Rhode Island RI Common Law Marriage – Fact Or Fiction

Fiction- If I live together with my boyfriend for over seven years then we are normally common law married.

This is a huge urban myth that is completely and totally false! In fact, a couple could live together for 35 years in Rhode Island and still not be common law married! However, another couple could live together for 7 days and be married.

How can this be true ??

This article only applies to Rhode Island. Also, a vast majority of states do not recognize common law marriages. Please contact Rhode Island divorce and family law lawyer, David Slepkow, to help evaluate whether you can successfully establish a common law marriage in Rhode Island.

In order to establish a common law marriage in Rhode Island, a couple must have "seriously intended to enter into the husband-wife relationship." Demelo v. Zompa, 844 A.2d 174 "The parties conduct also must be of such a character as to lead to a belief in the community that they were married." Demelo v. Zompa 844 A.2d 174 "The preliminary serious intent and belief is demonstrable by inference from cohabitation, declarations, reputation among kindred and friends, and other circumstantial evidence." Demelo v. Zompa, 844 A.2d 174

A crucible element to common law marriage is where a couple holds themselves out to the community as husband and wife.

I believe that Courts look to several factors in determining if there is a common law marriage. The Court looks at a totality of the circumstances rather than focusing on any one particular factor exclusively. In other words, if one of the following factors does not apply there could still be a common law marriage!

Establishing a common law marriage in Rhode island is analogous to building a brick wall. A single brick alone will not build the wall! Pulling out any particular brick will not cause the wall to fall. Similarly, No one factor usually creates a common law marriage. (perhaps, and I emphasize regardless, the only exception to this is filing married for your federal income taxes) The absence of a single factor usually does not defeat a common law marriage! (The exception to this may be lack of cohabitation but that is not set in stone.

The court may look at either the identical wife took the husband's last name. The woman's use of husband's last name indicates that the parties were holding themselves out to the community as married and exhibiting a serious intent to enter into a marriage. If a woman takes a man's last name and uses the name in public then that will go a long way in establishing a common law marriage. A woman not taking her significant other's last name will not be fatal to establishing the marriage. Judges are keenly aware that in this day and age, it is common for a woman to use her maiden name after a valid marriage.

The Court will look to see if the parties introduce each other as "my husband" or "my wife" in social settings or when appropriate. The Courts are well aware that married couples usually do not introduce their spouse by his / her first name.

Medical treatment forms, financing applications and other forms may be important to see whether the parties listed the other person as their spouse or even admitted that there was a marriage.

The length of time that the parties lived together may be very relevant. An economic partnership between the parties is also very significant. Joint bank accounts, joint ownership of property, joint accounts, beneficial designs on retirement plans, insurance applications could all be bricks in a wall of establishing a common law marriage. Please note that these types of factors (such as having a joint bank account together) alone will not establish a common law marriage! In this day and age it is not unusual for boysfriends and girlfriends to live together with joint bank accounts or even, sometimes, owning property together without intending to enter into a marriage. However, the above mentioned factors take on importance in conjunction with other significant factors set forth in this article.

There are a myriad of other factors that could be very important in determining whether or not there is a common law marriage. This includes whether a diamond ring or other ring was given and what hand the ring was worn on.

This article in no way establishes all the factors that could be important.

If the parties can not agree that there was a marriage then witnesses will need to testify in Court to establish a belief and reputation in the community that the parties were married. In other words does your social circle (friends, family, acquentions) believe that you and your significant other are married?

One of the most critical elements of common law marriage is the tax status that the parties claim on their federal and state income tax forms. If the parties filed married filing jointly or married filing separately then some judges would say that the common law marriage is established. A federal tax document is a very significant document and most people know the importance of being truthful when filling it out. I would tend to agree that if the parties filed their taxes as married so they are probably in fact married! If the parties filed as married filing jointly and then one of them denies the common law marriage then they are in a perjury trap. Either they lied to the IRS or they are lying to the Court. Filling single will not be helpful to establish a common law marriage however it is not fatal.

