Shop Around

If you are in need of a Family Law attorney, you’re stressed.  Maybe you are getting a divorce; either the divorce you need terribly and RIGHT THIS MINUTE RIGHT NOW TOMORROW, or the divorce is something that is happening to you and that want nothing to do with, thank you very much.  Either way, you face losing the house, half your assets, your health insurance, your family, or all of the above (you stand to lose this whether you desperately want the divorce or not btw).

Or you are hoping to adopt a child that has been living with you for a year and you cannot imagine waking up one day and not having him there at the breakfast table.  Or you’re that child’s mother and you are fighting for your life because DCYF has filed to terminate your parental rights.  Forever.  And you cannot imagine him never coming home.

Or you have suffered domestic violence for much longer than you can remember and have finally had enough.

Or you need child support to make the rent.

Or the other parent wants to move your child to Kentucky.

Etc., Etc.

Point is, if you are in the Family Court, you don’t need an attorney, you need the attorney.  So here is some candid advice.  Meet many of us.  We are legion and we are all very different (and we all have very different rates).  Shop around.  The consult is free (or it should be!).  Meet a lot of us, and get quotes. In writing.  On letterhead.  There are plenty of Family Court attorneys out there who can help anyone, but only a few who can help you and your family.

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Disclosure

When you go to a Family Law attorney, be prepared to talk! Typically, a wide range of issues needs to be discussed depending on the subject. For divorces or separations involving children, you may need to discuss: custody, visitation, support, other people in your child’s life, health insurance, life insurance, possible education expenses, religion or other social issues, and any tax issues. For some divorces, you may need to discuss: support, property, jobs, income, real estate, assets, liabilities, pets, taxes, cars, support, history of domestic violence, protection orders, resuming maiden names, etc. These lists are not exhaustive and are just a sampling of some things you can be expected to talk about.

It is important that you talk with your attorney candidly and honestly. It is also important that you provide them with the documentation that they need in a timely manner to make sure the process itself stays timely. Don’t forget that your attorney is working towards a solution that best fits your needs.

Marissa McGill

Final Restraining Order

A Final Restraining Order may enter after a hearing in court. At this hearing, both parties (the person seeking the restraining order and the person whom the restraining order is being sought against) have the opportunity to be present and testify or present evidence to support their position.

This order may last up to three (3) years if the judge believes that it is appropriate and necessary. However, this can later be extended by the judge if you go back to court and file a renewal petition before the order expires.  The judge can then extend the order for as long as they believe is necessary for your safety and protection. This can happen more than once if the judge believes it is appropriate.

If you or someone you know is in a domestic violence situation, please get help.

-Marissa McGill

Temporary Restraining Orders

A Temporary Restraining Order, commonly referred to as a TRO, is different than a regular restraining order because it lasts only for a temporary period (usually 20 days). The restraining order is temporary because it allows for immediate protection until a hearing date can be scheduled and heard.

To apply for a TRO, you must go to the appropriate court and fill out the necessary paperwork. Many courthouses have advocates who can assist you with the paperwork. In order to get the TRO, you will have to explain to the judge (usually via writing, but sometimes they will ask you questions) why you feel that your safety is at risk because of a certain person’s actions. If the judge agrees that your safety may be at risk, then they will issue the TRO.

If you want the TRO to last for more than the temporary period, you must go to the hearing. Usually the person you are seeking the TRO against has a chance to go to this hearing as well. If the judge agrees that the restraining order should be extended, they will extend it for a period of time.

If you have any questions about Temporary Restraining Orders, please contact a Rhode Island Family Law Attorney.