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A Rhode Island Divorce isn't Over until it's OVER!

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Atty Chris Pearsall

Authored By:  Christopher Pearsall, RI Divorce Attorney
a.k.a.  " The Rhode Island Divorce Coach ℠ "

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I can't tell you how many Rhode Island divorce clients that I've had to instruct NOT to begin dating during their divorce proceeding.

Though each person is different and it may well be a personal choice that the client makes at that point, it isn't advisable to date, particularly if you have children.

Just the mention of a girlfriend or boyfriend in a divorce proceeding can wreak havoc in your divorce proceeding depending upon the judge and depending upon how hard the opposing party works to emphasize the existence of a person who may be cast as a "home  wrecker".

Though your feelings may be gone for your spouse or you may have found that new person who sparks your interest and makes you feel "in love again", you are still married to your spouse until that final decree of divorce is signed by the judge.

As long as you remain legally married to your spouse, the Rhode Island family court judge assigned to hear your divorce may consider your conduct during the course of the marriage.   I can honestly say that no judge will look favorably on the fact that you have a new girlfriend or boyfriend in the picture before you've properly settled your affairs with your current spouse.

If you don't want to risk losing a portion of your assets or call into question your fitness as a parent, then it is best NOT to date as long as you are legally married to your spouse. 

Remember, it's not over  . . . until it's OVER! When your Rhode Island Final Decree of Divorce has been signed by the judge and sealed by the court, then you can breathe a small sigh of relief that your divorce is over.

Rhode Island Divorce - Cheating Spouses and Adultery!

When someone files for divorce in the Rhode Island family court system after finding out that there spouse has had an affair or is cheating on them, they often misunderstand the affect that this adultery has on the divorce proceeding itself.

Rhode Island continues to recognize fault-based grounds for divorce as well as the more common breakdown of the marriage due to "irreconcilable differences that have caused the irremediable breakdown of the marriage".

In Rhode Island the family court judge has the power to consider the "conduct of the parties" during the course of the marriage in determining how the assets should be divided as well as how the debts should be borne by the parties.  This is the context in which Rhode Island family court judges will consider adultery in the context of a Rhode Island divorce.

Most spouses that have been "cheated on" see it as a betrayal that must be punished.  It is not uncommon for a client to expect their attorney to drag their spouse into court, subpoena the home-wrecker who cheated with their spouse, air their dirty laundry and try to shame and humiliate them both on the witness stand and then get them a big fat chunk of the marital assets.

However, this is an unrealistic view of the Rhode Island divorce process. 

A judge may certainly consider the infidelity of the offending party, yet he or she will generally do so with an eye toward the nature and length of the infidelity and what effect it had on the assets and/or debts of the parties.  Depending upon various factors, including the effect of the infidelity on assets and debts, the length of the marriage, the nature and length of the infidelity and perhaps even whether the unfaithful spouse made extensive efforts to conceal his or her infidelity, the judge may determine to award to one or the other of the spouses a greater share of the assets or a greater apportionment of the debt to offset the conduct.

However, it is important to note that it is not the court's purpose, nor is the intention that adultery is a mechanism by which a wronged spouse is entitled to exact some measure of retribution against their spouse.  Adultery is a factor that will be considered by the court but it is not a license to punish an unfaithful spouse, particularly since unfaithfulness is a measure of the personal relationship between the parties and in many instances does not have to do with the acquisition of assets or accumulation of debt by the parties. 

In the same way that child support is not invalidated simply because a parent does not receive their visitation, the expectation of a financial windfall by one spouse because the other spouse breached the "trust and fidelity relationship"  may not merit the loss of assets in the eyes of the court, especially if the breach of trust and fidelity had no affect on the assets and debts of the parties.

Adultery is a factor that is considered by the judge presiding in a Rhode Island divorce matter as affecting the equitable distribution of assets and the apportionment of debt.  If the adultery had no effect on the assets or debt of the parties, a Rhode Island family court judge has the discretion to determine that the adultery has no effect on the distribution and apportionment.

Let me help you get successfully beyond divorce and into a brighter tomorrow!

All My Best to You on Your Journey Through The RI Family Court,
Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall - "The Rhode Island Divorce Coach"™ 

Can I date during my Rhode Island Divorce?


Can I date during my Rhode Island Divorce?



You can, but as a Rhode Island lawyer focusing my own practice in the area of divorce I wouldn't advise it for several reasons.

