Areas of Law





Family Law

Families are complicated.  Whether your situation is amicable or highly contested, we can help you resolve your family law issue. Our approach is to reach the best result for you and your family and not create any unnecessary stress.  Below are common issues of family law regularly handled by the Law Office of Christine D. Patterson.


Divorces can either be uncontested (also sometimes referred to as nominal) or contested.  An uncontested or nominal divorce means that the parties have worked out all issues including the division of marital assets, child custody and placement, child support, assignment of debts, medical and dental coverage, and alimony.

Contested divorce trials

One or more issue cannot be resolved by the parties and may require a trial.


Cases in which one party seeks financial support from the other party.

Property Settlement Agreements

A written contract between two spouses which lays out the terms of the divorce.

Child Custody

One parent is trying to obtain an order from the Court that the child/children reside with them.  Parents can have either Joint or Sole Custody.  Parents that have Joint Custody have an equal role in decision making regarding the child/children.  Specifically, parents have an equal say in all medical, educational, and religious decisions relating to the child/children.  If one parent has sole custody that means that they alone can make all decisions regarding their child/children.

Visitation and Child Support

Typically, the non-custodial parent will request visitation and pay child support to the custodial parent. A good parenting plan will address how the parties will divide holidays, school breaks and summer vacation. Having a good parenting plan will often provide the parties with reasonable expectations and prevent future conflict.

Modifications of child custody, visitation and support

One parent is trying to change a current Court order regarding custody, visitation and/or child support.

Contempt proceedings

One parent alleges that the other parent is in violation of a current Court order.


One parent seeks to permanently leave the state of RI/MA with the minor child/children.  This office represents both parents seeking to relocate and parents who are objecting to the relocation.  When deciding whether to permit a parent to relocate, the judge will consider several factors:


Cases involving whether or not a party is actually the biological parent of a child/children.  If the parties are unmarried and the father is not listed on the child’s birth certificate, a father will have to establish paternity before he will be given visitation and custody rights.  A mother may want to establish paternity in order to seek financial support from the biological father through a child support order.

Grandparent visitation

Cases involving grandparents who have been denied the right to visit with their grandchild.

Prenuptial Agreements

A written contract between parties who will be getting married to protect each party in the event a divorce action is later filed.


Adoptions can be either contested or uncontested. In an uncontested adoption, both parents agree to the adoption taking place. In a contested adoption, one or both parents do not agree to the adoption taking place and a trial is needed to terminate parental rights.

Guardian Ad Litem (GAL):

Children have a right to be heard when the Family Court makes custody and visitation decisions.  A GAL is an individual who represents the best interest of the minor child in a child custody, visitation, relocation or other type of Family Court case.  A GAL is typically an attorney who has been certified by the Family Court. 

Attorney Patterson has been certified by the RI Family Court.  A GAL is typically asked to investigate the facts and conduct interviews with parents and other relevant parties.  The GAL will also meet and talk to the child about his or her wishes.  They are also able to review school and medical records.  They will attend court proceedings and report their findings to the Court.

Personal Injury

We maximize your recovery for injuries following a car, motorcycle, or pedestrian accident. Before accepting or declining a settlement offer, we educate you about your rights and discuss your options and possible outcomes. Our goal is always what is in the best interest of our clients.

Damage awards in personal injury cases include compensation for medical bills, anticipated future medical bills, lost income, diminished earning capacity, disfigurement, and pain and suffering.

At the Law Office of Christine D. Patterson, we handle personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that we do not bill you for attorneys’ fees until we recover compensation.

Automobile Accidents

Slip and Fall

Pedestrian Accidents

Motorcycle accidents

Other Areas of Practice


A will is a written legal document that gives you the ability to choose your heirs, name an executor, select a guardian for your children and make decisions on how you would like your estate to be handled after your death. Without a properly executed will, the State will make decisions regarding the management of your estate.


After the death of a loved one, their estate must go through the proper procedures required by the various Probate Courts throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The loved ones expenses and debts must be paid off and their assets distributed to their heirs.


We also represent parties who are attempting to become the guardians of either adults or children who need assistance with decisions regarding medical treatment, financial matters, and education.