A Rhode Island lawyer can't counsel and/or give legal advice to individuals with adverse interests. In a Rhode Island divorce a husband and wife are always considered as having adverse interests. Therefore, in creating my Rhode Island Divorce Coaching Sessions I initially ran across numerous couples that I had to turn away.
As a stickler for the Rhode Island Professional Code of Ethical Conduct. I have always strived to be well within our ethical code as a Rhode Island attorney. Yet I did find it disheartening to turn away people in need.
This caused me to embark on a new way that I might help amicable spouses to reach resolutions to their own divorces without violating the Rhode Island Professional Code of Ethical Conduct.
I have now reached a new phase of my practice to help people who are considering beginning a divorce practice. It involves education about the Rhode Island Family Court and the Divorce Process and NOT specific legal advice regarding either a husband or a wife's specific situation or legal rights.
I understand that many husbands and wives in an amicable a.k.a. uncontested divorce situation would enjoy saving money and using one attorney for the whole process.
However, since a Rhode Island attorney cannot give legal advice to adverse parties in a divorce situation, it isn't possible under our ethical guidelines. In a Rhode Island divorce, husbands and wives are always to considered to legally to have adverse interests no matter how much they may be in agreement regarding the resolution of their marriage. Therefore, I have produced an educational seminar for those who need information regarding Rhode Island's Family Court and the Divorce Process.
In this particular segment I insure that I do not receive factual information from either party about their financial situation, marriage, etc... Rather I provide educational information in the nature of a seminar as an Introduction to Rhode Island Family Court System and the Rhode Island Divorce Process that both spouses may attend.
At the beginning of this seminar I explain to the participants in attendance an overview of the Rhode Island Divorce process, procedure and stages,contested and uncontested, the role of the judge, practical considerations that all people should have in any divorce, and provide examples as necessary.
I make sure it is understood by those attending the seminar that I am not to be told about their particular situation, finances, etc... and that I will not provide answers to their questions unless they relate to the exact substance of my seminar and do not relate to their particular circumstances. In this way, if either party wishes to continue with my coaching sessions or request representation in order to complete their divorce, they may do so and I will not have allowed the creation of any conflict of interest whereby I could not coach or represent one or the other of the spouses who attended the seminar.
Sample seminars were conducted in October and November of 2011 and in each case my standards were adhered to and one of the spouses opted to continue coaching. The seminars were found to be productive despite some minor frustration by husbands and/or wives who wanted to ask legal questions specific to their own interests and I politely indicated that I could not do so at that time due to the type of service provided and in accordance with my ethical guidelines.
All in all the Introductory Seminar was successful and I received excellent feedback and commentary regarding the information obtained by the participants and their thoughts on its value.
Beginning March 1, 2012 I will offer this seminar is a service to those in need of understanding and information in the first instance before they seek out a lawyer to represent them or someone to coach them through their divorce process.
My Best to All Who Go Before the RI Family Court,
I am Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall and
I am "The Rhode Island Divorce Coach."