Traveling (with shared custody)

Traveling is a great way to educate children about different cultures, places, and way of life. However, parents who share custody typically need to take a few extra steps to prepare for their trip, especially if they plan to take their child out of the country. In many cases, you will at least need the other parent’s permission, and it is a good idea to get that permission in writing, and possibly even bring that document with you on your travels. If the parents can’t agree on whether the child should be traveling or not, the courts may have to get involved.

If a child who is 15 years old or less needs to apply for a passport, both of his or her parents need to go with them to apply for the passport. If both parents cannot go, then the absent one must fill out a special form. If the absent parent can’t be located, the court may be able to grant permission.

The government also has a program where you can sign up to be notified if someone has applied for a passport for your child without your knowledge. This is of course to prevent the situations where one parent takes the other child out of the country without the other parent’s knowledge.

Traveling with shared custody can be a tricky situation and it is always a good idea to consult a lawyer beforehand. It is also a good idea to research the passport requirements for your particular situation. It is always better to be overcautious than to have any issues when trying to leave or enter the country.

Marissa McGill

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EMERGENCY Restraining Orders

An Emergency Temporary Restraining Order is different from a regular Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in that you may get an Emergency Temporary Restraining Order during evenings, weekends, or holidays (essentially when the courthouse is not open).

You can apply for this type of TRO by calling your local police department. However, if you do receive this type of TRO, you will need to go to the courthouse on the next business day, at which point the process for a regular TRO will take over. That means if you want the restraining order to continue beyond the temporary period, you will need to attend a hearing.

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

Cat Fight!

An important question for many people going through a divorce is which party will get to keep the family pet or pets. This is typically a dog, though this post could apply to many pets. As with most legal questions, the best answer is “it depends”. When trying to determine who should get the dog, the following things should be taken into consideration.

  • Who can best take care of the dog? This includes feedings, exercises, veterinary appointments, grooming and/or baths, and etc. Alternatively, is there one party who can’t take care of the dog?
  • Which party has the time to give the dog the attention, love, and care that it requires?
  • Which party can better afford to take care of the dog?
  • Are there any children involved that are attached to the dog? If so, which party will have that child?*
  • Did the dog belong to one party before the marriage?
  • Was the dog bonded to one party over another?

As with many situations in a divorce, it is much easier if the parties agree that one party should keep the dog. However, divorces are complicated and the parties are not always able to come to an agreement. This is why it is important to consult a local Family Law Attorney who understands how important your pet is to you, and that your pet is a part of your family.

Marissa McGill

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.