1 Perception is reality. Both sides often have diametrically opposite version of the facts. Therefore the judge will never really know what actually happened. It is all about how the judge perceives you and your credibility. Credibility is crucial in RI Family Court.
1A. Retain a Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer! Hire a RI Child Custody Attorney! You do not know your way around Family Court. Often everything you have is at stake. You need a Rhode Island Lawyer to guide you through the complicated and complex minefield of Rhode Island Family Court. You would not do you own surgery. You should not represent yourself in a divorce, child custody, adoption, dcyf matter, child visitation, paternity or Rhode Island child support matter
2. Do not use illegal drugs. You may always be subjected to a drug test. Marijuana is included. Yes, you can lose custody or visitation rights for your children by abusing illegal drugs.
3. Do not make faces or be rude to the judge. Make your arguments but do not be argumentative.
4. Try not to explain your positions in black and white terms. Years ago, I had a client in a custody case who told me that her boy friend that she lived with for many years never plays with the child, never changed a diaper and never did anything with the child. She lost credibility with me. If she had said that he occasionally plays with the child but most of the time he ignored her and abused alcohol, I would have felt she was more credible. The world is not about black and white, good and evil. Most everything in Rhode Island Family Court is shades of Gray. Very few people are all bad. You can lose credibility very easily in Rhode Island Family Court.
5. Concede what you must concede to maintain your own credibility.
6. Even if you are the problem, you want the judge to perceive you as trying to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Judges are looking for equitable solutions not continuation of never ending feuds. Rhode Island Family Court Judges have too many cases on their calender and look favorably upon those who attempt to work things out without judicial intervention.
6B-Always be willing to at least try mediation even if you are positive it will not work. You will be percecieved by the judge as an obstructionist or unreasonable if you are unwilling to attempt mediation. Why should you be willing to try Divorce, Child custody or family law mediation in Rhode Island? See #6 above.
7. Do not get bogged down in minutia. This annoys the judge and takes the focus off the most important issues in the case. In other words pick and choose your battles carefully. For example, try to work out issues such as the division of pots and pans and furniture outside of the judge and focus on the most important issues with the judge.
8. Dress appropriately for Court. Again perception is reality.
9. Never bad mouth the other parent or discuss the case in any detail with the children. Never try to get the children on your side. Children are not your friends in the divorce. They are not your confidants. You should encourage a meaningful and loving relationship with the other parent.
10. Remember this fundamental truth of Rhode Island child custody cases. Typically the judge will ignore assertions made by both sides and look exclusively to independent sources such as the guardian ad litem, child psychiatrists, psychologists, psychological evaluations, investigators, dcyf and clinical social workers. Why is this true? Judges get completely opposite and diametrically opposite factual assertion from the parties and do not have the time to try to sort it all out. In many cases it is impossible to sort out who is telling the truth. Therefore, the judges look to the above mentioned trusted sources.
About the Author:
David Slepkow is a Rhode Island Divorce Attorney concentrating in Divorce, Family Law, Restraining Orders, DCYF, Adoptions, Paternity, Post Divorce, Relocation, Child Support, Custody and Visitation. David Slepkow has been practicing Law Since 1997 and is licensed in Rhode Island (RI), Massachusetts (MA) and Federal Court. Free Initial consultations. Credit Cards Accepted. Evening Appointments available. You can contact RI Attorney David Slepkow by going to Rhode Island Family Law Lawyer or by calling him at 401-437-1100.