Providence Legal Issues Blog

Fatal car crash increase discovered around 4/20 holiday

Although Rhode Island has not legalized the recreational use of marijuana, that doesn't prevent people from joining in the April 20 celebrations that have been going on across the nation for more than 25 years. According to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, though, this self-proclaimed holiday may be responsible for an increase in fatal car crashes.

The conclusion isn't a surprising one since, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana use impairs driving abilities. Researchers found that every April 20, there is an increase in the number of fatal car crashes.. The trend was detected in most, but not all, states.

Avoiding revenge is the best policy in divorce

Rhode Island couples headed for divorce court may be tempted to use the litigation process to facilitate a quest for vengeance against a disappointing spouse. Aside from the folly attached to paying lawyers many thousands of dollars are other reasons why such a course of action is imprudent at best and destructive at worst. The path to a better post-divorce life does not generally run though the type of battlefield contemplated by parties seeking revenge for past wrongs.

While there are many reasons not to pursue a revenge motivated litigation strategy, the most persuasive for many hurting parents is child welfare. When two parents throw slings and arrows at one another, children get caught in between their two primary role models equally. Witnessing destructive behavior from parents is detrimental to a child's self-esteem and overall well-being. When the parties can set aside their differences and focus on the children, kids can realize their importance to each parent and understand that they will continue to have both parents going forward. Another compelling reason to avoid airing every salacious detail is that judges are rarely shocked and are largely unmotivated to help one party get revenge. Judicial focus is generally reserved for an equitable split under the law and the best interests of any children.

Can I veto my ex dating a specific person?

When a married couple divorces, it often happens that one spouse starts dating another person. Furthermore, it is natural for the other spouse to not approve of the new romantic interest. You may be wondering whether you can veto your ex dating a specific person you dislike because you have children.

The answer is no, you cannot. However, because children are in the picture, there is some gray area.

Tax law changes to have significant impact on alimony

Rhode Island spouses considering divorce may be particularly troubled by the potential financial implications of ending a marriage. From real estate division to spousal support, financial issues can be contentious aspects of a divorce. With the signing into law of tax reform bill in December 2017, there are major changes to spousal support scheduled to go into effect in 2019 that could have significant implications for divorces in the future.

U.S. federal tax law has taken a uniform approach to spousal support for the past 75 years. The paying former spouse has been consistently eligible for a tax deduction for the amount of payments made. On the other hand, the alimony recipient reported the payments and paid taxes on them as part of their overall income tax bill. However, as of January 1, 2019, all of this will be reversed for newly finalized divorces. The ex paying support will no longer be eligible for a tax deduction, and the recipient will no longer have to pay income taxes on the payments received.

Paying for insurance after a divorce

When a Rhode Island resident gets a divorce, it may impact his or her ability to get insurance. It may also play a role in how his or her child gets insurance. For adults, the first option may be to apply for insurance as per the Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act, or COBRA. If a spouse worked for a company with 20 or more employees, the other spouse may be entitled to COBRA for up to 36 months after the divorce.

However, coverage through COBRA can be more expensive than what an individual paid while married for the same coverage. Employers may charge up to 102 percent of the premium, and the extra 2 percent helps the employer to pay for administering the plan. If a parent cannot pay for a child to receive adequate health coverage, it may be possible to ask the other parent to help pay for it.

Tougher DUI penalties could be coming

A study just released by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine is giving a push to efforts by drunk driving activists to lower the threshold for DUI penalties in the United States. The journal article states that lowering the blood alcohol content to .05, combined with other measures, would reduce the number of drunk driving-related deaths.

Approximately 10,000 people die on American roads annually in alcohol-related incidents. Safety officials believe that adopting a series of measures including increased alcohol taxes and limiting times of sale along with lowering the BAC limits would save an untold number of lives. The effort is part of an initiative called Vision Zero, which has a goal of reducing the number of drunk driving deaths to zero.

Can I refuse a DUI chemical test in Rhode Island?

Each state has different laws regarding driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated, known as DUI and DWI. In Rhode Island, for example, the legal limit for blood alcohol content or blood alcohol concentration, known as BAC, is .08 percent, which is also the "per-se" BAC level in all states. 

However, some states have lower zero-tolerance levels, and the DUI procedures and protocols for stopping a driver, conducting DUI testing and arresting a driver for driving under the influence can all vary from state to state. Here is some information about how the law handles DUI in Rhode Island.

What to keep in mind when negotiating a divorce settlement

The good news is that Rhode Island ranks 36th among the states with the highest divorce rates. While ending a marriage isn't as common here as in many other states, there are still times when a union of this nature needs to be legally dissolved. Regardless of the circumstances involved, one of the first steps in this process is making an attempt to negotiate a fair settlement between parties.

Prior to negotiations, it's often beneficial for both parties to know where they stand financially independent of assets shared with their spouse. This information is often used to determine specific amounts for spousal or child support. It's also helpful for parties to understand possible best- and worst-case scenarios based on their situation, which can help a divorce lawyer determine how to approach negotiations on behalf of a client.

Steps to consider if you receive a DUI in Rhode Island

If law enforcement arrested you on a DUI charge, you may be wondering what your next steps should be. A DUI arrest can throw your life into a tailspin, especially if this is the first time you have been arrested and this is your first contact with the criminal justice system.

The way a DUI charge proceeds through the justice system is specific and not always straightforward. Here is some information to help you better understand what happens after a DUI charge and how you can move forward while trying to minimize the consequences to your future.

Divorce in January

Divorce filings in Rhode Island and the rest of the country tend to increase during the first month of the year. While a University of Washington study has determined that the majority of divorces occur during the months of March and August, the divorce courts still have to deal with the significant increase in divorce filings immediately after the start of each new year.

According to many legal practitioners, this trend is attributed to the idea that people prefer not to get divorced over the holidays. Typically, couples who have begun to entertain the idea of divorce before the holidays will make an effort to remain married until the next year so that their family may enjoy a final holiday season as one before they go their separate ways. This is particularly true for couples who are concerned about the welfare of their children.


Nicholas J. Hemond Attorney at Law
1 Turks Head Place, 12th Floor
Providence, RI 02903

Phone: 401-648-6509
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