Some RI Family Court judges believe it is inappropriate to begin new any type of romantic or intimate relationships with another person until you have properly and completely ended your relationship you are in by a Final Judgment of Divorce.  Since the judge's thoughts and ideas about all subjects in your divorce could affect you, it is advisable to abandon your own thoughts on the subject and refrain from dating.

Cheating is a fluid concept.  People have differing views about what cheating is.  To some it is intercourse, to others it can be as little as a flirtatious email or even a cup of coffee with someone your spouse wants to believe is the "other man" or "other woman."  It is emotions of anger and betrayal that catapult divorces into long drawn out and bitter battles.  It is best to delay dating to avoid your spouse's scorn.

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."

Text messages have a way of emerging in divorce court!

[Pre-Article Commentary:  This is one of the best divorce tips I could possibly give to my potential Rhode Island Divorce clients whether I represent them or coach them.  Though I didn't write this I'm glad it is being brought to the public's attention.  Think before you act. - Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall]


Article By: Patricia Reaney 
REUTERS Saturday February 25, 2012 9:37 AM

NEW YORK — Couples who might be headed for a nasty breakup should be careful about texting, which could end up as evidence against them in divorce court.

More than 90 percent of the top divorce lawyers in the United States say they have seen a spike in the number of cases using evidence from smartphones during the past three years, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

The rise in texting evidence follows a similar trend of two years ago, when the academy — a professional group of 1,600 members who handle prenuptial agreements, legal separations, annulments, custody battles, property divisions and the rights of unmarried couples — noticed a surge in evidence from Facebook pages.

“With emails, you can think about and rewrite them. There is a window of opportunity to rethink what you are saying,” academy President Ken Altshuler said. “But text messaging is immediate. We get a lot of text messages that people send out without thinking.”

He described texts as “spontaneous venting” that sometimes haunts people because the words provide written records of thoughts, actions and intentions. Even text messages seen over a shoulder, he said, sometimes cause problems in hearings.

“I have used text messaging for cross-examination,” said Altshuler, who has also submitted texts as evidence. “I would say in the last six months there have been a lot of text messages involved in litigation. For whatever reason, people are texting more and not thinking about what they are texting.”

Text messaging was the most common form of divorce evidence taken from smartphones, according to the academy’s poll, followed by emails, phone numbers, call histories, and GPS and Internet-search histories.

Altshuler thinks part of the reason for the surge in text evidence is that people think text messaging is safe because it isn’t easy to print.

“Not everybody can print out a text message. You have to know how to do it,” he said.

He advises clients not to use Facebook, which was the main source of divorce evidence from social media in a previous poll — but only about half follow his recommendation.

He is equally cautious about other emailing.

“Anything that is in writing, you have to assume that someday a judge is going to see it. So, if it is not something that you want a judge to see, don’t write it down.”

Especially text messages.

“You can erase yours,” he said, “but it doesn’t mean they erase theirs.”


Read this and other great articles at The Columbia Dispatch


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Your Cheating Heart…Could Get Caught Next Week

A local private investigator says that there is a higher chance that an infidelity surveillance assignment will be successful on Feb. 13, 14, or 15 than at any other time of the year.

By Jill Connors at
Posted:  February 6, 2012

“It’s just human nature,” says private investigator Ryan P. McCormack, one-half of the Newport-based two-man team at Coastal Investigation Group, in explaining why there is a greater chance of catching an unfaithful person on surveillance during the three-day period from Feb. 13-15 than at any other time of the year.

“Around Valentine’s Day, people naturally want to spend time with someone they are romantically involved with. They let their guard down a little, or maybe one person in the relationship pressures the other one, because it’s Valentine’s Day,” says McCormack, who notes that it’s a well-known phenomenon in the private investigation industry.

“I’d estimate there is a 75% chance of catching someone during those three days, whereas during the rest of the year your chances are less than 50-50,” he says.

McCormack says less than half of Coastal Investigation’s caseload is related to infidelity, and he also says there is misconception about an infidelity surveillance assignment, which people often assume means a physical act needs to be caught on tape. Infidelity surveillance assignments often come from divorce attorneys rather than individuals, and they are looking for patterns of behavior or spending that can be important in a case. “For example, if [the unfaithful spouse] is going out and spending $200 on dinner with someone once a week, but then in court they claim they have no money, then that’s when the video footage can be important.”

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Disclaimer:  This article is the property of Patch. Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall, The Rhode Island Divorce and Coaching Institute and do not claim any right, title or interest in this article.