Kristine and Monique have extensive Divorce & Family Law experience and provide both uncontested and contested legal services with respect to a wide variety of Divorce & Family Law related matters. As experienced Divorce & Family Law attorneys and mediators, Kristine and Monique are focused on offering a personalized, strategic and holistic approach to each Divorce & Family Law case. We carefully consider the unique circumstances and dynamic of each and every individual Divorce & Family Law case, including the overall legal issues, as well as the client’s overall well-being and best interests, from both a financial and emotional standpoint, the best interests of the children and the personalities involved. Moreover, as part of our holistic approach to each matter, we guide clients who are at all stages of Divorce and Family Law matters, from pre-marriage advice and prenuptial agreements to strategic pre-divorce planning and consultation, as well as planning to protect one’s rights as a parent when sharing (or expecting) a minor child with a co-parent outside of a marriage. Changing family dynamics is often stressful and nothing hits closer to home. Kristine and Monique enjoy using creativity to tailor resolutions specific to each client’s individual and unique family’s circumstances in order to achieve the personal freedom and happiness that everyone deserves.
“Monique made what felt like an extremely painful and stressful process seem somehow easy and under control. Going through a divorce process is never easy, and it seemed as if I had so many hurdles to face. Monique handled them professionally and calmly. She never gave more hope than necessary, she provided the stability and truth that I needed in a tumultuous time. The time and dedication she gave will forever be appreciated!”
Moreover, we put our respective families first and expect our clients to do the same. Thus, we work hard to encourage parents to act like grown-ups when they might not be and remind clients that no one “wins” in a Divorce or Family Law case. Co-parents and families are attached for not only 18 years of minority, but also beyond, as there will likely be graduations, weddings, births and other miscellaneous celebrations in their collective futures. This is why Kristine and Monique focus on promoting long lasting co-parenting and family relationships, especially with the best interests of minor children at the forefront.
Overall, Kristine’s and Monique go-to method to resolving these complex, yet often times emotionally-driven and deeply personal matters is simple: a respectful and efficient collaboration. However, in some cases, this method may not always be the most effective, which is why Kristine and Monique always remain assertive and fierce advocates for their clients. That said, through years of experience sparing with the best of them, we have learned that there is a very important distinction between assertiveness vs. aggressiveness, as aggression is usually only an inefficient tactic which can lead to increased legal time and fees.
Monique and Kristine guide clients who are at all stages Divorce and Family Law matters, from pre-marriage advice and prenuptial agreements to strategic pre-divorce planning and consultation, as well as planning to protect one’s rights as a parent when sharing (or expecting) a minor child with a co-parent outside of a marriage through the divorce negotiation and finalization process to modifications down the road as circumstances may change.
IT DEPENDS. The two typical fixed initial costs to initiate the case are the Court’s filing fee (~$150.00) and the Constable’s service fee to serve the other party (usually ~$55+). Legal fees are entirely dependent on the amount of time to takes to resolve one’s case. We bill hourly based on 6 minute intervals. We pride ourselves on clear and transparent billing practices which would be explained in detail during a consultation and set forth in our engagement letter, if retained. There may be additional out-of-pocket costs associated with the legal process or one’s more personal in nature such as; coparenting counseling, financial planning, etc.
We recommend consulting with an attorney early. Be sure to have sufficient funds to protect your access to legal services to initiate a divorce case, as well as your living arrangements. In the event you are “cut off” financially at the onset of a divorce filing, there are avenues to address finances and temporary issues during the pendency of a divorce.
If you are considering filing for a Complaint for Divorce or other Family Law matter, but unsure, you do not need to bring anything. We can help you work through your current thought processes and prepare you for the time in which you may be ready to proceed, whether that be immediately or in the future.
If your spouse has already filed for divorce, please provide a copy of all paperwork you have received, likely via service by Constable.
If you are party to a Miscellaneous Family Law matter (parties never married, but have a minor child in common) or a Post-Final Judgment or Modification case, please bring a copy of any existing Court Orders, Marital Settlement Agreements or other recent pleadings to help bring us up to speed quickly on the procedural history of your case.
