Uncontested Divorce Feed

What is a Rhode Island Uncontested Divorce?

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

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Many people call me simply to price shop over the phone for the cheapest lawyer.  People usually just say "I have an uncontested divorce. Everything is agreed upon.  How much do you charge for a simple divorce like that?

I have never asked a caller if they know what an uncontested divorce is because I have no intention of embarrassing or insulting them.

Yet many people don't know.  From my perspective, an uncontested divorce is one in which both spouses have agreed on every aspect of a divorce that must be agreed upon in a divorce proceeding including all of those that must be stated to the judge in the courtroom.  Additionally, an uncontested divorce is one in which no motions are filed by either by party and the case is resolved at the Nominal Hearing date.

The Nominal Hearing date is the first hearing date scheduled in a divorce proceeding.  It is, in essence, a Marital Agreement friendly divorce hearing between parties who have agreed how to resolve all of their issues regarding children, support, marital assets, marital debts, insurances, medical expenses, etc.

I strongly suggest that you don't presume you have an uncontested divorce.  Many people do not know the things that the court requires to hear from them, nor do they know what they should do to properly protect themselves even when they do agree upon things.

In 2013 there has been a trend where about 70% or more of people are representing themselves and handling their own cases by themselves (Pro Se).  Now in the mid to later part of 2013 I am finding myself attempting to fix what was (or was not) done by these people in their divorces.  Many times I am unable to do anything because of the way in which the person represented themselves.  

I urge you to think twice before representing yourself without the advice of an experienced family law lawyer after you have fully informed him or her about your entire marriage circumstances.

Represent Yourself in Your RI Divorce and Plan on Paying for a Good Lawyer Later!

I'm not sure if many people see the trend that is happening in the Rhode Island Family Court today.  If I were to take a good guess I'd say at least 65-75% of people are representing themselves in their own divorces.

That's huge folks.  They are doing everything from filling out the papers to going to the hearing and trying to get through it by getting a judge who is going to help them through it by having them answer a few basic questions or at least what the judge might be able to figure out are the issues between the parties when they are in his or her court.  Then the people get the fill in the blank forms from the clerk's office and they fill them in very simply because they aren't really concerned about the future because it's all over with, right?

Sorry folks, that's the wrong approach.  Out of those 65-75% of people doing their own divorces I'd be willing to stake my license on that fact that 5% or less of those people will even get it 1/2 way right so they don't have a mess in the future.

Remember, if you're married, you get one shot at this divorce thing and resolving your issues.  If you screw it up, don't think that it's going to be easy to undo it later or that the judge is going to help you after the divorce is over.

Once you've made you're bed you're going to have to lie in it.  Using some pretty good guesswork here I'm almost certain that at least 50% of these people are going to be back in court later on in life trying to fix something from this divorce they did now by taking the easy way out.

What's the easy way out?  You take the easy way out when you do it yourself and you get no advice throughout the process from a lawyer who practices divorce law in Rhode Island.  

The judge isn't there to help either party.  A judge does just that... they judge.  They make decisions.

Did you know that if that judge doesn't include something and you don't stop him or her and say "Judge, we need to include something about my health insurance ...." or whatever your issue may be, then you are now trying to tread water in cement shoes.  You've just blown it.

Folks, not getting the advice of a lawyer for your divorce from someone who knows what they are doing and doesn't cost all that much or want thousands up front is foolish.  It's like taking out money from a high priced loan shark who means business and then just expecting that if you disappear into the woodwork that there won't be any payback.  

Things may look easy now and you may be thinking you are getting through your divorce just fine, but there are literally thousands of issues in divorces and 50% of these people are going to be back and filling up the the courthouse with Post-Judgment Issues galore.

I've made it easier and more affordable for people to be informed and make sure they handle their divorces right the first time!  While no attorney can guarantee that any divorce result will be perfect so your ex-spouse doesn't try to take you back to court later, the chances are one heck of a lot less than these poor 50% who just want to save a few dollars and have heard that a judge will help them through the hearing.

Perhaps people will get the picture if I take time in my next attempt to list just some of the hundreds and even thousands of legal issues that arise in divorce and perhaps people will see the concern that I do for these people who go forward without any legal advice at all.

All My Best to You on Your Journey Through The RI Family Court,

Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall - "The Rhode Island Divorce Coach"™ 

 Affordable, Experienced, Caring and here to help you when you need me.

Call me for your reduced-cost advice session at (401) 632-6976. 

