Every Rhode Island divorce attorney or RI Family Court lawyer has been embroiled in a “nuclear war.” RI Family Court Lawyers do not enjoy being involved in these unseemly and out of control skirmishes that never end. These are custody, divorce or visitation wars that no one can win and everyone one loses especially the children who can suffer great harm as a result of the war.
As a result, think long and hard before you lob the first nuclear bomb against the other party. The parties have long since stopped caring about the damage this is doing to their children. It is too late. The battles have raged on for too long and the parties are too focused on winning the next skirmish.
Here are some of the “going nuclear” tactics I have seen In Rhode Island Family Court:
- telling child that her stepmother who raised her was dead even though she was alive.
- alleging sexual molestation which is false
- contacting immigration to have someone deported
- “losing” the family pictures-
- shaving the child’s head
- not telling a parent about a baptism of a child or inviting the other party.
- False allegations that the other parent hit or abused the other child
- leaving the state with the child to deprive the other parent of a relationship with the other parent
We as attorneys enter the battlefield because we have unrealistic hopes that we can help the client end the war. Usually, we are not able to end the war because the combatants don’t want to end the war. They want us to enable them and be pawns in their war. They want to use us as if we are a tank to help them in their battle. If we try to reason with them and be a calming influence, we get fired because we did not enable their warring ways
At one time or another, warring parties have been involved in a road rage incident similar in some respects to the following:
- A well- timed screaming match while putting the child into the car seat. One party drives away while the door is open and almost runs over the other person leg. There is a denial of the incident. Of course, the parties cannot agree to the facts or if the incident ever occurred. Because of the parties history of accusations AND denials, no one can ever sort out the facts and nothing is usually done. These parties have cried wolf so many times that no one cares any more.
- Most of the warring parties have been in an incident in which they or their out of control significant other is flipping off the other party while driving recklessly on the highway. There are of course allegations that one party tried to run the other person off the road. There are denials and conflicting reports. The next day someone’s car is keyed.
Parties use endless government resources in their child custody or visitation war
Unfortunately, these parties use endless government resources in their child custody or visitation war. Each party files endless police reports, endless reports to dcyf and any state or federal agency who will give them the time of day. Sometimes, the police roll their eyes and dead file these reports when they come in. They tell them this is a civil matter. The Parties never realize that “civil matter” is a code word to get lost and go back to the Rhode Island Family court Battlefield.
hallmark of a nuclear war in RI Family Court
How do you know if your case is nuclear? The hallmark of a nuclear war is numerous restraining orders orders over many years, multiple criminal cases, endless calls to dcyf, cancelled visitations, fighting significant others, calls to the IRS to report each other, false complaint of sexual molestation or abuse of a child, taking off with the child out of state, bashing the other parent in front of the child, never ending court motions and emergency motions. These parties will try to get the children on their side so that the child will hate the other parent.
Parties will also resort to small skirmishes to get even with the other party. This includes showing up late for a visit, cancelling a visit when they know the other party has an important family event, refusing to take a child to a game or activity that is important to the other party etc etc. A nuclear war in RI family Court is one in which one party at one point in time used the nuclear option and the other sought revenge by lobbing a nuclear bomb. After that, the parties lob Molotov cocktails at each other seeking endless retribution.
Both Parties will claim that they have been wronged AND that they seek justice
Both Parties will claim that they have been wronged AND that they seek justice. However, the matters have become so confusing and convoluted that no one can figure out how and why this all started and who is at fault. The parties cannot agree as to what day of the week it is. The parties present diametrically opposite versions of all the facts. Truthfully, the matter is so confusing and convoluted that few really care about how it started and who is in the right and wrong.
The Rhode Island Family Court Judges have great difficulty sorting out the facts and who is in the right. Because the history is too convoluted, the RI Family Court will never determine the facts. Judges in Family Court are too busy and have too many cases to really figure out these endless wars.
