Family Law

An Experienced RI
Family Law Attorney

Attorney Christopher E. Friel is committed to providing high-quality, aggressive, and effective representation for his clients. His law office is founded on the principle that every client receives the individual attention and experienced legal representation that he or she deserves. Your legal needs are as important to him as they are to you. He are proud of the reputation he has achieved in the Family Court for the State of Rhode Island for handling his clients’ cases with compassion, tenacity, and in a cost-efficient manner.

Representation for All Domestic Relations Matters

Attorney Friel is qualified and experienced to handle any type of domestic relations matter, including:

Experienced Rhode Island Adoption Attorney

In Rhode Island, it takes an experienced family court practitioner to sucessfully navigate clients through the adoption process in a timely and efficient manner.  From the initial intake meeting, Attorney Friel will thouroughly explain the adoption procedure, and let you know what to expect.

Adoptions by Consent

Consent refers to the agreement by a parent, or a person or agency acting in place of a parent, to relinquish a child for adoption and release all rights and duties with respect to that child.  Under Rhode Island law, the parents of the child, or their survivor, need to evidence their consent to adoption in writing, or the adoption petition will be dimissed.  Additionally, if the child is fourteen (14) years or older, the child’s consent is likewise required.

Adoptions Requiring the Termination of Parental Rights

In instances where the petitioners are one of the natural parents and his or her spouse, and teh other biological non-custodial parent refuses to consent to the adoption, under certain circumstances that non-custodial parent’s rights may be involuntarily terminated by the Rhode Island Family Court.

Contact Attorney Friel To Discuss The Adoption Process

If you would like to discuss your particular needs with Attorney Christopher E. Friel, please contact us today by calling 401-737-4200 extension 23.

View More Information

Consult with an Attorney Experienced in Handling Child Relocation Matters

If you are looking to relocate with your child or chidlren to another state, or if you are in opposition to the relocation of your children outside of Rhode Island, you need to contact an attorney who has experience handling relocation cases.

Relocation Outside of Rhode Island

Absent an agreement with the children’s other parent, a parent may permanently only remove minor children from the State of Rhode Island by Order of the Family Court.  In determining whether to grant a parties’ motion to relocate, the Family Court judge will take the following factors into consideration:

(1)  The nature, quality, extent of involvement, and duration of the child’s relationship with the parent proposing to relocate and with the non-relocating parent.

(2)  The reasonable likelihood that the relocation will enhance the general quality of life for both the child and the parent seeking the relocation, including, but not limited to, economic and emotional benefits, and educational opportunities.

(3)  The probable impact that the relocation will have on the child’s physical, educational, and emotional development.  Any special needs of the child should also be taken into account when considering this factor.

(4)  The feasibility of preserving the relationship between the non-relocating parent and the child through suitable visitation arrangements, considering the logistics and financial circumstances of the parties.

(5)  The existence of extended family or other support systems available to the child in both locations.

(6)  Each parent’s reasons for seeking or opposing the relocation.

(7)  In cases of international relocation, the question of whether the country to which the child is to be relocated is a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction wil be an important consideration.

(8)  To the extent that they will be relevant to a relocation inquiry, the Pettinato factors also will be significant.

Contact An Experienced Child Relocation Attorney

Whether you are requesting or opposing a child relocation, you need an attorney experienced in such matters.  Contact Attorney Christopher E. Friel today for a free consultation at 737-4200 x23.

View More Information

Rhode Island Child Support Lawyer

Financially supporting the health, well-being and care of a child is the responsibility of every parent and that responsibility does not cease to exist if the parents divorce or if the child was born out of wedlock. Rhode Island has adopted specific guidelines that determine the minimum amount of child support that should be paid.

There are many factors that can impact child support and the cases can become quite complex. Whether you are seeking child support or being ordered to pay it, be sure to consult an experienced family law attorney to ensure that your rights are protected. Attorney Christopher E. Friel has practiced family law in Rhode Island since 1999 and has helped numerous clients reach child support outcomes that serve the best interests of all involved.

Always Seeking a Favorable Outcome

Among the factors that come into play in determining child support are the gross income levels of both parents, the number of children involved, the amount of the health care premiums, the employment-related child care expenses, whether or not there are pre-existing child support obligations,  and the claiming of the children as exemptions on federal and state inceom tax returns.

