving spousal connection.

It is the separation of the contract between the people in a legal way such that it is understood that the relationship no longer works between the two spouses in a loving and productive husband and wife relationship.  

Coping with divorce in the truest sense is not a giving up or a giving in, but rather I see it as a coping mechanism . . . a recognition in ourselves that we have done all we can do to achieve harmony with our spouse.  

Coping with divorce through infidelity and betrayal becomes more in its aspects of coping.  It goes well-beyond recognition of two parties, once in love, who have done all they can do to rekindle and understand what went awry.  

Yet a start begins in your coping process when you begin accepting that you are not the enemy, that divorce is not an enemy nor a destroyer .. . it is merely a process to bring you to a different tomorrow.  

People destroy relationships.  People destroy themselves.  People destroy their futures.  Divorce does nothing more than provide a remedy to an existing problem that sometimes needs a solution... when a relationship as husband and wife simply no longer works it is merely a journey ... hopefully .... to a better tomorrow.

Having been through this journey and guided others tomorrows of their own making.... I offer you consolation in knowing that divorce is not the enemy . . . it is the solution to an existing problem.  It is your choice to feel guilted by tradition and religion and family and peer pressure into whether you utilize a solution made avaliable to you or not.  

If two birds mated for life are happy in their bird cage and their needs are each fulfilled then no remedy is needed.  They should continue as they are.  Yet if those two birds, whether mated for life or not begin to pick each other apart and pull the feathers off one another and starve the other from food and affection to give and receive equally, divorce is only the clasp which holds the door closed.  

The clasp is simply a plausible way out, not a required one.  It is your choice to press the clasp or not.  Divorce is your option. In the end, it would be wrong to blame the fact that the door is given a clasp to allow an avenue to remove ourself from an unhappy situation.  

The clasp itself does nothing to the relationship .  The clasp, like divorce, is merely there as an option.

Consider the foregoing analogy... because life is not black and white... it is a million shades of every color contained in the rainbow and a million more.  Keeping divorce in perspective as merely an option will keep it from being the ominous destructor people make it out to be.

It is far from the easiest thing in the world to find our perfect loving mate the very first or second or even third time in this world of millions of people from thousands of cultures while still trying to honor our different beliefs, histories, traditions, religions and every other facet that goes into who we are today.  It is, perhaps the hardest thing we will ever do in our lives and yet often we are expected to get it right the very first time.  Perhaps if we take a realistic step back, we will realize that this just doesn't make sense.

My best to everyone who is coping with divorce.  My heart goes out to you as do my skills for those who care to take advantage of them.

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."

Cope with Your Rhode Island Divorce by Separating The Two Key Components!

History to Remember

It is important to remember that family courts did not always exist.  Back as far as Old England itself and even into the 1970's in State of Rhode Island the Family Court itself did not exist.  In fact, what we know as divorce and family court's today were part of the court that handled civil contracts.

It wasn't until the volume of cases began to rise and the court's saw the increasing number of issues regarding varying matters regarding families that the powers that be created a separate court from the superior courts to handle specifically those matters relating to family type issues.

With this in mind, let me show you how you can cope with your own Rhode Island Divorce more easily by making a single distinction in your mind. 

Understanding What A Marriage Really Is!

When you got married you most likely did so because you established a "love" relationship with your spouse that was deep enough that you believed that you could make certain promises to one another and keep those promises.  So, you both took your relationship beyond feelings and decided to to formalize it so you would both be recognized by others and by law as a single unit which carried with it certain benefits and liabilities relating to one another.

In short, you took the "Relationship" and formalized it so the law would recognize it as a "Marriage."  When you get married, the Relationship itself (i.e. the feelings and emotions both spouses have toward one another) almost invariably does not change at the time you get married the only thing that happens is the creation of a legal relationship. 

So how in the world does this help you cope with divorce, right?

Okay… here's how it helps.  By understanding that these two things are different, you can address them more appropriately. 

Understanding What A Divorce Really Is!

A "divorce" in the family court is a legal procedure to allow one or both parties to sever the legal contract they made that gained them benefits provided by law to those called "married."

