Divorce is a trying time for the toughest of individuals. Even people who have only been married for a year or so can feel the pressure and emotional struggle that accompany divorce. If you think your own marriage may need to come to an end, you can help ease into this understandably difficult transition by knowing a few of the most basic but most important components to Rhode Island’s divorce laws.
At TJC • ESQ, we want our clients to be happy and well-informed, so we have outlined five of the most prevalent divorce laws in Rhode Island. If you would like to have the legal counsel and guidance of our Providence divorce attorneys directly, you can call 401-400-4254 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation.
Five Ground Rules in Rhode Island Divorce Law
- Fault or no-fault: Rhode Island, like all other states within the country, allow no-fault divorces, meaning someone can file for divorce just because they can no longer get along with their spouse; in legal terms, this is called irreconcilable differences. In Rhode Island, however, you can still file for an at-fault divorce, or one that is spurred on by a specific event or series of events, such as infidelity, domestic violence, drug abuse, and so on. You can also cite a legal separation that has persisted for 3 or more years and develop that into a divorce.
- Residency: States have a residency requirement before people living there can file for divorce; this is mainly to prevent tampering with estates by hopping across stateliness. In Rhode Island, at least one spouse in a divorce must have lived within the state for at least 12 months prior to the filing.
- Property division: Rhode Island uses equitable distribution rules when marital assets are split among divorcing spouses. Equitable means fair, not even, so divorcés should not expect to receive a 50-50 split of assets. The court will decide what is “fair” if an agreement is not made between the spouses and their lawyers. Additionally, marital property is anything accrued or improved while the marriage existed. For example, if your spouse owned a business before you got married but you worked there as a manager to help it profit, it could potentially be considered marital property, not separate.
- Child custody: The divorce court will want to do what is best for the child in a divorce but also operates under the original assumption that a child should be able to see both parents somewhat equally. If this is not the arrangement that you want, you will need to think about creating a persuasive argument that states otherwise.
- Child support: How much child support a parent can earn depends on the income of themselves, their ex-spouse, and how much time each of them spend with their children. The more a parent makes and the less time they spend raising the children after a divorce, the more likely they will pay a considerable amount in child support to their ex on a regular basis. The court also has the ability to increase the child support payment a spouse receives if they are earning less than their maximum earning capacity due to their parental responsibilities; this is sometimes seen as a roundabout way of creating spousal support that does not necessarily follow any alimony agreements.