How could a party be common law married after 7 days? Hypothetically, boyfriend and girlfriend invite all their friends to a party which is not officially a wedding. No marriage certificate is bought or obtained by the couple. However, at the party the couple announcements to all their friends and family in attendance that they are married, they move in together the next day. The girlfriend puts him on her health insurance. They are probably married by common law after just a week!

If you believe that you are common law married and want to terminate the relationship then you need to file for divorce in Rhode Island family Court seeking to establish the appropriate elements.

5 Reasons to Visit Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

Ocracoke Island is one of the barrier islands that lie off the coast of North Carolina. Few people, even native North Carolinians, have visited there because it is reachable only via boat, ferry or plane. Easily located on any map or in Google satellite view, Ocracoke holds treasures for tourists willing to venture off the beat path.

Ocracoke Island boasts sweeping panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean framed by protective dunes and miles of pristine beach. In 2007, Dr. Beach ranked Ocracoke as number one on his annual America's Best Beach list. Little commercialization has spoiled Ocracoke. There are no fast-food restaurants, no hotel chains and most of the beach areas that precisely that: miles of uninterrupted sand, ocean and sky. Quaint, comfortable inns and guest cottages, along with locally run specialty restaurants, accommodate visitors to the island without detracting from the village's charm. Fresh, local seafood and cuisine not to be missed.

Visiting Ocracoke is like going back in time. Visitors reaching Ocracoke via the Cedar Island Ferry, east of Morehead City and Beaufort, after a two-hour ferry ride, catch their first glimpse of Ocracoke from the waters of Pamlico Sound. A water tower, lighthouse and scattered buildings await them as the ferry pulls into Silver Lake, a circular bay filled with fishing boats, sailboats and small pleasure craft. Gulls and other sea birds circle overhead. Tourists are immediately stuck by the charm of the cottages and small inns, reminiscent of the 1950s and 1960s.

Upon leaving the ferry, drivers discover there is one small passageway into and through Ocracoke Village. Highway 12 begins at the entrance to the ferry's parking lot and remains a small ribbon of paved road that winds quickly through the village and, just a few miles up the road, into a long, barren stretch bordered by the Pamlico Sound on the left and the Atlantic Ocean on the right. On the way to the Hatteras Island ferry, automobile traffic rolls through the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, a commerce-free, nature-filled reserve that is nothing, if not spectacular. Primitive beach camping, swimming, fishing and nature activities are allowed here. Facilities are clean and comfortable.

Wild ponies still roam the island, although for their safety, conservationists have identified pens and gaps to better care for their needs. A pony viewing station is conveniently located where observers can take photographs, climb a viewing stand and read more about the famous wild ponies of Ocracoke Island.

Getting around at Ocracoke is an adventure of its own. One does not have to be on the island for more than fifteen minutes before he wants to ditch the car. Ocracoke is a pedestrian's dream. Most people park the car and walk. Shops and restaurants on the island lie within a short walk of individual cottages or village inns. Bicycles are the rule of the day and are available for rent through the village, as are bikes retrofitted with devices for those with children in tow. Golf cart rentals have become popular as well as scooters. During the summer months, families on bikes enjoy relaxing vacations away from their faster-paced lives in places far beyond Ocracoke.

According to the National Park Service, Ocracoke Lighthouse remains the second-oldest lighthouse still operating in the United States. Built in 1823, it is visible through the village and provides photo opportunities from both land and sea vantage points. For lighthouse lovers, a visit to Ocracoke just to stand beneath this lighthouse is reason enough to visit Ocracoke.

Reasons to visit Ocracoke Island, North Carolina abound. The simplest, most compiling for this North Carolina native, remains just to get away from the hustle and bustle of civilization for Ocracoke is, in every way, where the sidewalk, or highway, ends.


Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Dr. Beach

Rhode Island Divorce Tips – Divorce Questionaires Aren’t to be Avoided!