A marriage simply creates a legal connection (a "contract") between you and your spouse.  

During your legal contract you may have had children, acquired assets and accumulated debts.  

Divorce is simply a legal procedure set up fairly sever the legal contract (called "marriage") between the two partners who made the contract.

So how are legal contract issues most often handled?  If they are handled with a lawyer then the lawyer usually handles the majority of the legalities and advises you of your rights, alternatives and options.  As the client, you then weigh those rights, alternatives and options using your own logic and reason and with the lawyer's advice you give your lawyer instructions on how you would like to proceed.  If you handle this legal process yourself, then you may research your own rights, alternatives and options.  Then, as a smart and prudent person would, hopefully you would make your decisions based upon your own logic and reason.

The Single Greatest Problem That Causes Contested Divorce Proceedings

Yet there is no denying the single greatest problem that arises in divorce proceedings.  

The problem is that people more often than not pour their hurt, anger, rejection, betrayal and other strong emotions into their divorce proceeding.  Though it is understandable, I truly believe that everyone could benefit from understanding the distinction that the hurt, anger, rejection, etc… are part of what you and your spouse believe divorce means to your relationship.  It is the person's own projection of their emotional issues thrown into a logical legal proceeding.  

There is relatively little argument against the fact that emotions, especially strong emotions, block your ability to think logically and make practical decisions based upon facts.  It's like taking the alphabet and trying to do mathematical equations with them.

Too many people equate the Relationship with the process of addressing the breakdown of the Legal Contract called Marriage, namely the "Divorce process."  

Your "Relationship" consists of the feelings, emotions, and level of intimacy you have between you and your spouse.

A "Marriage" on the other hand is the legal connection you have with your spouse.  You are certainly free to disagree with me on this because religiously I have always understood it much differently, yet I've had my eyes opened quite a bit after years of divorce work and separating legal proceedings from religious beliefs.

So, what is the best way to handle a divorce?  Two Steps,

1)  Use your logic, reason and the advice of a good lawyer (or your own common sense) to address the resolution of your divorce.

 2)  Address your feelings by going to a good counselor or therapist to get some professional third-party assistance to help you with your feelings and emotions so that they don't exacerbate your problems by allowing your emotions to cause conflict in the court proceedings.

 By separating the two aspects, you keep your RI Divorce proceeding from spiraling out of control and you are able to more smoothly handle your divorce process and maintain your mental health in the process.


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."

Rhode Island Family Law Courtroom Decorum to Prevent A Problem with Your RI Family Court Judge!

The way you present yourself in Rhode Island Family Court makes a huge difference in the way that the judge sees you and your case.  The reason you see lawyers do what they do in the way of formalities and expressions of respect to the Judge is not just because they are lawyers, it is because they know that presentation makes all the difference.  

10 Points of Rhode Island Family Court Decorum

Adjusting your behavior to follow these 10 points of decorum for behavior in the Rhode Island Family Court will help prevent your case from being harder than it needs to be.

1.  Apparel:  Wear decent clothing.  No t-shirts, shorts, jeans, clothing with holes or clothing with patches.

2.  Things to Avoid:  Avoid Items that may not be appropriate in Court such as peircings, gum and tobacco chewing, "busting a sag", excessively casual clothing, etc...

3.  Standing:  Always rise when speaking to the Judge.

4.  Hands:  Avoid putting your hands in your pockets when addressing the Judge or when listening to the Judge speak.

5.  Electronic Devices:  Always make sure all electronic devices you have are turned off while in the courtroom.  Placing devices on vibrate or silent mode is not acceptable.  This includes cel phones, ipods, ipads, itouch, mp3 players, computers, pda's and any other electronic technology device other than necessary devices such as hearing aids for those with hearing problems.

6.  Interrupting:  Do not speak over the Judge.  When the Rhode Island divorce court judge is speaking, it is rude and considered disrepectful to the court when you try to speak when the Judge is speaking.