Attorney Friel is also experienced in child support cases involving paternity, modification and enforcement issues. He is committed to helping his clients reach a favorable outcome in these cases. No matter which side of the issue you are on, he has the experience, the knowledge, and the commitment to fight for your rights and work toward a fair resolution.

Call for a Free Initial Consultation

Contact Attorney Christopher E. Friel today to discuss your case with an experienced family court lawyer, at 401-737-4200 extension 23.

View More Information

Rhode Island Common Law Marriage

Rhode Island is one of a few states which continues to recognize common-law marriage.  There is no specific time period that the parties must reside together, instead the existence of such a marriage must be established by clear and convincing evidence that the parties seriously intended to enter into the husband-wife relationship.  Additionally, the parties must have been of such a character as to lead to a belief in the community that they were married.  A formal ceremony is not a prerequisite to the existence of a common-law marriage.

Factors in Determining the Existence of a Common-Law Marriage

When determining whether the parties seriously intended to enter into a husband-wife relationship, the Rhode Island Family Court Judge will look to the following factors:

  • Marital status as set forth in federal and state income tax returns
  • Ownership of real estate as husband and wife as tenants by the entirety
  • Acquisition of large items, such as automobiles, jointly
  • Designation of beneficiaries on life insurance policies
  • Designation of beneficiaries on retirement assets
  • Existence of joint bank accounts
  • Existence of joint debt and obligations
  • Nature of estate planning documentation
  • Joint coverage under health and automobile insurace policies
  • Referral to the other party as “husband” or “wife”
  • Holding yourselves out in the community as husband and wife

The party asserting the existence of common law marriage has the burden of proof by clear and convincing evidence that there existed a belief in the community that the parties were married.

Practical Implications of Marriage by Common Law

If you are recognized as a married couple by common law you could enjoy many of the same benefits as legally-married couples such as:

  • Becoming eligible to receive Social Security survivors and spousal benefits.
  • Being able to qualify for employer benefits through your spouse (health insurance, life insurance, etc.).
  • Being exempt from the gift tax.
  • Being able to both claim deductions for mortgage interest (if you co-own a house).
  • Being able to make medical decisions for your spouse if he/she is unable to do so.
  • Eligibility to claim spousal pension or annuity benefits.

Should your relationship be irrevocably broken, the Rhode Island Family Court would possess jurisdiction to terminate the marriage, make an award of assets and liabilities, order the continuation of health insurance, divide retirement benefits, and award spousal support.

Rhode Island Common Law Marriage Attorney

Should you wish to assert the existence of common law marriage, or if you have been served a Complaint for Divorce alleging the same, you need to speak to a Rhode Island Family Court Attorney experienced in handling such matters.  Contact Attorney Christopher E. Friel to discuss your common law marriage issues at 401-737-4200 x23.

View More Information

Experienced Rhode Island Divorce Attorney

Family legal issues can have a direct impact on your personal life, your family, your security and your rights. When faced with a complex family dispute, it is important to have reliable counsel who can deliver effective and timely results. Attorney Christopher E. Friel offers experienced advocacy in both contested and uncontested divorce and family court matters.  Attorney Friel seeks to help you accomplish your objectives through negotiation or litigation, when necessary.

A Lawyer Focused on Your Rights and Family

Attorney Christopher E. Friel’s relationship with his clients is very important. He understands the difficult situations leading up to family law disputes and always works to find lasting solutions for families. When you work with Attorney Friel, you will work directly with an experienced attorney who will review your case, quickly identify legal issues, and develop a comprehensive solution to protect your rights and the best interests of your children.

Personalized Service, Accountability and Results

We focus on quality, affordable solutions for our clients. You can trust that we will take the time to address your concerns and develop a resolution that works for you and your family — immediately and in the long term. Our priority is to deliver effective results in a timely fashion. We will always remain available to you, answering you by phone, e-mail, or text, whatever form of communication is convenient to you. Should you have a question or concern, you should feel comfortable in contacting Attorney Friel directly.

While no lawyer can guarantee results in your case, we want you to know that we are proactive in helping to quickly and effectively solve problems and accomplish our clients’ goals. We will work to successfully handle your case while avoiding drawn out, expensive and contentious disputes.