In Cardinale v Cardinale, the Rhode Island Supreme Court cited Charles Dickens Bleak house
“Quite frankly, the travel of this case reminds us of the mythical case of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce, which Dickens so devastatingly satirized over 150 years ago in Bleak House. He describes that case in pertinent part as follows: “[Jarndyce v. Jarndyce ] drones on. This scarecrow of a suit has, in course of time, become so complicated, that no man alive knows what it means. The parties to it understand it least; but it has been observed that no two Chancery lawyers can talk about it for five minutes, without coming to a total disagreement as to all the premises.” Charles Dickens, Bleak House 7-8 (George Ford & Sylvère Monod eds., W.W. Norton & Co.1985) (1853).
These warring individuals cannot really be helped much by the RI Family Court
A Child Custody War is a messy, unseemly and never-ending tit for tat on going war so out of control that no one understand how the parties got this point and very few really care. The RI Family Court can set physical custody, legal custody (Joint Custody or Sole Custody) and a visitation schedule and some general rules of battle and then leave the parties to continue their mutually assured destruction.
Now get lost! RI Family Court
The judge will set some rules such as no negative or disparaging remarks about the other party in the presence of the minor child. occasionally, the judge will restrain a drug addicted or criminal boyfriend or girlfriend from being in the presence of the child. ** The Court will order that all communications by text or email. Pick up and drop off at the police station. Now get lost! Of Course, the parties will ignore these rules and file never ending contempt motions to prove the other party violated these rules.
Rhode Island Restraining order attorney | RI Family Court**
The restraining order against the other parties abusive, criminal or drug user significant other was not filed because the other party cared about the best interest of the minor child. It was not filed to protect the child from harm. The parties claim they care about the best interest of the child but have long ago stopped really caring. The party wants that person out of the picture to get leverage in the ongoing feud. This will fuel the fire of many contempt motions in the future when the other party (allegedly) invariably violates the order. The restraining order against the boyfriend or girlfriend will invariably fuel a new round of counterattacks. Suddenly the aggrieved party is outraged about the other parent’s mother/ father or sister who has that long forgotten? criminal drug conviction.
Numerous lawyers have withdrawn as counsel for these parties
Most of these parties have gone through numerous lawyers at one point or another and fired a good number of lawyers. Numerous lawyers have withdrawn as counsel for these parties. The parties have also filed a number of ethics complaints against some of these lawyers. These lawyers are just collateral damage in the ongoing feud. Typically, those lawyers are fired when the combatant is unhappy that the lawyer refuses to enable them. These people do not want real legal advice. They want enablers not counselors! Rhode Island Family Court Judges do not really know what to do with these parties. Perhaps, the best thing to do issue mutual restraining orders and tell them to get lost. Many judges issue restraining orders in these cases.
Another way to get rid of these people who frankly waste judicial resources is to send them to family Counseling. In other words, NOW you are someone else’s problem. Perhaps a well times continuance and then a kick in the ass to go away is the best option. One of the two of these parties will inevitable bring a disciplinary case against the psychologist or psychiatrist who seeks to sort out this mess.
Sometimes there is a person embroiled in this war who has been wronged
Sadly, sometimes there is a person embroiled in this war who has been wronged and does seek justice in the Court system. However, it is nearly impossible to determine who the aggrieved party is if there is an aggrieved party at all. Both parties will go on long diatribes to anyone stupid enough to listen that they are mother Teresa and the other party is the devil.
Parties in these wars have called dcyf so many times against each other that they need an unlimited calling plan. At one point or another dcyf does not care anymore and can’t believe anything anyone alleges in the case. Unfortunately, the real losers in these wars are the children who are used as pawns in the war and often suffer great emotional damage. Of course, both parties blame the other for causing the child so many problems.
These parties use the Rhode Island Court system as their battlefield. After the initial filing fee its free to continue the battles. The tax payers are fueling this child custody battle. It only costs a one-time fee of $145 to have endless use of The Rhode Island Family Court and RI District Court (for criminal matters) as a battlefield. The Court cannot stop these battles, they can only allow them to continue.