By: Christopher A. Pearsall, RI Divorce & Family Law Lawyer*
What is the best way to beat child support?
There is no good way to beat child support. I agree with Attorney Andy Chen on Quora.com. I have seen many people try to “beat” child support ( by which I assume you mean that the person avoids having to pay child support without consequences). It never ends up well for that person.
Failure or refusing to pay child support often has many direct and indirect consequences, such as accruing interest at an exorbitant rate that keeps compounding, loss of your driver’s license, damage to your credit rating which prevents house purchases, car purchases, or even small personal loans, possible imprisonment, possible loss of your job, vengeful behavior from the child’s other parent or even from the child later in life.
People who try to beat child support NEVER end out better for it.
I understand that sometimes money is tight. I also understand that some people feel they have good reasons for trying to avoid or beat child support. However, in the end I have to wonder why someone would try to “beat” child support so they don’t have to pay anything.
Whatever the reason, if a person is the actual biological parent of a child then there is a legal, practical, and to many a moral obligation to help support a minor child. Minor children typically aren’t able to support themselves financially, which includes putting a roof over the child’s head with heat and electricity, food for the child to eat, clothing for the child to wear, etc…
It is important regardless of whether I am a lawyer or not that if we have played a role in procreating or adopting a child that each of us take personal responsibility for that role and help provide the basic necessities for the child. If any of us as people are not prepared to do that under any circumstances, then we should not perform the acts that result in procreation or adoption until we are prepared to undertake that responsibility and realize that it continues at least until the minor child is emancipated.
Remember, that opposing an increase in child support for justifiable reasons is not trying to “beat child support”, it is merely balancing the needs of both the parents and the child. In some cases, there are justifications before the court for temporarily or in the rare occasion permanently terminating child support to a minor child. However, trying to “beat” child support for a minor child you helped bring into the world for the sake of simply avoiding your obligation as a biological parent is neither a reasonable nor acceptable position. If this is the reason for your question, then the counter questions to you would be
What do YOU mean by “BEAT” child support?
What are your justifications (often confused with reasons or explanations which are not the same) for trying to “beat” child support.
In any event, unless you have viable legal justifications that can be argued before the court regarding child support, then it is never a good idea simply to try to find practical ways to “beat” child support. In the long run it never pays to try to “beat” child support.
It is always best to sit down for an advice session with a competent and experienced family law attorney in the state in which you have your issue before taking any kind of action.
For people within the State of Rhode Island, feel free to call me to set up your comprehensive low-cost flat fee legal advice session. Know what your options are before you act.
Call today and be on your way to getting the answer you need! (401) 632-6976
By: Christopher A. Pearsall, RI Divorce and Family Law Attorney
QUESTION: Can a person remarry in Rhode Island without getting an official divorce decree, on the pretext of having an official foreign divorce issued?
ANSWER: Dear Writer, I’m not sure what you mean by “on the pretext of having an official foreign divorce issued.”
A “pretext” is when you give one reason for doing something when you actually have another reason for doing it. For example, “The police obtained a warrant to search Mr. Jones’ house from the judge on the pretext that stolen merchandise would be found there when they actually wanted the search warrant to search the house for drugs.”
If you meant your question to state, can you remarry legally in Rhode Island when you are still married in another country simply by representing that you have an official foreign divorce decree issued by another country, then I believe the answer is “No.”
If you are married to one person, you must first obtain a divorce before you can marry another person in Rhode Island. If there is any exception to this rule at all I most certainly would want someone to enlighten me as to how this is possible based on Rhode Island law.
Under Rhode Island law, as of the date of this response the act of bigamy which is getting married to another spouse when you are already married is a crime.
Note to the Writer of this Question: For purposes of accuracy you may need to revise your question to make sure you phrased it correctly or you may wish to give a hypothetical example for purposes of clarity.
By: Christopher A. Pearsall, RI Divorce and Family Law Lawyer*
Can my ex-spouse sign me up to be billed for childcare without my permission?
My ex and I have an order to split child care 50/50 for her work and education. She has gone and signed me up to be billed directly by the child care provider without my permission. She refuses to provide me her schedule of work and school. But the bills provide no information other than payment amount. 1. Is it legal for her to sign me up for a payment account without my signature? 2. What is my recourse if she decides to use the childcare for personal reasons and they bill me for half?
