Staying Married for the Children

So many couples put off divorce until their children are older, truly believing that once their children are adults themselves, the parents will then have the freedom to get a divorce without ruining their children’s perfect, married-parent childhood. However, this is not usually a good idea.

Children are pretty good at sensing emotions of the people that they are close to. Parents may be thinking that they are putting a good show on for their children, but many times, their children can tell that their home is not a happy one. This can be confusing and frustrating for children, especially if the parents act like everything is okay, since the children may feel that things are not okay, but their parents are telling them otherwise.

Children also may miss out on witnessing what a real, loving relationship looks like. They may grow up thinking that their parents are in love, but if what they see from their parents is anger, coldness, unhappiness, dissatisfaction, etc., they may erroneously believe that that is what love is. This puts the children at a disadvantage when they are trying to establish their own relationships.

Many times, divorce can bring relief to all members involved. Children could feel more secure if things are settled and they are kept updated (appropriately for their age level). Plus, they will certainly notice that mom and dad are happier apart, and therefore, likely better parents.

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

Why You Need an Attorney

Divorce involves the uncoupling of two people, un-mingling of all of the assets (and worse, debts), and separation of all of the property.  Add to the mix that emotions and tensions typically run high during these times and a perfect recipe for a complicated process is created. For many people, it only makes sense to reach out to an attorney to handle the divorce matter for you.

Attorneys can take a lot of the pressure off of you. They know what paperwork needs to be in and when. They know how to act at court appearances, and what the judge wants to know. They know how to communicate with other attorneys, if the opposing party is represented, or parties who represent themselves. Finally, they know that this matter affects not just your present, but also your future.

Divorce is an extremely difficult time no matter what, but hiring a family law attorney can allow you to focus on yourself and moving forward instead of the court proceedings. If you have any questions about a divorce matter, please contact a family law attorney today.

-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.

How Quickly Can I Get Divorced?

In Rhode Island, all divorce cases will follow a typical timeline that the court has set up. After a divorce complaint has been filed, the complaint must then be served on the other party, which can take some time. From there, the timeline will depend on whether the divorce is considered “contested”, where there is something that the parties cannot come to an agreement on, even if it is something small, or “uncontested”, where the parties are able to come up with an agreement before the matter comes before the judge.

If the divorce is considered uncontested, the process can move along more quickly. After a period of sixty days, the divorce can be scheduled for a divorce hearing. Then, after a period of three months and one day from the divorce hearing, a judge can sign the Final Judgment of Divorce.

If the divorce is considered contested, then the process can take much longer, because all of the contested issues likely need to be decided on before a judge can sign the Final Judgment of Divorce.

It is important to note that even if the divorce is uncontested and everything is agreed on before the divorce hearing, many things can come up that can delay the process. One or both parties may need time to procure an important document or to get a certain asset settled. Although in theory an uncontested divorce can take as little as about five months, most divorces do take a little longer. The important part, however, is that the process has been initiated and the parties are on their way to the divorce and resolution of their issues.

If you have any questions, please contact a Rhode Island Family Law Attorney.

Marissa McGill

Residency Requirements

In order for a court to have jurisdiction or the authority to preside over a divorce matter, most states have instituted residency requirements in which either one or both of the parties must have lived in the state for a certain period of time.

In Rhode Island, at least one party needs to be a resident of Rhode Island for a period of one year. If at least one party has not been a resident of Rhode Island for at least one year, then another state will likely have jurisdiction over your divorce, and you will likely have to file in that other state.

If you have any questions about the Residency Requirement or any other requirement for divorce, please contact a family law attorney.

Marissa McGill

Child Custody

Many events that happen between parents aren’t considered during a child custody hearing. It typically won’t matter if one parent was the one that wanted the divorce or separation, or if one parent was unfaithful to the relationship. An exception to this rule is if one or both of the parents have a history of domestic violence, even if it is not directed towards the child.

It is not difficult to see why. Being safe and secure is one of the most important factors when determining what type of arrangement is in a child’s best interest. If there is a history of domestic violence against anyone, even a former spouse that is not one of the parties involved in the current matter, there is a good chance that a judge will use that in their current decision. One incident may not result in that parent losing all rights to the child, but maybe the parent will be required to undergo supervised visits with the child until all of the parties are satisfied that the child is safe with the parent. Termination of parental rights is reserved for only extreme cases, including extreme cases of domestic violence.

If you have any questions about how a history of domestic violence may affect your child’s custody agreement, please contact a Rhode Island Family Lawyer.

Marissa McGill