Random Thoughts of a RI Family Court, Custody and Divorce Attorney

  • Cover over your tattoos during your RI Divorce hearing when you are in front of the judge or magistrate hearing the cause of action. Perception is reality.
  • No, you cannot sign or file something that terminates your parental rights. Parental rights can only be terminated in RI via an adoption or by appropriate action taken by the Department of Children Youth and Families (DCYF).
  • I often hear pro se litigants request that an attorney be appointed for them. You have no right to an attorney in Rhode Island Family Court unless it is a criminal case heard in Providence, Kent, Newport or Washington County. (Criminal cases are rarely heard in RI Family Court) You have the right to an attorney if there is a possibility of imprisonment in a child support contempt proceeding or other proceeding for contempt that you could be incarcerated. You also may have a right to a lawyer in a dcyf cause of action. Juveniles have the right to a lawyer in criminal cases in family Court. A domestic violence victim who qualifies for legal services will be appointed an attorney for a complaint protection for abuse restraining order.
  • RI family Court is not the beach, a local fishing spot or a sporting event. Please dress appropriately. Also, don’t overdress. Overdressing makes you look like a fool and can make you look like you are trying too hard to impress. I saw one guy dressed like a pimp in a white suit. It was quite a spectacle. PERCEPTION IS REALITY!
  • You cannot win a grudge match with a judge or Providence Family court magistrate so don’t even try. You will lose every time.
  • Do not throw your Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer under the bus in front of the judge. If you attorney told you something off the record, do not repeat it back to the judge. Your conversations with your RI child custody attorney should be confidential.
  • ALMOST NEVER QUOTE A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT IN RHODE ISLAND FAMILY COURT. RI Family Court is not really a court about rights,  it is a court of equity and obligations. It is ok to take the Fifth Amendment if your testimony might incriminate you. Please see: http://rhodeislanddivorcelawyerarticles.com/the-misguided-the-family-court-constitutional-ammendment-guy/
  • I am often asked what percent of the Divorce, child custody and Family law Cases I win. This question makes no sense to me. Family Court attorneys rarely ever win or lose cases for several reasons: (1) Nearly all cases settle without a full divorce or Custody trial on the merits. (2) winning and losing is highly dependent on the merits and the facts of the case. (3) No one really wins a divorce case since the standard is equitable division of the assets. Winning and Losing only rarely occurs in RI family court and it usually pertains to cases that are black and white such as a child being allowed to relocate out of state or physical placement to mom or dad. Winning and Losing often occurs concerning particular motions and particular issues and those decisions often lead to settlement of the cause of action.
  • Going to the law library probably will not help you much in RI Family Court unless you are going there to research the meaning of “organized chaos”.
  • The main reason why you need a divorce lawyer or child custody attorney to represent you is because we know how to present your case properly to the particular judge who is handling your matter. Different Judges in Family Court have different ways they handle their court rooms and sometimes they have their own ideology on how they handle legal issues. An experienced divorce lawyer would have seen that judge rules hundreds of times and will know the proper way to present the case to that judge.
  • Representing yourself PRO SE in Providence Family Court is usually a very bad idea.  You may make a very costly mistake which could really hurt your case. You have no experience, do not know RI  law and are not aware of making proper arguments and presenting your case to the Court.  We understand the rules and how the system works. We are aware of proper arguments to make and how to handle the matter. Experienced Family law lawyers have argued cases in front of that particular judge hundreds of times.


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