Contact Attorney Friel To Discuss Your Family Law Issue

If you would like to discuss your particular needs with Attorney Christopher E. Friel, please contact us today by calling 401-737-4200 extension 23.

View More Information

The Rhode Island Divorce Process

While Rhode Island has a ninety-day waiting period for divorces, your case will not necessarily be resolved within ninety days. The Rhode Island divorce process for simple cases can often be finished in less than six months, while complicated cases could take over a year to complete.  You cannot remarry until the court enters your final judgment of divorce.

Initiating a Dissolution

To start the Dissolution process, either you or your spouse needs to file a Complaint for Divorce with the court. The individual who files the Complaint is known as the “Plaintiff,” and the person who is served the Complaint (either in person or by mail) is the “Defendant.”  When a Rhode Island divorce is initiated, your case can be placed on one of two tracks, either the “Nominal,” or uncontested track, or the “Contested” track.

By placing your case on the “Nominal” track, you are essentially informing the court that there are no unresolved issues between you and your spouse, or that any issues that remain will most likely be resolved prior to the initial court date, typically 45 to 60 days from the filing of the divorce petition.  If you and your attorney feel that the issues will not be resolved in that time period, the matter may be placed on the Contested track.

Responding to a Petition

Once the Defendant receives the Complaint, he or she has 20 days to file an Answer to the facts outlined in the Petition. (In some cases, the Plaintiff’s attorney will allow for more than 20 days.) Once an Answer is filed by the Defendant, the parties may commence the discovery process.

If support and custody disputes are a concern, then an Motion for Temporary Allowances is also filed. As a result, a hearing will be heard sooner than normal so that custody, support, or restraining orders can be made.

Discovery Process

To complete discovery, both sides must provide certain documentation and answer questions asked by the other side. The purpose of this discovery is for you to learn about all the assets, debits and issues that must be divided and resolved to complete your divorce. The law also requires each party complete mandatory disclosures of income, assets, and liabilities, which must also be filed with the court (Form DR6).

Dividing Property

At some point, both the parties may reach agreement and reduce that agreement to writing in the form of a Property Settlement Agreement, which equitably divides marital property and outlines child custody and support issues. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement regarding these issues, the court will set a trial so the judge can decide these issues.

Dividing property and dividing debt does not need to be completed in the traditional sense of “splitting.” For instance, you would not necessarily need to share the proceeds from the sale of your home 50/50. Instead, one party could take the proceeds from the sale while the other Party could receive the assets held in an investment account of equal value. Similarly with debt, if one party takes a debt that belongs to both, then that debt is deducted from the assets received by the other Party.

Experience Counts

Schedule a consultation with Attorney Christopher E. Friel today to discuss your options in divorce. He will work with you to find the fastest and most amicable resolution to your family law concerns.  Contact him today at 401-737-4200 extension 23.

View More Information

Child Custody, Placement, and Visitation

When a couple decides to divorce, one of the most difficult decisions they face is how to resolve issues pertaining to their children – child custody, placement, and visitation.

Rhode Island law promotes “the best interests of the child.” While that standard will take precedence over the wishes of either parent, a skilled family law attorney can assist in creating ways for both parents to maintain prominent roles in a child’s upbringing and development — and for the child to receive the stability and structure that he or she needs.

Child Custody

The legal term “child custody” refers to the rights and responsibilities of one or both parents to make major decisions concerning the child.  These decisions do not typically include day-to-day decisions, such as a child’s bed time, but involved such decisions as consent to marry prior to turning 18 years of age, consent to enter the military prior to turning 18 years of age, authorization for non-emergency health care, choice of school, and religious affiliations, to name a few.  A court will typically enter an order granting joint-legal custody to each parent unless there are serious circumstances which would merit the granting of sole legal custody to one parent.