Yes. You would need to file a Paternity or Miscellaneous Family Court case, which largely depends on whether paternity has already been established or not (i.e. birth father’s name is on a birth certificate or not).
NO. The Rhode Island Professional Rules of Conduct for attorneys prevent an attorney from representing both spouses in a Divorce or Family Law related matter, including prenuptial agreements, as there is an underlying conflict of interest.
YES. Kristine and Monique are both certified mediators and we often handle matters via our mediation services [see Mediation page], however, it is very important to note that IF we serve as mediators in any matter, under the current rules in Rhode Island, we CANNOT later represent either party as their attorney as that would be unethical and a conflict of interest. That said, at any point in a Divorce or Family Law matter, you can utilize the services of a mediator by agreement of both parties and if we were retained as an attorney for legal representation, we could refer you to or work with your selected independent mediator outside of the firm.
In order to file for divorce in Rhode Island, at least one party to the divorce action must live within the State of Rhode Island continuously for one year prior to the filing of their Complaint.
Once retained and with your assistance, we would prepare the initial filing Complaint and other required court documents, including the 9 page “Statement of Assets and Liabilities” form for your review, finalization and execution and our eventual e-Filing with the Court. You would also need an original copy of your marriage certificate.
YES. Except for a very few exceptions for alternate forms of service, you must serve the opposing party via Constable at the opening (or re-opening) of any Rhode Island Divorce or Family Law case.
The shortest time period in which to get divorced in Rhode Island, assuming you are ready to proceed with a nominal hearing on your first assigned court date and have a fully prepared, negotiated and executed Marital (or “Property”) Settlement Agreement (“Agreement”) by that date, is roughly 5-6 months (minor exception if living apart for 3 or more years). If continuances for any reason are necessary extending the time period in which you are prepared to present your Agreement to the Court, that time period simply extends. If you end up with a contested track divorce, it could take upwards of many more month(s) and year(s). We do everything in our power to efficiently resolve cases in an otherwise, often inefficient system with our client’s overall best interests in mind, including financial and emotional considerations, as well as their minor child(ren)’s best interests.
YES. It is expected that both parties to a divorce appear in Court or you could face the risk of being defaulted. Rhode Island doesn’t accept executed Marital (or “Property”) Settlement Agreements without a hearing, nor can a mediator present an Agreement to the Court directly.
Each county in Rhode Island has its own court house, with the exception of Bristol County cases which are heard in Providence County. See below for a listing of all four Family Court addresses in Rhode Island:
Murray Judicial Complex
45 Washington Square
Newport, Rhode Island 02840
McGrath Judicial Complex
4800 Tower Hill Road
Wakefield, Rhode Island 02879
Noel Judicial Complex
222 Quaker Lane
Warwick, Rhode Island 02886
Bristol & Providence County:
Garrahy Judicial Complex
One Dorrance Plaza
Providence, Rhode Island 02903
The legally binding contract that is ultimately drafted, reviewed, negotiated and executed by both parties to present to a Judge at a nominal hearing consisting of all provisions relating to the marital assets and liabilities, personal property, insurances, parenting plan, child support and any other miscellaneous provisions or obligations between the parties going forward. The terms Marital Settlement Agreement and Property Settlement Agreement are interchangeable.
Items relating to the Minor Child(ren) are the only sections that could potentially be modified by the Court in the event of a "substantial change in circumstances.” All financial or other provisions between the parties are binding, unless an amendment is executed and filed with the Court via the same formalities used to execute the Marital Settlement Agreement.
"Working with Monique was the easiest part of my wedding planning process. Going into the prenup negotiations, I felt intimidated, unprepared, and overwhelmed. Monique really held my hand through the whole process and was the best advocate I could have. I had a greater understanding of things, felt so comfortable, and had no regrets at the end of the process. Thank you Monique with being so flexible with your time, being honest with me, and fighting for me! I absolutely loved working with you and you seriously helped me more than you know!”