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Queensland and Rhode Island give free advice to feuding couples

Queensland and Rhode Island give free advice to feuding couples

On the face of it Queensland, best known for its inhabitants having a fondness for rum, bananas, Joh Bjelke-Petersen and extinguishing cane toads, would not have much in common with Rhode…

On the face of it Queensland, best known for its inhabitants having a fondness for rum, bananas, Joh Bjelke-Petersen and extinguishing cane toads, would not have much in common with Rhode Island, the smallest of the 50 states in the USA and the birthplace of the Farrelly Brothers and home of the Dunkin Donuts sports centre.

However, appearances deceive, as it turns out that family law practitioners in both jurisdictions like to offer free advice for the general populace.

Today Folklaw received a missive from the Brisbane Family Law Centre (BLFC) with the title: Divorce and the GFC - The Collaborative Option.

It opens up by telling us that although Queensland has Australia's highest divorce rate, "there are ways to ease the financial and emotional impact of the whole process".

The BLFC then goes on to advocate couples take a "collaborative" approach to divorce proceedings, which the BLFC says has been used in the USA for around 20 years.

In its release, the BLFC says that under a collaborative approach, both parties and their lawyers agree that, should the negotiations break down and litigation occur, the lawyers must resign from the case.

"This motivates everybody to work out a settlement that satisfies all parties," the BLFC says.

It then goes on to outline that "even stars are getting in on the act", with the collaborative law approach featured in the recent movie Juno and being used by the likes of Robin Williams and Uma Thurman.

The report says this approach greatly soothed William's attitude to divorce proceedings, with the BLFC quoting the actor as having previously described divorce as "deriving from the Latin word meaning 'to rip out a man's genitals through his wallet'".

In Rhode Island, it seems that child custody proceedings also need what a PR spin doctor would call a "fresh narrative".

David Slepkow, a child custody lawyer in Rhode Island for 13 years, released a 25 point list of don'ts for people involved in child custody disputes, based on the "many inane and stupid decisions" he has seen during child custody proceedings in the state.

His list opens with the startling insight of "don't make dumb arguments" and includes what you would consider to be commonsense statements such as: "do not go out binge drinking the night before your evaluation by the custody evaluator" and "do not send drug or alcohol induced messages". He also provides fashion tips: "do not wear a $500 watch to your Rhode Island Child Support Contempt hearing", particularly if you are arguing that you can't afford child support payments. Slepkow also provides some fatherly advice to men and women looking to embark on a new relationship, warning they "should not have overnight visitors of the opposite sex when the children are at home", as child custody cases are already "complicated enough".

Folklaw was unable to ascertain if Slepkow has ever given advice to Robin Williams.

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