Child Placement

The physical placement of a child deals with which parent the child will live with and what type of placement schedule can be agreed upon.  If the parties cannot agree on a physical placement schedule, or who may be granted primary physical placement, then the court will make that determination.  In child custody and placement disputes, the court may order that a Guardian ad Litem be appointed to investigate these issues and make a recommendation to the court.  A Guardian ad Litem (GAL) is an attorney who has specific knowledge and experience concerning what is in a child’s best interest.   Some of the relevant factors that a Guardian ad Litem and the court will consider when making a determination on child placement are:

  • The wishes of the child’s parent or parents regarding the child’s custody.
  • The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.
  • The interaction and interrelationship of the child with the child’s parent or parents, the child’s siblings, and any other person who may Significantly affect the child’s best interest.
  • The child’s adjustment to the child’s home, school, and community.
  • The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.
  • The stability of the child’s home environment.
  • The moral fitness of the child’s parents.
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate a close and continuous parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent.

In most divorce cases, one parent is awarded the physical possession of the minor children.  However, there are circumstances in which the court will award shared physical placement or split physical placement of the children. 


The parent who is not awarded physical placement of the children is entitled to reasonable rights of visitation. These rights include, not only routine weekly visitation including overnights, but also time spent with children on holidays and during vacations. 

Contact an Experienced Family Court Attorney

Attorney Christopher E. Friel has years of experience in the Rhode Island Family Court, and has handled hundreds of child custody, placement, and visitation disputes.  Issues pertaining to children are always reviewable and modifiable by the Family Court.  Contact Attorney Friel today to discuss any issues you might have concerning child custody, placement or visitation, at 401-737-4200 x23.

View More Information

Experienced Rhode Island Family Law Attorney

If you are contemplating filing for divorce, or if you have been served divorce documentation, determining whether you or your spouse may be entitled to alimony or other spousal support is a serious consideration.  You should consult with an attorney experienced in this area of domestic relations law.

Alimony and Spousal Support

Alimony, or spousal support, is money paid by one spouse for the support and maintenance of the other spouse. When a party starts a divorce proceeding, he or she may need the immediate intervention of the court to establish temporary alimony as a part of other types of temporary relief. The amount of temporary alimony is based upon the financial circumstances existing at that time, as presented to the court in financial statements and testimony. In Rhode Island there are no written guidelines used by judges to establish either temporary spousal support or alimony.  Alimony awarded in the divorce decree can be temporary, lasting for a specified time, or can be permanent, intended to continue at the same payment indefinitely into the future or until a time specified by the court.

Rhode Island General Laws Governing Alimony Awards

In accordance with Rhode Island General Laws section 15-5-16, in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be paid, the Family Court shall consider:

     (i) The length of the marriage;

     (ii) The conduct of the parties during the marriage;

     (iii) The health, age, station, occupation, amount and source of income, vocational skills, and employability of the parties; and

     (iv)(1) The state and the liabilities and needs of each of the parties.

          (2) In addition, the court shall consider:

              (i) The extent to which either party is unable to support herself or himself adequately because that party is the primary physical custodian of a child whose age, condition, or circumstances make it appropriate that the parent not seek employment outside the home, or seek only part-time or flexible-hour employment outside the home;

              (ii) The extent to which either party is unable to support herself or himself adequately with consideration given to:

                  (A) The extent to which a party was absent from employment while fulfilling homemaking responsibilities, and the extent to which any education, skills, or experience of that party have become outmoded and his or her earning capacity diminished;

                  (B) The time and expense required for the supported spouse to acquire the appropriate education or training to develop marketable skills and find appropriate employment;

                  (C) The probability, given a party’s age and skills, of completing education or training and becoming self-supporting;

                  (D) The standard of living during the marriage;

                  (E) The opportunity of either party for future acquisition of capital assets and income;

                  (F) The ability to pay of the supporting spouse, taking into account the supporting spouse’s earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, debts, and standard of living;

                  (G) Any other factor which the court expressly finds to be just and proper.

if a Rhode Island family court order awarding alimony is entered, federal law states that the spouse receiving the alimony pursuant to court order must treat the payments as income on federal tax returns, while the spouse paying the order may treat it as a deduction from income for federal tax purposes.  In addition to the amount for spousal support, if the payor spouse pays any additional amounts for payment on the mortgage, health insurance, or unreimbursed medical expenses, these additional payments may also be considered as payments for alimony under federal tax laws.

If an individual is paying or receiving spousal support or alimony, the best policy is to consult with a tax advisor to inquire whether the general rules outlined above are applicable to your specific situation.