Under Rhode Island law, your ex-wife has no legal right to commit you to any payment agreement with the childcare establishment based on the family court order as you describe it.
The answer to your first question is "No." If she actually signed your name to a contract or to some other document to bind you to payment to the childcare provider without your authority or knowledge, then your ex-wife committed the crime of forgery and she can be prosecuted for that.
The answer to your second question is that your recourse is to take your ex-wife back to family court and file something such as a motion for credit for any monies you paid for one half of whatever time was spent on personal time rather than for work or education.
You will need to keep in mind that if you take your ex-wife back to court on the motion I suggest above then you will have the burden or proving by clear and convincing evidence that your wife used the child care for strictly personal purposes and that you overpaid as a result and should be entitled to a credit. You would likely have to prove when it was personal, how you know it was personal and what the personal activity was, how much was charged for that personal usage and how much you were overcharged for that personal usage on each occasion.
A person wanted some help and posted to the Avvo website for attorneys to provide assistance.
Three Rhode Island attorneys answered this divorce scenario. My answer and my comments on their answers are included to show the diversity between attorneys.
Each attorney's disclaimer has been removed since it's irrelevant to the answer and the attorneys are not disclosed here.
QUESTION: I still use the same address. Is it more complicated to use this as my legal address or changing to my mother's Massachusetts address?
DETAILS: We have not been together for many years but have not been able to afford divorce. I can not afford to have my own place and pay the house bills so I stay here and there which sometimes includes the house my family lives in. We would like to have the fast track divorce which looks like it will cost about $1,000.00 and can be done within 21 days of filing. It is uncontested the only deal is we need it documented that when the house sells we split the money if something happened to both of us the house would go to our sons (18 & 20). Thank you for this service.
Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall's Answer:
To get divorced in Rhode Island either you OR your spouse MUST be "a continuous resident AND domiciled inhabitant of the State of Rhode Island for the one year immediately before the date you file for divorce in Rhode Island. It is not about "addresses." You can get a post office box as an address halfway across the country with a simple telephone call but that is not a place where you have been a "continuous resident" AND "domiciled inhabitant."
Generally speaking to be a "continuous resident" you must continuously reside (i.e. live) in the State of Rhode Island for the one year period immediately before you file for divorce in this state. Therefore, if during the one year immediately before you file for divorce you live in Pawtucket, RI for 7 months with your spouse and then rent a place in Newport, RI for two months and then live with a friend of yours for the last three months in Warwick, RI immediately before you file for divorce in Rhode Island, then you would have been a "continuous resident" of Rhode Island for the full 12 months immediately before filing for divorce. In that case you would have met the first prong of the test.
However, before you can file for divorce in Rhode Island you MUST also meet the second qualification, namely you must be a "domiciled inhabitant" of the State of Rhode Island during that time. The key here is that you may only have one domicile at any give time. A "domicile" may be generally thought of as a place that you intend to live in for a particular period of time and you intend to come back to it. For instance, if you have a house that you have lived with in the year before you file for divorce in the State of Rhode Island and you have lived there with your spouse but things start getting tense with your spouse and you come back to the house occasionally but you rent an apartment in Attleboro, MA to stay in for 4 days out of the week to avoid the tension with your spouse, then there will be an issue as to whether you have been a domiciled inhabitant in the State of Rhode Island. The idea is that you cannot at any given time have two domiciles. You may only have one domicile . . . namely where you "really" or "primarily" live and do not intend to leave from at that particular time.
So, you must be both a continuous resident and have your single domicile be within the State of Rhode Island during that year before you file for divorce.
Using an address to prove residence with the court to file for divorce simply because it suits your purpose of filing because you get mail there or because that's where your license is still listed is a bad idea.
First, this is important because when you confirm your address with the court you must do so under oath before a Notary Public. Therefore, if you lie then you have committed perjury before the court which is a crime.
