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March 2008

So you Want to Hire A Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer?

The first question I usually get is this . . .  Why you?  A dialogue may help understand how I explain it from my end.  You can of course determine if the prospective client's dialogue is similar to what you might ask or perhaps you'd like to ask me something different.

So let's take Lincoln and say he's a fellow with a divorce that comes into my office to interview me because after all that's that happens if you're not looking for legal advice, the client is interviewing for a good Rhode Island Divorce Attorney and the Rhode Island Attorney is interviewing for clients who can pay their fee and act and deal reasonably with the attorney.

Lincoln:  Hello Mr. Pearsall, thank you for meeting with me.

Attorney Pearsall:  Lincoln, Please call me Chris.  We can relate better without all the titles and formality.

Lincoln:  Okay.

Attorney Pearsall:  Generally what I like to do is this.  You go ahead and talk.  If you want to tell me about your situation or simply ask me questions that's fine.  Does that sound fair enough?

Lincoln:  That works for me.  So may I begin.

Attorney Pearsall: Go right ahead.

Lincoln:  Well first, I found you on the internet.  I decided that there was more information on the internet than going through the yellow pages.

Attorney Pearsall:  Okay. . . makes sense.

Lincoln:  Well your site came up with a few other guys in the top ones on Google.

Attorney Pearsall: Well that's nice to hear.

Lincoln:  So I've set up appointments with the top three that I found.  There was you, Timothy Conlon and  David Slepkow.  So I set up appointments with all three of you.  You are the first attorney I'm meeting with.

Attorney Pearsall:  Well it's smart to shop for the right attorney.

Lincoln:  Well I've read your website and I know what it says.  I read a couple of articles on your articles website.  But now we're here in person and I need to know what you're really like.

Attorney Pearsall:  I'm not really sure I'm following you Lincoln.

Lincoln:  My point is that anyone can put anything on a website.  It's advertising, right?  You put what you have to on your websites to rank higher and to attract more clients.   But how different are you from that  website information.

Attorney Pearsall:  Well Lincoln, I think I actually put it best on my website because I created my websites.  I'm a solo practitioner.  I do what I do because I've been there.  I went through a very difficult divorce and several other issues before the Rhode Island Family Court before I became an attorney.  Now this is what I do.

Lincoln:  Okay, so you do divorces just like the other fellows.  Maybe they've been through a nasty divorce themselves.

Attorney Pearsall:
Yes, that could be true.  I don't know their personal histories.  I'll leave that to you to ferrett out.  All I can tell you is what I've been through.

Lincoln:  So what you've told me may be of no benefit to me over the other attorneys, right?

Attorney Pearsall: What I've told you so far?

Lincoln:  Yes.

Attorney Pearsall:  Your correct.  That might not give you any extra benefits over the other Rhode Island Divorce Attorneys.

Lincoln:  So is there anything that makes you different over the others?

Attorney Pearsall: Well first, I think it would be premature to presume that the other attorneys have been through a divorce in the system or that they have done so as a layperson as I did.  There's a big difference there.  I didn't become an attorney until after I had been through my divorce.   

Lincoln:  Chris, I don't follow.

Attorney Pearsall:  Assume that either or both of these other attorneys did go through a difficult divorce but that they were attorneys and knew about family law at the time, the appreciation of the issues and the process is much different than a person who has gone through it as a layman.  It's like comparing apples and oranges.

Lincoln: Okay that may be but they've still been through the process.

Attorney Pearsall:  I agree Lincoln.  Yet to my thinking there is a big difference.  I'm an attorney now but I remember those days as a layperson going through a divorce as if it were yesterday.

Lincoln:  But what is your point?

Attorney Pearsall:  My point is that I remember the feelings.  I remember not knowing any family law.  I remember feeling helpless in the system.  I remember feeling alone and not knowing what was going to happen to my relationship with my children, where I was going to live, how I was going to pay child support and survive, what was going to happen to the house. . . . some days I relive those feelings for my clients.

Lincoln:  Okay, so you have a lot of feelings about your divorce.  How does that benefit me as a potential client?

Attorney Pearsall:  If I can still feel those feelings today and you are my client today Lincoln and you bring up an issue that I can relate to from my own experience, isn't it probable that I'm going to give your issue some serious consideration?