Continuation of Health Insurance Coverage

The Rhode Island Insurance Continuation Act provides for the continuation of health insurance coverage for ex-spouses. The maintenance of health insurance is a form of support, the award of which is within the trial court’s discretion.  Specifically, the eligibility to remain a named beneficiary of the insurance policy of the spouse who is a participant in the health plan shall continue as long as the original member is a participant in the plan or health maintenance organization and until either one of the following shall take place: (1) the remarriage of either party to the divorce; or (2) until a time as provided by the judgment for divorce.

Contact a Rhode Island Spousal Support Attorney

Attorney Christopher E. Friel has represented hundreds of family law clients including many clients with spousal support and alimony issues.  If you are the plaintiff or defendant in a spousal support or alimony case, call Attorney Friel at 737-4200 extension 23, to learn how he can help you obtain a fair result in your case.

View More Information

Attorney Christopher E. Friel – Divorce Mediation Attorney

Divorce mediation is an informal alternate dispute resolution process. Traditional court litigation requires a level of formality that can burden a divorcing couple with great expense and delay, and a trial can often become highly adversarial and combative. Mediation can significantly lower the costs of obtaining a divorce or resolving a child custody or visitation dispute. Divorce mediation can allow you and your spouse to maintain a good, working relationship long after an amicable divorce agreement is reached.

In mediation you and your spouse will sit down in the same room with each other and with a neutral mediator. With the mediator’s help, you will work through all the issues you need to resolve so the two of you can get through your divorce.

Divorce mediation allows both parties to identify, negotiate and resolve the issues raised by the decision to divorce. This neutral person establishes firm ground rules and a confidential environment so that emotionally charged issues can be talked about safely. The mediator helps both spouses gather necessary information and review it systematically. At times, the mediator helps formulate a more creative solution than the court could offer. When parenting agreements and financial distribution plans are made by the spouses themselves, there is a better chance of meeting the needs of the entire family.

Resolve Your Family Court Dispute Effectively and Efficiently

Mediation is flexible and confidential. It gives you and your spouse a way to settle the conflict between you, which is natural and inevitable, in a way that helps you to work together after your divorce.

The mediator remains neutral between the husband and the wife. That means the mediator can’t give advice to either party, and also can’t act as a lawyer for either party.

What the mediator can do, though, is to point out in open session to both spouses things that each of them should be aware of about what they’re trying to accomplish. That open and free exchange of information frees up both spouses to negotiate with each other in confidence. Because both spouses are working with the same base of information, it usually takes far less time to negotiate a resolution that makes sense to both spouses.

Mediation is voluntary. It continues only for so long as all three of you – you, your spouse, and the mediator — want it to.  You or your spouse can withdraw from mediation at any time, for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all.

Schedule a Free Mediation Consultation

Contact Attorney Christopher E. Friel to schedule a free mediation consultation at 401-737-4200 x23.

View More Information 

Grandparent Visitation Attorney

Attorney Christopher E. Friel is well-versed in Rhode Island’s Grandparent Visitation statutes, and has represented numerous parties seeking to enforce their rights under the law. 

Grandparent Visitation in Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, grandparents have the legal right to visitation with their grandchildren under certain cicumstances. For example, under Rhode Island law, grandparent’s whose child is deceased always have the right to petition the court for visitation with the grandchildren of that child.  Additionally, grandparents whose child is denied or has failed to exercise may petition the Family Court for visitation with their grandchildren.  Finally, grandparents can petition the Family Court for reasonable visitation with their grandchildren if, for thirty (30) days immediately preceeding the date the petition was filed, their repeated attempts to visit their grandchild were denied.

The Rhode Island General Laws were amended in 2012 to allow for easier access to the Family Court for grandparents seeking to establish or preserve the relationship with their grandchildren. 

Contact Attorney Friel To Discuss Your Grandparent Visitation Rights

Attorney Friel has successfully represented grandparents in the Rhode Island Family Court, and helped them to obtain visitation and access to their grandchildren.

If you would like to discuss your particular needs with Attorney Christopher E. Friel, please contact us today by calling 401-737-4200 extension 23.