Second, this is important because even if your divorce is granted. If it is discovered that you or your spouse did not meet Rhode Island's residency requirement to obtain your divorce, then the divorce may be found to be void. If that is the case then you are still married. Imagine if you got remarried and had children!!! Then all of a sudden your wife is no longer your wife and your children would be deemed illegitimate. On top of this, if authorities really wanted to press it, you would be guilty of the crime of bigamy.
Ultimately, you don't have a choice to play games with addresses here. You either meet both criteria and you can file for divorce in Rhode Island, or you don't meet the criteria and you can't file or you have to wait until you do meet the criteria.
It is worth addressing the details that you gave following your question.
There is one way your divorce will take less time. That "one way" is if you and your spouse have been separated for a period in excess of three (3) years.
There is an uncontested divorce but there is nothing called a "fast track" divorce. Also, there is no divorce that you can get in 21 days.
If you have not been separated for more than 3 years, then even if things work like clockwork with the court the fastest you can possibly get your divorce completed is 5 1/2 months if it is uncontested.
If you have been separated for more than 3 years, then if things work like clockwork with the court the fastest can can usually get your divorce completed is 3 1/2 months if it remains uncontested.
You mention that you have a house that is to be sold and that you need certain provisions. Whenever there is a house involved you should make sure you have a Property Settlement Agreement that is written and contains all the terms regarding the house and is signed by both you and your spouse under oath before a notary public. It is never a good idea to have a house involved and NOT to have a written Property Settlement Agreement to present to the court for approval. If you do not have such a written agreement it is possible that you could have a problem with what is known as the "Statute of Frauds" which essentially requires transactions regarding real estate to be in a signed writing. A thorough description of the Statute of Frauds is unfortunately too detailed for answering a single question.
You also bring up what you want to happen if you and/or your spouse die. I'm certain it sounds simple to you to so this, but you then run into not only provisions in your Property Settlement Agreement being added but also taking into consideration whether either of you has a Last Will and Testament and, if not, what the laws are relating to intestacy in the State of Rhode Island (assuming for your question that the property you are talking about is within the State of Rhode Island).
Please be aware that this answer is provided as a courtesy based only on the facts and/or circumstances given and any assumptions I have had to make to try to assist you based on the way you worded your question and the details.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This is not legal advice. Also, this is NOT a substitute for sitting down with an experienced Rhode Island divorce and family law attorney and providing all the facts and circumstances surrounding your case and affording the attorney the opportunity to ask questions which could substantially change any information you may be given. Never act on any information you find on the internet. The only way to be assured that you receive competent, accurate and comprehensive advice regarding your legal situation is by meeting with a qualified legal practitioner who has the opportunity to fully evaluate your case and ask questions relating to your situation. The information on this page does not constitute specific legal advice to any person, nor does it create an attorney/client relationship with this attorney.
AVVO.COM OTHER ATTORNEY ANSWERS
Below are the actual answers provided by the attorneys on Avvo.com. Avvo.com only allowed 3 attorneys to answer the question. Above is the answer that I wanted to provide but was unable to due to the limited number of attorneys they allow to respond.
1) Do you notice the difference between my answer and their answers?
2) Do you notice any mistakes they made when informing the person asking the question?
3) Do you notice any misunderstandings the person had that they did not take the time do clear up?
Answer by Rhode Island Attorney No. 1:
I find this question a bit unclear. You must live in RI for one year if you want to get divorced here. If you want to be legal separated here you must only live in RI for one day. Residency is, in part, a matter of intent.
Answer by Rhode Island Attorney No. 2:
Do not lie to the court about which state you live in.
Is the house mortgage on both your names? If so, keep in mind that if the bank can report late and missed payments on both of your credit reports.
Answer by Rhode Island Attorney No. 3:
This question will best be answered by the attorney you are paying to represent you in your "fast track" or nominal divorce on the grounds of living separate and apart for a period exceeding three (3) years. They might also explain that as long as one of the parties has lived in Rhode Island for one year or more before the filing, you should be able to proceed.
Before you make a decision about any lawyer you may consider hiring... you need INFORMATION. Without good solid information and legal advice, how can you even know whether you should consider hiring a lawyer or how to tell whether the lawyer you are considering knows what they are doing?
The answer.... you can't.
All Rhode Island Divorce lawyers are not the same.
