Divorce courts in Rhode Island rely on a system of equitable distribution
when a couple is ending their marriage. Equitable might sound pretty good
phonetically but it can actually spell trouble for you if you are not
prepared to part ways with some of your prized possessions. Equitable
means “fair” not necessarily “equal”, and the
court is going to decide what is and what isn’t fair. You may firmly
believe that your ex-spouse doesn’t deserve the family automobile
but unless you can convince the court otherwise, it could be theirs all the same.
Electronic Discovery Methods in Divorce
To create a strong argument as to why you should keep or receive certain
pieces of marital property in your divorce, you will need to consider
all your options. In today’s digital age of technology, this means using
electronic discovery methods whenever possible. Emails, financial records,
social media posts, photographs, and more can all be powerful pieces of evidence when used
correctly in your argument. Did you find a post about your ex seeing another
person before you finalized your divorce, for example? Gather up the e-evidence
properly and it could influence the court to grant you a bigger, or more
equitable, sum of the assets being divided.
Marital Property Compared to Separate Property
What is going to get divided during
property division processes anyway? In Rhode Island,
all marital property is subject to asset division, and marital property is
anything that was acquired, earned, or improved during the course of your
marriage, as well as anything that was used to benefit the two of you.
Imagine that your spouse was the sole owner of a home before you married
and through your deliberate efforts during the marriage, the home’s
value went up, such as if you successfully added another room or wing.
The court could define that as marital property and you would have a fair
say to some of it. Similar considerations come into play in a
divorce involving business dissolution Rhode Island.
Separate property, or what you owned prior to the marriage and never shared,
will not be divided in a divorce. In the big picture, truly separate property
is hard to find, for most people end up sharing their own property with
their spouse, or at least use it to benefit them. Rhode Island courts
are even permitted to put up items that are objectively
separate for property division in certain circumstances; this is not common but
can come up in extreme cases, such as if
domestic violence spurred the divorce.
Don’t Forget Debts and Alimony
Most people think about tangible pieces of property or cash collections
when they think about property division. But there is one thing that you
probably don’t want to split, but may be forced to: debt. Any debts
that you accrued together as a married couple will be divided accordingly.
You may be able to be assigned
less debt if you can persuade the court that you were more financially responsible
than your ex.
Spousal support will also not be established until all property division agreements come
to an end. If your ex has requested a large sum of alimony but also received
the lion’s share of your marital property, you should be able to
expect to pay less alimony, if any at all.
If you have additional questions about property division in Rhode Island,
be sure to call
contact TJC ESQ. Our Providence divorce attorneys can guide you through this careful process
from start to finish, all the while defending your best interests and
your hard-earned assets.
Initial consultations are free.