I’ve seen it in larger law firms and practices and I’ve adopted it for my own divorce practice in Rhode Island. It’s a questionaire. There’s more too it than that obviously, but it’s one of the things I have found to be the most helpful for my clients and . . . in the long run. . . . for me as their divorce attorney.

Yet here is the problem. Some clients find questionaires to be mundane and boring and they don’t really see the value in filling them out completely or correctly. Some clients will just skip what they don’t know off the top of their heads and expect the lawyer to fill in the blanks later.

Folks, I can tell you that questionaires are the key to saving money and developing an effective way for attorneys to properly represent the client.

Imagine there is a lazy client who fills in a divorce questionaire poorly with lots of gaps and unanswered information. That means the attorney that lazy client hired has to take time to prod you and dig for information that is most likely easier and more cost effective for the lazy client to get.

Yet the lazy client who didn’t want to fill out the questionaire will probably breathe fire from his or her nostrils when they get the bill from the attorney for finishing the questionaire by digging for the information.

Whether you have a divorce in Rhode Island or in another state, it doesn’t matter. If you are provided with a questionaire by the attorney, fill it out completely and as legibly as possible. The attorney is providing you with a valuable tool to help the attorney and save you money. Use it wisely.

Are Radar Detectors Illegal in North Carolina?

Numerous car owners in the United States own radar detectors. The reason behind this is, many feel the current speed limit is low. Many of the Americans are unhappy about the moderate speed limit. They want to drive fast and reach their destination in a record time and may be they enjoy racing.

The radar detector sends out an alarm whenever there is police in the vicinity. When the alarm goes off the drivers goes easy on their speed by slowing down. The cops on the other hand try to dodge off such devices by hiding behind bridges, alleyways to catch racers.

Motorists are aware of these techniques used by police, so purchase more sophisticated and enhanced radar detectors which keep entering the market. The police too keep improving their techniques and prospects of getting hold of speed racers.

Although use of radar detector is not prohibited by many states of America, it does not mean that it is legal all over the country. Some of the states prohibited the use of radar detectors. The use of radar detectors had been made illegal in North Carolina too.

The decision taken by North Carolina by banning radar detectors and making it illegal is considered to the toughest law of enforcement. In North Carolina usage of radar detectors both by buses and trucks is made illegal.

North Carolina was one of the first few states that enforce this law and also tried to confiscate the radar detectors. It was the federal administration that inscribed the law, but like in many law agencies enforcing and penalizing offenders has been given to the state officials, since they are responsible for inspecting the safety of vehicles. Beside confiscating the radar detectors, North Carolina penalizes the lawbreaker with a $ 500 fine.

Radar detectors have been made illegal in North Carolina to make keep a check on the speeding freaks. The use of radar detectors have been opposed by three sources-the police officers, since it comes in the ways of carrying out the law; municipalities that depend on the revenue make from speed traps; thirdly the insurance companies. Many argument that radar detectors are purchased with the sole aim of evading speeding tickets. By making radar detectors illegal in North Carolina, it brings in uniformity and dissuades the driver from breaking the law.

Stringent laws will reduce rash driving and speeding on the road and improve safety levels on the highway.

Rhode Island Child Support Lawyer – Don’t Skip the Step

Rhode Island child support is calculated pursuant to the Rhode Island Child Support Guidelines which is a short directive providing the manner in which child support is to be calculated. Providing a current chart to indicate the amount of child support the non-placement parent should pay at a minimum.

It is important to keep in mind that though these are guidelines and are indicative of the minimum child support obligation to be paid, the Guidelines and their numbers carry considerable weight with most Rhode Island Family Court Judges and deviation only occurs in rare circumstances of judicial discretion.

As a family lawyer there is one step I often see attorneys skip and yet it is a step that can make a significant financial difference in the child support that might be paid by the non-placement parent.

When you have additional minor dependents to be taken into account by either party when calculating child support, you may be entitled to a credit against your gross income that is attributable to that additional minor dependent.