7.  Posture and Stance:  How you stand actually does make a difference in the courtroom.  Stand up straight no matter now tired you are.  Just in the way all divisions of the military teach their enlisted men and officers to stand up straight, you should do the same.  Standing up straight gives the aura that you are confident but as well as respectful.  It is not, as some might think, a position of defiance.  If you want the court to take you seriously, then you have a better chance when you maintain a good posture.

8.  Positioning Your Arms:  When you speak with your arms folded across your chest, this has the appearance of defiance to the court or that you are not listening.   Crossing your arms in front of you likewise projects an appearance of defiance or that you are not paying attention.

9.  Eye Contact:  Make eye contact with the Judge from time to time.  Do not be afraid to look at the judge.  Avoiding eye contact with the judge has the appearance that you are not telling the truth or that you have something to hide.

10.  Tone:  It is a good idea to consciously remain aware of your tone of voice when speaking in court.  A hostile tone is about as helpful to your cause as kicking a beehive is in getting the honey out of a beehive.  Maintain a calm tone when speaking with the court.  Anger does not get you anywhere.  Remaining calm and focused will help you achieve the best possible result.


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."

When People Accept that Marriage is a Contract, Divorce Should Be Easier!

The family courts of most states, including Rhode Island's, grew out of the need to address the countless people who had become married and now wanted to go their separate ways.  Yet the civil courts of most states already had large civil courts to address contract issues. 

The general idea was whether to keep expanding the large civil courts a little bit more each time married people wanted to go their separate ways and each wanted a share of what they had built while they were married, or to create a new court or division of the court entirely to involve matters arising out of family situations, including for those people who wanted to leave their spouse and take part of what they had built together with them.  Thus, the the family courts were born out of a need to address these issues and many others that grew out of "family situations."

A problem arises though from today's modern media and the romanticism that has grown out of marriage and made it a huge money-making industry.

Think about it.  Many young women today dream of the day of their wedding from the time they own the Barbie Bride Doll(tm).  They envision the elegant wedding dress and veil, the beautifully adorned bridesmaids accompanied by groomsmen wearing tuxedos with all variety of flowers displaying vibrant colors and filling the air with the sweet fragrance of love.  Then there is the wonderful reception surrounded by friends and family and food fit for a king. It all culminates in the beginning of your life with your soulmate on a tropical island walking hand in hand along the beach as you kiss your perfect mate as the moonlight dances along the small soothing waves of the water.

Yet in all of this people have forgotten the origins of marriage that still remain today.  Even today marriages throughout the United States require a wedding license application, witnesses are often needed for the exchange of vows (aka promises) to one another.  At the end of the ceremony the parties to the marriage, the officiant and the witnesses sign the marriage certificate after the promises have been exchanged and they submit the document to the state to record the marriage.

Why is this all done?  Take a look at it again.  The husband and wife entered into a contract with one another.  Their marriage is a contract.

The task of the family court in a divorce proceeding is to legally assist the parties when separating by dividing the contract that spouses entered into.

If you understand the concept of a contract, and accept that marriage is a legal contract being divided fairly by the court as if it were the division of a business partnership then you can more easily deal with it.

The main problem that arises in divorce proceedings is when husbands and wives are unable to extract their feelings about the relationship from the divorce itself.  It's understandable why many people find that hard to do because it is the relationship and its promises that form the underlying basis for entering into the contract to begin with.

It is strongly suggested that if your emotions are strong and you are entering into divorce proceedings for any reason, that you should get some counseling to help you deal with your emotional reaction to the divorce.

It is not easy to deal with a divorce, especially when you are dealing with a long-term relationship.  Yet the longer the divorce goes on, the more time, money and energy you usually spend on the legal proceeding itself rather than addressing your relationship issues and moving on with your life.

When you realize and accept that the emotional and legal aspects of a divorce can be separated from one another, then you are able to achieve a better result in both.  Oversimplifying it, you then deal with your emotion about the breakdown of the relationship with your counselor and you deal with the practical aspects of the breakdown of the marriage and moving on (i.e. division of your assets and debts) in the family court.

By achieving this separation between these two aspects, divorce should be easier to some degree.


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."