I'm Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall. CAP isn't simply my initials. You see, I've been making a difference by Caring About People like you for over 16 years practicing exclusively Rhode Island Divorce and Family Law.
For solid and comprehensive legal advice that you can rely upon. Call me to set up a lower-cost advice session. Give me a call at 401-632-6976 . . . you'll be glad you did!
QUESTION: I filed for divorce from my spouse and it was granted. About 10 days after my Rhode Island divorce hearing I met someone and we have been seeing each other frequently for the last month. When can I introduce this new friend to my children?
ANSWER: If you're looking for a basic legal answer then my advice would be that you should stop seeing this person until your divorce is done. This is not because I don't believe you have a right to be happy. If you do not have a Final Judgment in your divorce case then it is not prudent for you to date another person because you are still married and your spouse and/or your spouse's lawyer can delay you from getting a Final Judgment of Divorce from issuing for an extensive amount of time.
Now you might wonder, what would my spouse have to do? Only two things 1) be upset at you, and 2) file a motion of any kind. Of course you know your spouse better than I do. However, in my history as a lawyer I have seen things that you could not make up in your wildest nightmares happen from presumably reasonable and respectful parties in a divorce.
It is very, very easy for a spouse to be upset that you have moved on from your marriage before it is even over. Many spouses, both men and women, find that the other spouse dating before their marriage is even over to be insulting, degrading, hurtful and angering to say the least. All it takes is a little bit of anger for your spouse to file a motion in the family court. What kind of motion? Any kind of motion! All it takes is a pending motion before the court filed sometime near the date when the Final Judgment can be signed in order to prevent the court from finalizing your divorce. Suddenly a divorce that you thought was almost over may now go on for month after month and possibly motion after motion so that you are still married to your spouse. If your spouse knows or even suspects that you are dating someone then it is very easy to file a motion to restrain and enjoin you from having the children around anyone you may be dating as long as the divorce is still going on. If that motion is granted and your spouse is still angry, hurt or in the least bit upset, it is very easy for your spouse to want to keep the divorce going as long as possible so that you can't have the children around the person you are dating. Frankly, it isn't worth it. Better be safe than sorry. In the scope of a lifetime it is better to wait a few months than to suffer for another year or more.
I realize this is not the crux of your question, but it was worth stating it because it goes hand in hand with the more important answer. Introducing your children to someone you are dating is no small matter. Legally, until you are prohibited from doing so you could introduce the children to the person you are dating anytime you want. The question is whether or not that is truly best for your children. Many children have a hard time dealing with the divorce of their parents, especially if they are five years of age or more when they start making the identification of their parents as a couple.
The parents are typically the foundation that keeps the children consistent because the child knows they can rely on their parents as a team to keep their world together because they can depend on them to be there. While divorce is a reality for many married couples in the psyche of a child a divorce can often signify the destruction of their stability. Each child is different. Each child's feelings and age should be considered. The amount of time you have been separated should be factored in. The children need to get used to the idea that the parents will no longer be living under the same roof. The children need to be supported by both parents so that the children realize that their stability in having two parents is still present after the parents are no longer living together with them in the same household.
Once the children have adjusted to the idea that their parents will still provide them with stability even if they are not in the same household, it is my humble opinion that then you might slowly introduce a person that you have been dating to the children so long as that person has been a stabilizing factor in your life. Remember, that any new person you introduce to your children needs to be a stabilizing factor for them. If you haven't been with this person long enough to establish a solid, strong, stable and loving relationship with the person, then how can you expect this person to be safe to introduce to your children who are in a much more fragile emotional and mental state?
Most certainly this last part sounds more like counseling advice and is more appropriate to come from a counselor who deals with children of divorce. However, my comments are from direct experience in my own life and in the lives of hundreds of clients over the years.
Personally, I was divorcing before I became a lawyer. I made virtually every mistake that I mention here and I paid a price that no parent should ever have to bear. I wish I had known today what I know now and I regret deeply when a client of mine pays the price because they choose to ignore my advice.
So if you are to remember anything, I ask you to remember one thing. Your relationship with your children is fragile. One poor decision on your part and you might never see your child(ren) again.