What you need to do to calculate the proper credit for that additional minor dependent is to fill out a Guideline worksheet for that child using the incomes of both of that child’s natural parents.

I’d estimate that about 90% of all Rhode Island Attorneys skip this step and only use the income of the one natural parent that is actual in court for the calculation and then cut the deduction in half. That is not the prescribed formula for computing this deduction. It may be a shortcut for most attorneys but it’s wrong. Yet most attorneys don’t even explain to the client that they are doing something incorrectly and the affect it may have on the client financially. Better yet, this situation can be rectified when the parties know there is a child support hearing coming up and the information of the other non-party spouse isn’t likely to be present. Subpoenas for the other spouses payroll records aren’t terribly expensive, aren’t difficult, are very effective and shouldn’t add to your legal bill.

Here’s the problem. If the other natural parent of the child makes a significant income and it’s not factored in, then a substantial credit could be lost. This means that over even 15 years of the child’s life span that either the payer of child support will overpay substantially if he or she is the one entitled to the additional credit for the minor dependent, or it could mean that the payee placement parent will be substantially shorted on the amount of child support he or she is entitled to if he or she is the one entitled to the additional minor dependent deduction.

If you know that the amount you pay for support is going to be addressed at an upcoming hearing, and you know that the opposing party has a minor child (under age 18) that he or she has had with another person, then the opposing party is entitled to a mandatory deduction for that additional minor dependent. Make sure your attorney does either one of three things.

1. Subpoena the opposing party’s spouse’s payroll records.

2. Send a Request for Production of Documents to the opposing party requesting the production of recent pay stubs for the parent of that minor child.

3. Send a set of Interrogatories to the opposing party asking that the party answer questions under oath that disclose the place of employment and income of the parent of that minor child.

On average my calculations indicated that about 7 out of 10 litigants in family court received a much greater long term financial benefit by not skipping the step than the additional cost of the attorney’s fee and/or subpoena generated by following one of the three steps above.

Clients with Child Support Issues… Encourage your lawyer not to skip the step!

Fighting Drug Charges in North Carolina

Whether you've been charged with having drugs Raleigh at a Widespread Panic concert, prescription drugs unlawfully in your home or dorm room, or you've been charged with trafficking in 500 pounds of marijuana or 6 kilos of cocaine, Raleigh drug charges can result in serious consequences for you and your family.

If this is your first time offense, and there is no good defense to the charges, and the amount of drugs is small, you may be eligible for a felony drug diversion or misdemeanor drug diversion (90-96) program. These programs are offered by the Wake County District Attorney and administered through Southlight, an addiction treatment program in Wake County.

You should hire a competent, qualified Raleigh drug lawyer to make sure that at every step in the process your rights are protected, and that, if you successfully complete the program, the charges and record of the arrest can be wiped clean (expunged) from your record.

If you've been charged with drug manufacturing, selling drugs, possession with intent to sell and deliver (PWISD), maintaining a lodging, or drug trafficking crime, you absolutely need legal representation to help you defend against these charges.

That's because crimes involving drug sales, or possession with intent to sell are felonies, which can result in serious consequences, including life-long prohibition against owning guns or ammunition, especially when it comes to your future employment, your ability to remain out of jail , and other aspects important in your life.

And if you've been charged with drug trafficking, you need to talk to a lawyer who understands how both the state drug trafficking laws work and also how to defend you in federal court. That's because the federal government – through the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina (EDNC) – will frequently take cases "federal," which can result in substantively harsher sentences.

It is important, whether the drugs are heroin, ecstacy, cocaine, oxycodone, oxycontin, marijuana, meth, methamphetamines or other kinds of drugs that you or your family get the advice of a serious drug lawyer Raleigh to help defend you against these charges.

Child Support Does Not Automatically Terminate in Rhode Island When a Child Turns 18!

How do I terminate my child support obligation and stop wage garnishment in Rhode Island?