Lincoln: Okay, but shouldn't any attorney give anything I have to say the seriousness it deserves?

Attorney Pearsall: In theory I suppose that's true but the fact is, just because a person is a licensed professional does not mean that he or she is going to give seriousness to everything you say.  If a Rhode Island Divorce attorney hasn't been through it and considers your concern trivial, it may be given no weight at all.

Lincoln:  So your benefit is just your experience personally?

Attorney Pearsall:  I think that minimizes the value of that experience because it leads me to care for my clients which I believe is crucial to my practice.  We all do more for something we care about, not just because we're being paid, but because it affects a persons life, their future.

Lincoln:  Okay so your experience and caring then?

Attorney Pearsall:
I won't try to put words in your mouth Lincoln.  I have other benefits like a lower hourly rate and differing financial arrangements but aside from those that is what I offer.

Lincoln:  Thank you for your time Chris.  After I meet with the other attorneys I'll get back to you if I decide to pursue my divorce with you.

Authored by:

Christopher A. Pearsall, Esquire
571 Pontiac Avenue
Cranston, RI  02910
Phone:  (401) 354-2369

Attorney Pearsall's practice is focused almost exclusively in the areas of Divorce and Family law.

CALL (401) 354-2369 now to schedule for your low-cost, no obligation legal consultation!

NOTE:  The postings on this website are NOT legal advice, DO NOT create an attorney/client relationship and are NOT a substitute for a detailed consultation with an attorney experienced in the state where you have your legal issue.  This site is based on Rhode Island and is presented for the convenience of the internet public.

* The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers in the general practice of law and has no procedure for recognition of specialty in any area of law.

Copyright 2008 - Christopher A. Pearsall and Pearsall Law Associates (All Rights Reserved.)

Attorney Christopher Pearsall - Do Unemployed Wives Contribute to Rhode Island Divorces?

After eight (8) years as a Rhode Island lawyer dedicated to divorce and family law and another thirteen years in law here in Rhode Island, there is one situation that I have seen consistently and it almost always results in an unhappy husband paying alimony to his spouse.  The scenario goes pretty much like this one.

John and Melissa get married and have a child.  Melissa stays home to take care of the child because daycare expenses would be too costly and Melissa doesn't want her child raised by someone else.  Melissa promises that when the child gets into school full time that she will get a job or return to work to help with the family income.  The day comes when the child is in full time school and Melissa refuses to go back to work.  She wants to be able to bring the child to school, participate in school events during the day and pick the child up after school.  This situation often ends with a very upset husband and may eventually lead to the husband filing for divorce. 

John files for divorce and Melissa who has not been working for years seeks alimony and child support as the primary caregiver for the child.  John is upset.  John can't understand it.   He pulled the financial weight for his family for years and now when he wants to get out of the relationship he might be expected to pay for several more years. 


Just because Melissa stayed home with their child and refused to return to work as she had agreed to help out their little family?

The answer is a resounding "NO".

It is not because Melissa broke her promise.

Practically speaking it is because John allowed her to stay home without contributing to the household income.

Many families are economical.  Attorneys understand that.  Yes, I understand that.  However, everyone should take into consideration that more than one out of every two marriages end in divorce.

When you have that kind of figure working against you then you have to consider the consequences if your marriage happens to be one of those that don't make it.

So what is the answer?  Families need two incomes even if it means the majority of one income goes to daycare for a while.  Women can earn as much as men these days and the old ways of the mother just staying home with the child are disappearing.  Frankly, they should be.

The answer to John's predicament and for many other men is to get the mother out and working for your financial future as soon as possible after the child is born.  It is not a right of a mother to stay home with the child any more than it is a right of the father not to pull his weight with diaper changing and late night feedings.

In the end, if John, or you, or your neighbor Tim, is one of those two marriages that isn't going to make it for 50 years or so and you end up in Rhode Island Divorce Court, then if you let the mother stay at home with the child then prepare to pay alimony for a few years.  At that juncture you have no one to blame.  You should be informed.  We balance the pros and cons on house buying.  We also do it on whether we take a job or not.  Why shouldn't we expect to do it with a marriage? After all, isn't it one of the biggest decisions in our lives?!