View More Information

Rhode Island Juvenile Criminal Attorney

The Rhode Island juvenile justice system operates in a different manner than the adult court system, and not every attorney is familiar with the best way to advocate for your child.  In Rhode Island, juvenile proceedings are initiated in the Family Court and are conducted in closed courtrooms, which ensures that no one will find out what your child is charged with or how those charges are resolved.  Juveniles charged with crimes are not entitled to have a jury decide their case, in such situations, a Family Court judge will determine the guilt or innocence of your child.

When your child is facing a juvenile charge, you need a lawyer who knows the laws and defenses to the criminal charges and knows the resources and possibilities of juvenile proceedings.  Juvenile cases could require your child to be detained at the Rhode Island Training School, so it is important to get an attorney involved to fight this possibility.

Contact Attorney Friel for a Free Consultation

Attorney Christopher E. Friel has handled a significant number of juvenile criminal cases, and he knows the court system, the judges and the attorneys for the state.  This enables him to seek out creative resolutions in the best interest of your child.  By contacting Attorney Friel today at 401-737-4200, you can get answers to the questions you have and he can help get your child back on the proper path to lifetime success.

View More Information

Paternity Actions in Rhode Island. Presumption of Paternity

Pursuant to Rhode Island law, a man is presumed to be the natural father of a child if:

  1. He and the child’s natural mother are or have been married to each other and the child is born during the marriage, or within three hundred (300) days after the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, or divorce, or after a decree of separation is entered by a court;

  2. Before the child’s birth, he and the child’s natural mother have attempted to marry each other by a marriage solemnized in apparent compliance with law, although the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid, and:

    1. (i)  If the attempted marriage could be declared invalid only by a court, the child is born during the attempted marriage, or within three hundred (300) days after its termination by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, or divorce; or

    2. (ii)  If the attempted marriage is invalid without a court order, the child is born within three hundred (300) days after the termination of cohabitation;

  3. After the child’s birth, he and the child’s natural mother have married, or attempted to marry, each other by a marriage solemnized in apparent compliance with law, although the attempted marriage could be declared invalid, and:

    1. (i)  He has acknowledged his paternity of the child in writing filed with the clerk of the family court;

    2. (ii)  With his consent, he is named as the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate; or

    3. (iii)  He is obligated to support the child under a written voluntary promise or by court order;

  4. He acknowledges his paternity of the child in a writing filed with the clerk of the family court, who shall promptly inform the mother of the filing of the acknowledgement, and she does not dispute the acknowledgement, within a reasonable time after being informed, in a writing filed with the clerk of the family court. If another man is presumed under this section to be the child’s father, acknowledgement may be effected only with the written consent of the presumed father or after the presumption has been rebutted. The written acknowledgement of paternity shall be admissible as evidence of paternity;

  1. He has submitted to blood testing and the results establish a conclusive presumption in accordance with § 15-8-11(e) ; or

  2. A sworn acknowledgment of paternity of a child born out of wedlock is signed by both parents on forms prescribed in accordance with § 23-3-9 , either at the department of human services or division of taxation within the department of administration, and is forwarded to the state registrar of vital records for the purpose of amending the birth certificate. Before signing the sworn acknowledgment of paternity, the parents shall be given written notice of their respective rights and responsibilities. The sworn acknowledgment of paternity becomes a conclusive presumption if there is no court challenge to this acknowledgement within sixty (60) days of the signing of this acknowledgment. The only defenses which may be raised to the signing of this acknowledgment after the sixty (60) day period are fraud, duress or mistake of fact.

(b) Except for a conclusive presumption under subdivisions (a)(5) and (a)(6) of this section, a presumption under this section may be rebutted in an appropriate action only by clear and convincing evidence. If two (2) or more presumptions arise which conflict with each other, the presumption, which on its facts, is founded on the weightier considerations of policy and logic controls. The presumption is rebutted by a court decree establishing paternity of the child by another man. 

Rhode Island Paternity Attorney

Attorney Friel has experience representing parties to paternity actions before the Rhode Island Family Court.  Contact Attorney Christopher E. Friel today at (401) 737-4200 extension 23 to discuss your Rhode Island paternity matter.

View More Information

Rhode Island Marital Agreements Attorney

Under Rhode Island law there are binding agreements that can be made between spouses either before, during or after a marriage. These agreements can help both parties declare their rights and obligations to prevent future disputes and to protect their personal interests. At the law office of Christopher E. Friel, we are experienced in drafting and modifying these contracts as well as providing representation in the event of a contractual dispute.

