Providence Legal Issues Blog

What to consider during the divorce process

It may be necessary for Rhode Island spouses to have a team assembled to help them through a divorce. This team will typically include a CPA or some other financial adviser as well as a therapist. Friends and family members may also make up a part of this support system. Those who don't have a team ready to go when they divorce may want to take time to assemble one.

One of the most important decisions a person may make when it comes time to divorce is choosing an attorney. In some cases, a person may already have an attorney in mind. They may also be referred to an attorney by their family or friends. If necessary, a person could actually interview potential lawyers.

How alcohol really affects safe driving

Impaired driving or driving under the influence of alcohol continues to be a serious problem in Rhode Island and across the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control, every day 28 people die in car crashes involving a drunk driver. CDC offers information on drunk driving and how it can be prevented. One key to prevention is educating drivers on just what being drunk does to their ability to drive.

Legally, drunkenness is measured by blood alcohol content. The legal limit in all 50 states for people 21 years of age and older is .08 percent. That can be about four drinks, depending on the amount and type of alcohol consumed and the weight of the individual. At this level of blood alcohol content, a person's muscle coordination deteriorates and they may have difficulty concentrating and processing information. What that means for a driver is the potential to drive too fast or erratically, to miss traffic signals or to make poor judgments about normal encounters with other vehicles or pedestrians.

Racial disparity in criminal sentencing

A fair and effective criminal justice system is important to most Rhode Island residents. The United States currently leads the world in incarceration, with more than two million people currently incarcerated. This is a 500 percent increase in four decades.

However, a study by the US Sentencing Commission shows an apparent disparity in the time served by African-American men as opposed to Caucasian American men, even though both committed the same crime. The commission noted that on average African-American males spent 19.1 percent more time in prison as opposed to their Caucasian American counterparts.

To stay or to go: Children and divorce

Parents in Rhode Island who are in unhappy marriages may struggle with whether they should try to stay together for their children's sake or if it would be better to get divorced. There are several reasons that should prompt people to go through with their divorces and others that might indicate that remaining together is worthwhile.

If there is abuse in a marriage, there is no question that the couple should get divorced. Victims should recognize that protecting themselves and their children is much more important than trying to fix their marriages. Likewise, couples who constantly fight and who are unable to get along with each other might also want to get divorced. Children who are raised in toxic environments do not do as well as children whose lives are relatively free from strife. Finally, people who are extremely unhappy in their marriages might be better off getting divorced. Children may do better when they have two happy homes instead of one unhappy home.

Are you at risk for a DUI this Thanksgiving week?

Whether you are one of the millions of people traveling out of town this Thanksgiving week or staying put in your hometown, you could be at risk for DUI.

In fact, the day before Thanksgiving is often called "Blackout Wednesday." Here is a look at this day and several other DUI risks that Thanksgiving poses.

Preventing wildlife collisions

Rhode Island drivers who regularly commute during the evening should be aware that, with the end of daylight saving time, it gets darker much earlier. However, this occurs during the peak of the animal mating season, making this time even more dangerous for drivers.

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, around 3,300 wildlife collisions occur every year in that state. The most common animal collisions involve deer, while others can involve bears. The month of November is when deer generally have their mating season, so they can often be found in the middle of roadways as they look for other deer. Bears, on the other hand, are often in the search for food as they fatten up before going into hibernation. Regardless of what type of wildlife becomes involved in the collision, the results can be damaging. In fact, the average property damage costs for accidents involving animals is over $3,400, according to one insurer.

When divorce might be the right choice

Although Rhode Island couples may find ending their marriage to be painful, in some cases, it may be the best choice. Around half of marriages end in divorce, and a couple who is able to accept that it is not a sign that they have failed may be able to negotiate the divorce more productively and move on.

There are a few circumstances in which it may become clear to a person that divorce is the best option. For example, if there is abuse, leaving the marriage may be the right choice. Infidelity or a temptation toward infidelity is also a sign of serious problems. It may be possible to talk this over with the spouse or with a counselor. If the couple goes to counseling for this or any other reason and it is unsuccessful, this may also be a sign that the marriage has run its course. Couples may want to try several counselors before reaching this conclusion.

Online dating has some positive implications

Online dating may help to bring harmony into relationships, according to one study. Dating websites can encourage Rhode Island residents to meet people of different backgrounds from outside their own social networks. A study published by the National Academy of Sciences found that of relationships that begin online, only 5.9 broke up. Furthermore, only 7 percent of couples analyzed for the study divorced or separated after getting married.

This compares to 7.6 percent who broke up after meeting offline. One of the reasons is that those who are looking to get married will include the internet as part of their search for a partner. The use of questionnaires as well as computer programs aimed at matching users may also play a role in success rates of relationships that begin online.

Cellphones linked to accidents, but too little data gathered

Some Rhode Island residents may have been among the approximately 100 people per day on average who died in motor vehicle accidents in 2016. Traffic fatalities are up after years of decline, and experts say it cannot be fully explained by people driving more or an increase in driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Many experts believe that the distraction of smartphones is to blame, but the way that accidents causes are tracked and recorded provides too little data.

In the past few years, ownership of smartphones has increased just as the way people use them has changed. Rather than using the phones merely to talk, people may use them to text or use apps like Facebook or Instagram, often while behind the wheel. The death rate has increased among cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians, and significantly, a driver distracted by a smart phone is less likely to notice these than a large vehicle.

Is there ever a reason to leave the scene of an accident?

Getting into a car accident can often seem like a nightmare — it happens so fast, and you will likely be in shock immediately following the crash. Regardless of who was at fault or how the accident occurred, all drivers involved must remain at the scene until law enforcement arrives. You might be wondering what happens if you leave before this point.

The answer depends on a number of factors. The Daily Courier cites a study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety which found that a driver left the scene in approximately 11 percent of accidents. There are several things to take into consideration when this seems to be the only option.


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

Phone: 401-648-6509
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