Can I file an Uncontested Divorce in Rhode Island if I don't live there?


I don't live in Rhode Island.  I moved to Kentucky about 45 days ago after I found out my wife cheated on me.  A Kentucky divorce attorney told me I don't qualify to file a divorce in Kentucky yet.  My wife just moved in with her boyfriend in Massachusetts last week.  A Massachusetts lawyer told me I can't file for divorce against her in Massachusetts.  We got married in Cranston, Rhode Island and we lived in Pawtucket, Rhode Island for the whole time we were married before I moved out.

Can I file an uncontested divorce in Rhode Island even though I don't live there right now?


Unfortunately you can't file for divorce in Rhode Island.  To file for divorce in Rhode Island either you or your spouse must be a continuous resident and domiciled inhabitant of the State of Rhode Island for at least the one year immediately prior to filing your complaint for divorce.  

Neither you nor your wife meet this criteria for filing a divorce in Rhode Island so you cannot file either a contested or uncontested divorce with the Rhode Island Family Courts.

All My Best to Those with a Rhode Island Family Court Matter,

I am Christopher A. Pearsall and I am The Rhode Island Divorce Coach.

Call (401) 632-6976 Now for your Affordable Divorce Advice Session, Coaching Session or Evaluation for Representation.

Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer Coaching Tip - Keep an Eye Out for New RI Forms and Requirements

Change is the new word for Rhode Island's Family Court System.  With the herald of new Chief Judge Haiganush Bedrosian taking her position as the new Chief Judge, changes have been happening in the Domestic Relations Court System at an unprecedented pace, at least during my time as a Rhode Island lawyer.

As a lawyer who tries to remain informed about the newer requirements of the court and changes in the law I am frequently "bothering" for lack of a better term the already overworked clerks, assistant clerks and administrative support staff who strive to keep our courts running by asking them about new forms, administrative orders or other things that I should be aware of as a family law practitioner.

At first I was informed by one person that five (5) Administrative Orders had been issued by our new Chief Judge.  Then I was informed that there were only three (3) such orders and the missing numbers in the sequence of the Administrative Orders meant nothing.  Then I was told again that there were, in fact, five (5) such orders but only three (3) of them could be found in print form as of the time of my request.  To the date of this brief update, I am uncertain if there are 3, 5 or even more orders than are known to practitioners.

To say the least, it can become confusing, especially when the Administrative Orders are extremely important to the practice of law in the family court and yet there is no central form of distribution so that attorneys practicing in the area of domestic relations can know of their existence.  

The same is true for new forms.  The Rhode Island DR-6 Statement of Assets and Liabilities which has been a long disputed form between attorneys regarding how it is to be filled out and the court's intended use for it has now undergone such change that it has gone from a 2 page form on the front and back page of one peice of paper to a 9 page document which is now in it's third revision (or perhaps more) since its release to attorneys and to the public without notice.  The document lacks instructions which makes it substantially more confusing than the prior 2 page form and the mandate that it must now be on green paper or it will be rejected has left several practitioners holding the bag and missing some court deadlines.

Thankfully Rhode Island lawyers who are more courteous in their understanding of these changes in the Rhode Island Family Court are more accommodating and pick up the shortfall for lack of any notice of the form, its changes or lack of instructions by working civilly with other practitioners who find themselves caught unaware by changes that often go without notice.  The fundamental point for Rhode Island Divorce and Family Law Practitioners as well as those who attempt to represent themselves in a divorce or other family court proceeding is to do whatever you can to keep abreast of the court's Administrative Orders and the Newest Forms by contacting the Providence Family Court Clerk's Office.  It is not wise to presume that you are up to date either on the Orders or the form.


Here is a true to life example that occurred within the last hour.  I had helped a client to complete the new Green DR-6 Statement of Assets and Liabilities Form for a new case.  Surprisingly but gladly, I had been added to an email list from the court when I had asked to have the new form emailed to me.  The email was brief and to the point.  It instructed me to destroy the prior form I had received and to use the newly revised form that had just been emailed out.  While some time was wasted and more will be spent transposing the information to the new form, it is better to have been advised of this information than not to know about it at all.

Hopefully, there will eventually be put into place a better way of communicating with RI Family Law Practitioners and the public at large regarding these changes as they arise in the near future.  One can only hope that such a process will be part of the plan.

In the meantime, change is something we all need to adapt to and these new Administrative Orders and Forms are no exception.  Hopefully, Chief Judge Bedrosian will help us all to come together in a more unified manner to better understand what is being undertaken and why such changes are being made since this too is part of the proper and informed practice of family law.

A Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer's Tips on Uncontested Divorces!

Rhode Island divorce lawyers typically consider an uncontested divorce one that is resolved on or before the "Nominal Date" specified on the Summons and Nominal Track Notice contained in the Rhode Island Divorce filing package.  The Nominal date is specified by the Rhode Island Family Court when the Divorce Complaint and other required documents are filed with the court.  The nominal date is set forth both on the Summons and on the Nominal Track Notice both of which are served upon the non-filing spouse.

The Nominal Date typically gives the parties about eight (8) to (10) weeks for the parties to the Rhode Island Divorce to resolve all issues in their divorce.  On the Rhode Island nominal date the the parties come before the court for a 15 minute uncontested hearing (the "Nominal Hearing"). 

The term "nominal hearing" is just as the name implies.  It is a hearing that is truly "in name only".  The word "hearing" typically implies an adversarial process involving the taking of testimony followed by a decision of the court in favor of one or the other of the parties based upon the testimony.

   In a Nominal Hearing, the parties are given the time to place upon the record of the court all facts necessary the court to have jurisdiction over the divorce and the parties as well as all facts and demonstrating what the parties have agreed upon regarding the distribution of the parties assets, debts, medical care provisions, provisions regarding any minor children and any waivers and/or payment of alimony.

    For those seeking a divorce I would like to share with you a recent experience that I wish to share with you that now gives me pause and has caused me to think more about all the divorcing parties I assist.

    On January 15, 2009 I was unfortunate enough to fall on a patch of ice in the parking lot at the apartment complex where I live.  I struck my head a the base of the skull just where the spine meets the skull.  After a "tuning fork" sensation throughout my skull and a a quick sharp pain I seemed fine, so I got up and attended an appointment with a client at the Kent County Family Court.  By the end of the appointment I felt a strange pressure on the back of my head and I began to slur my words.

Approximately by noon I felt a growing pressure on my skull and was in the Emergency Room at Kent County Memorial Hospital.  I was unable to speak or think properly and lost all sense of balance.  For the next five hours I had very little power to move my arms or legs and thinking was exceptionally difficult.  I was exceptionally sleepy and was petrified to fall asleep with the thought that I may never wake up again.

This is enough about me.  The importance about this situation is the attention it called to my law practice, to divorce and to life itself.

I've had cases where people argue over dogs, photos, bed frames, and even the distribution of Christmas ornaments.  My fall was a sobering experience.  It reminded me in no uncertain terms about how foolish we as people often are.  We spend our lives accumulating material possessions and arguing over who will get what in a divorce situation.

In comparison, there is much more to life than the material items we accumulate during life and much time is wasted fighting over those items in a divorce.  The tip to a good uncontested divorce is to focus on life's true values, our ability to move, to talk, to work, to walk and to do the everyday things we take for granted.  Those who fight over meaningless replaceable physical possessions due to some need for a sense of security or some petty need to be vindicated as the "winner" in the divorce are the true losers in divorce battles.

A true uncontested divorce results in minimal time and effort and reaches a reasonable resolution when people realize that a divorce is just as much a chance at a new beginning by a transition from something comfortable to something new and potentially scary.  Yet it adds excitement and vibrancy to life.  If people were truly in love with one another at any time during their marriage, wouldn't they want their spouse to be happy.  Wouldn't a true love want that happiness to exist even if it were not with you?  Otherwise, what was the relationship to begin with?  Is it one person who selfishly wants their spouse to be wonderfully happy but ONLY as long as they remain with YOU and are only happy with YOU?

If your divorce is one that is truly one that is uncontested, then shouldn't both parties realize the true joys of life extend way beyond material goods, beds, chairs, televisions, 401k plans and the like? 

Do you want to move on?  Do you want to have an uncontested divorce that is substantially removed from stress, worry and aggravation?  Learn to give.  Learn that it is not the small replaceable things that make life worth living, but what we are willing to do for our own self-respect and for whatever love your ever had for your spouse.

When you come to terms with the true gifts and benefits of life and stop bickering about life's disposable and replaceable components, then your divorce will become burdenless and more the legal formality it was intended to be than the emotional vendetta too many people escalate it to today.

Authored By:

Christopher A. Pearsall
70 Dogwood Drive, Suite 304
West Warwick, RI 02893

Call (401) 632-6976 Now for your low-cost consultation.
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Copyright 2009. Christopher A. Pearsall
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