Do I Need a Prenuptial Agreement?

Whether you have significant assets or you simply want to protect your financial interests at the outset of a marriage or in the event of divorce, a prenuptial agreement can be very helpful. It allows both parties to clearly define their rights and obligations before a marriage is finalized. While a prenuptial agreement cannot make any determinations about custody or child support, it can create legally binding obligations involving division of property and, under certain circumstances, alimony determinations.

Attorney Christopher E. Friel has more than 13 years of experience and can help you:

  • Understand how a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement works and how it can benefit you
  • Help you determine if a contractual agreement is right for you
  • Identify your assets and debts to be included in the agreement
  • Help divorcing couples protect their rights and comply with arrangements
  • Create marital contracts that protect your personal interests
Personalized Advocacy and Results Oriented Solutions

We know that family disputes are complex and can have a serious impact on all parties involved. Our priority is to minimize the time and expense of resolving disputes and work towards lasting solutions for your family. We will take the time to understand your unique and individual goals when developing a contractual arrangement and protect your rights in the event of divorce or a dispute.

Contact Attorney Friel To Discuss Your Prenuptial Agreement Options

If you would like to discuss your particular needs with Attorney Christopher E. Friel, please contact us today by calling 401-737-4200 extension 23

View More Information

Rhode Island Same Sex Divorce Lawyer

If you and your partner were legally married or validly entered into a same sex civil union or domestic partnership in Rhode Island or another state, and you currently reside in Rhode Island, effective August 1, 2013 you can now get divorced in Rhode Island.

Attorney Christopher E. Friel has successfully handled many Rhode Island same sex issues and disputes.  While similar to regular divorce, there are some subtle aspects to same sex divorce that he can help you with.

Same sex divorce clients, just like any other divorce litigants, deserve protection of your property, support and custody rights.

Contact Attorney Friel for a Consultation

If you are interested in getting a same sex divorce in Rhode Island, please contact Attorney Christopher E. Friel at (401) 737-4200 x23 to schedule your free same sex divorce consultation.

View More Information

Family Court Restraining Orders. Who May Apply For Protection From Abuse

The Rhode Island Family Court has jurisdiction to grant restraining orders if the parties are related by blood or marriage, if the parties have a child in common, or if either party is a minor.  In order to obtain a restraining order on behalf of yourself or a minor child, a Petition for Protection from Abuse must be filed with the court.  This petition can also request that the Family Court address issues of custody, placement, visitation, and child support should the parties have a child or children in common.  However, any such order will be temporary in nature.

Hearing On The Merits

Upon the filing of a Petition for Protection from Abuse, the Court may grant an ex-parte restraining order and set the matter down for hearing.  At the hearing on the merits, sufficient evidence, in the form of sworn testimony, must be presented by the party seeking the restraining order to establish one of the following: the defendant attempted to cause the Plaintiff physical harm; the defendant placed the Plaintiff in fear of imminent serious physical harm; or that the defendant caused plaintiff to have sexual relations by force, threat of force, or duress.  Should the court find that the plaintiff has met the burden of proof, a restraining order may be granted for up to three (3) years.

The Defendant in a Protection from Abuse matter has the right and opportunity to cross-examine the plaintiff, and any other witnesses that the plaintiff might present, present his or her own witnesses, and take the stand in his or her own defense.  If you are a defendant in this type of action, an attorney will not be appointed to represent you.  You must retain your own counsel unless you wish to proceed without a lawyer.

Experienced Family Court Restraining Order Attorney

Whether you have been subject to abuse, or have been served with a Petition for Protection from Abuse, you should speak with an attorney experienced in handling such matters.  Contact Attorney Friel today at (401) 737-4200 x23.

View More Information

Advocacy & Results Orientated Solutions

Attorney Christopher E. Friel is dedicated to getting his clients the family law representation they need. He has a strong reputation built on years of legal service, and he may be able to work for you.  Because he believes in our clients and are dedicated to meeting their needs, he puts his best effort into every case he takes.

If you would like to discuss your particular needs with Attorney Christopher E. Friel, please contact us today by calling 401-737-4200 extension 23.