In Rhode Island (RI) child support does not automatically terminate when a child reaches 18 years old! Termination of a support order is not automatic in Rhode Island! An order / obligation will only terminate if a motion to terminate is granted by a Judge of the Rhode Island Family Court. Unlike a motion to modify, a DR6 financial statement is not necessary unless there is an additional child in which a child support obligation will continue. If there is an additional child under 18 then a motion to terminate is really in essence a motion for modification.

Pursuing to RI law, child support is eligible to be terminated upon a child attaining the age of 18 and graduating high school but not longer then the child turning 19 years old. If the child is 18 years old and still in high school than child support may continue until the child grades high school but not longer then the child attaining the age of 19. If a child is determined to be seriously disabled then child support may continue until the child attains the age of 21. (please note that this law changed in 2009 and child support for severely disabled children may extend past 21) If the Judge finds good cause an order may continue for three months after graduation from high school.

A person should file a motion to terminate support approximately 30-40 days prior to the child's graduation from high school. If the child did not finish high school then a person should file their motion 30-40 days prior to the child's 18th birthday. It will take a approximately 30-40 days until the clerk can schedule a hearing for the termination motion.

After the motion to terminate, the attorney must submit proper documentation and orders to the court, the obligors employer (to stop wage garnishment) and to the reciprocal clerk (to amend the computer records) If the computer records continue to show an arrears which may cause problems including automatic intercept of your tax refund, ability to obtain a passport among other problems.

Raleigh, North Carolina, is one of the Best Cities to Buy Real Estate

Have you been pondering buying a home or investing in real estate? Like most people you might be putting off buying real estate because you are leery of the economy, waiting for the stimulus package or hear some negative press.

Well, now is a good time to buy, and the Raleigh area housing market is doing well.

Raleigh, NC, is listed as the 6th healthiest housing market in the US for 2009 according to a recent article in Builder Magazine. This comes as no surprise. The Raleigh-Durham area consistently ranks in the top 10 best US cities to live and is a popular choice for relocating families.

According to the article in Builder Magazine, they analyzed the top 75 housing markets in the country. The article looked at population trends, job growth, home prices and number of building permits to determine the top markets. The article noted what the healthiest housing markets have in common, including close proximity to the ocean, mountains or major universities and no substantial increase in the price of homes. The Raleigh area has all these attractive qualities plus the four seasons, a comfortable climate, affordable cost of living, Research Triangle Park (RTP) and more.

The US Census Bureau announced the Raleigh-Cary area as one of the fastest growing metro areas between 2007 and 2008. From July 2007 to July 2008 there was a 4.8 percent increase in population in the Raleigh metro area and most of these people have yet to purchase homes. Additionally, Forbes recently ranked Raleigh as the number one city in the US for job growth.

The Triangle housing market is more stable and steady than the rest of the country. Homes here have not depreciated. According to the Triangle Area Residential Realty (TARR) Report, homes in the Triangle are appreciating between 2 and 4 percent. US homes on average are depreciating at 8.2 percent.

Plenty of homes are selling at their top value in a short time period. For example, a recent search for single family North Raleigh homes on the MLS in the $ 275K to $ 325K range yielded only 73 homes on the market with a median of 54 days on the market. That does not qualify as an oversupply in our marketplace. That is also an indicator of why most of our market areas have appreciated in the past 12 months, not depreciated as most of the nation has.

However, if you are patient, you can find a deal, not a steal. A majority of what is on the market now has been on the market for a while mainly because the initial asking price was too high. These are starting to drop in price.

Interest rates are the lowest they've been in 37 years. If you wait, thinking that you might get a lower price on a home, you may lose in the long run if the rates go up. Whatever, if any, savings in the sales price you may possibly gain would be outweighed by the higher interest rate compounded over a 30 year loan.

When the market starts turning to a sellers market, it will happen quickly. Listings that are properly priced and are in top condition will sell immediately when they hit the market.

