Depending on what type of legal matter you have, you would retain us either on an hourly, flat fee contingency fee basis.
If we are retained on an hourly fee basis, we ask for a retainer to be paid at the time you engage (hire) us to represent you. A retainer is like a deposit; it is held in our Client Trust (“IOLTA”) Account and is used to pay your balance at the time an invoice is sent to you on a regular (usually monthly) basis. If there are ever unused portions of your retainer remaining at the final conclusion of your matter, or if you decide to terminate our engagement, we will promptly return these unused amounts to you pursuant to the terms of your engagement letter. In the event the initial retainer is exhausted prior to the final conclusion of your matter, we would ask for a retainer replenishment at that time and/or to make other mutually agreeable payment arrangements.
If we are retained on a flat fee basis, we would likely ask for a 50% deposit to be paid at the time you engage us with the final 50% due on an agreed upon date.
If we are retained on a contingency fee basis, you do not pay any attorneys fees upfront and only pay a percentage of your settlement amount if your case settles.
We will discuss our engagement process, fees, and billing procedures during your initial consultation.
Because we serve a diverse client base and enjoy practicing in multiple areas, we handle, and have experience, in a wide spectrum of practice areas. If your unique matter does not fit within one of our listed practice areas, we encourage you to still contact us as it may still be something we can directly handle. If not and when necessary, we can point you in the right direction, refer you to an attorney-colleague and/or work collaboratively with another law firm to most efficiently serve your current legal needs.
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.
We offer in person and virtual mediation services, which can be helpful, especially when one party may reside out of State.
No. While it is typically more effective to all be present, we can mediate individually one-on-one offering each party an equal period of time alone, especially in the cases of any imbalance of power. Moreover, at any point you can request a one-on-one opportunity to speak privately with the Mediator in a break-out session, called “a caucus”, following which, we would offer the other party an opportunity to speak privately before all coming back together.
No, but we will always recommend that each party make their own decision as to whether they would like to review the Memorandum of Understanding with an attorney before signing it.
NO. In the event you need the terms of the MOU to become legally binding, you would need to work with an attorney outside the firm to have those terms memorialized and entered into a Court Order or Settlement Agreement. Although we are also attorneys, according to the existing Rhode Island rules which govern attorneys, we cannot thereafter perform the role of an attorney when we are retained as mediators, even after the mediation has completed.
In most cases, yes; which means that you do not pay any attorneys fees upfront and only pay a percentage of your settlement amount if your claim settles.
Each cause of action has its own statute of limitations which defines how long you have to make a claim for a potential personal injury claim. It is imperative that you preserve your statute of limitations if you plan to make a claim prior to the expiration date, so consult with an attorney early.
We encourage you to contact us as soon as you can following an accident/injury so we can get as much first hand knowledge of the incident, in your own words, as memories and details fade quickly. We also collect any initial information (i.e. medical records, discharge papers, police report) you may already have and set you up in an organized fashion to efficiently keep track of what we will need from you, if we are retained and together we decide to pursue a claim.
Primarily, to relieve some of the stress and burden off your loved ones during times of medical emergencies and the grieving process following your passing, as well as to ensure your best interests, affairs and legacies are protected according to your known wishes.
YES. Without proper Estate Planing documents in place, you likely do not have documentation in place as to what may happen to your minor children in the event of your passing or for anyone to advocate for your rights and manage your affairs if you are still alive, but incapacitated, i.e. unable to do so for yourself.
An asset that is titled individually in your name without a listed named payable on death beneficiary.
You are considered to have passed intestate i.e. without a Will and your Estate would be handled based upon the laws of intestacy without taking account your goals and preferences which otherwise could have been memorialized in properly executed estate planning documents.
We typically bill flat fees for estate planning documents, but each case is unique and we would provide a specific quote after learning some of your initial goals and circumstances.
Yes. Most of our business law clients elect to have us serve as their Registered Agent and to handle their Annual Reports and other necessary Secretary of State filings.
There are numerous legal and tax distinctions between the two, but one big difference is the amount of control the Employer has over the individual. If someone is free to make their own schedule and simply deliver a product or service by a specific deadline, rather than work a set schedule with specific expectations to adhere to, they are likely an Independent Contractor entitled to significantly less rights and benefits than an Employee. That said, there are benefits to becoming an Independent Contractor as well.
It means that the employee can be terminated by the employer at any time for any reason, besides an illegal one, or for no reason at all and that the employee is able to leave their place of employment at any time for any reason or no reason at all.
No. If you are an employer who wants to offer a Severance Agreement or if you are an employee who has received a Severance Agreement, reach out to us to discuss the potential pros and cons to the same.
Leases are highly customizable and negotiable which is why they should be carefully crafted and tailored to your individual and the property’s specific circumstances. Moreover, Landlord/Tenant law is very nuanced with specific procedures, timelines and deadlines that must be followed so you want to make sure you have a strong lease in place, regardless of whether you are the Landlord or Tenant.
No. Again, leases and lease terms can be very specific to your individual needs and most terms can be negotiated.