Now is a good time to start shopping for a home. Talk with a real estate agent about available listings in the Raleigh area. Contact your mortgage broker to take advantage of the low rates.

Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer – The Doctrine of Transmutation

In a Rhode Island divorce you may not have heard of the "Doctrine of Transmutation." Yet it's something you definitely want to know about or at least something you do not want to be surprised by.

The doctrine of transmutation applies in a divorce when non-tangible property is dropped into the tangible estate when a non-financial asset that is in the name of one spouse is transferred jointly into the name of both spouses.

The court will generally deem this asset to have been transferred into a marginal asset absent clear and convincing evidence to the contrary.

The doctrine would come into effect, for instance, where you have a Rhode Island Divorce and there is a piece of real estate that the wife purchased with inherited monies and wanted to keep separate from her husband, however she had her husband's name added to the deed during the marriage.

A spouse wishing to combat the doctrine of transmutation can usually expect substantive resistance in court because the doctrine of transmutation has been held to be consistent with the idea that marriage is a partnership and therefore the intention by the transfer into joint names embodies the notice that the transferring party intended both parties to share equally in the asset. See Hurley v. Hurley , 610 A2d 80 (RI 1992); and see Quinn v. Quinn , 512 A2d 848 (RI 1986).

It is an interesting doctrine in that, if the wife then caused the "transmutation" or … change of character in the property such that she permanently changed it to a property that her husband also had an interest in. . . then no single act by her can remove that interest. In essence the wife changed the property from what might have arguably had been "pre-tangible" real estate to one that is now part of the tangible estate and and is subject to division by the Rhode Island family court whether she likes it or not.

While this doctrine may seem to be quite obvious, it can be a bit more complex in its underlying tones. It is very easy for laypeople and even casual advocates practicing in family law to misuse the doctrine. For those attorneys who do use it, either poorly or out of context you should make sure that you and / or your chosen attorney are aware of the defenses that can be used and which may differ the claim of the doctrine.

Top Family Holiday Activities in the Monroe, North Carolina Area

As the holiday season approaches the Monroe, North Carolina area offers many opportunities to celebrate the season. Beginning in late November, every weekend presents the opportunity to enjoy a different holiday celebration in Monroe or a nearby town. Here is an overview of some of the most popular family friendly activities.

The most popular holiday tradition in the area is the Union County Christmas Parade, which kicks off holiday activities in Monroe. This year the parade is scheduled for November 21 from 2 to 5pm. The parade is a 60-year tradition and draws thousands of attendees from Union and surrounding counties. The two mile parade route runs through historic downtown Monroe, and includes floats, marching bands, and a visit from Santa.

The nearby town of Indian Trail also has a Christmas Parade. Their parade is scheduled for the Sunday after Thanksgiving, November 28, through the downtown area on Indian Trail Road. On December 9 from 6-8pm, Indian Trail has their Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at City Hall. This family event includes caroling, hot apple cider and S’mores by the bonfire, and Santa’s arrival by fire truck.

The town of Waxhaw presents their Holiday Festival of Lights and Noel Nights on November 26 and 27. The downtown area is beautifully transformed by over 50,000 holiday lights. Scheduled activities include the Christmas tree lighting, carriage rides, and caroling.

Wingate University in nearby Wingate, North Carolina will present two special holiday concerts. There will be a free Percussion Christmas Concert on December 2. The Blind Boys of Alabama, legends of gospel music, will perform their “Go Tell it on the Mountain” Christmas show on December 3 at 7:30pm. Both concerts will take place in the George A. Batte Jr. Fine Arts Center at the University.

The Nutcracker Ballet will be presented in nearby Matthews, North Carolina November 27 and 28, and December 4 and 5. This traditional holiday performance is very popular with families. The November 28 and December 5 performances will be followed by a Sugar Plum Fairy Tea Party. December 5 is also the date for Matthew’s Downtown Holiday Stroll.

The Monroe area offers plenty of seasonal activities for families to enjoy. Come join in the festivities and get in the holiday spirit.