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Rhode Island Divorce Laws

Rhode Island Divorce Laws

Rhode Island Divorce Laws

When you are considering a divorce, it is important to be well informed of the Rhode Island Divorce Laws you will addressing. Obviously having an experienced Rhode Island Divorce Attorney is pertinent but more on that later. When it comes to the laws themselves, it is important that you read and consider them before you make your decision.

Establishing The Grounds For The Divorce.

It is important that you establish yourself with the Rhode Island Divorce Laws before you start the process. The first step is to determine the reason for the divorce.


Irreconcilable differences: Is a divorce from marriage can be granted on grounds based on irreconcilable distinctions that have caused the collapse of the marriage in a case where it can not be repaired.

Fault Grounds:
Divorces from marriage will also be decreed for the following causes:

  • Impotency
  • Adultery
  • Extreme cruelty.
  • Willful desertion for five (5) years by one of the parties, The period may be adjusted to be shorter at the discretion of the Rhode Island court.
  • Continued drunkenness or use of narcotics.
  • Neglect and refusal, for a period of one year minimum before the filing of the divorce petition, provided the husband does not provide things that his wife needs for substinence provided that the husband has sufficient ability to do so
  • Any other gross misbehavior and wickedness, in either of the parties, repugnant to and in violation of the marriage covenant.
Based on Rhode Island Domestic Relations Law – Title 15 , Section 15-5-2, and 15-5-3

Rhode Island Divorce Laws also cover Legal Separation

This process is different from a divorce for the sake that you are still legally married.

Divorces from bed, board, and living together in the future. Legal separation will last until the parties can come to a reconciliation. Legal separation can be granted for many of the same reasons as a typical divorce, and for other causes that may require a divorce from bed and board. This type of Rhode Island Divorce pertains when the petitioner is a legal resident of Rhode Island and has been living in Rhode Island for a period up to the courts discretion that warrants the exercise of the powers in this section. The court may also assign separate responsibilities outside of the estate or property; this amount will be dependent on the involved parties.

[Based on Rhode Island Domestic Relations Law – Title 15 , Section 15-5-9]

Rhode Island Divorce Laws on Mediation

Some courts may require mediation before you are allowed to file for divorce according to Rhode Island Divorce Laws. This process can be very beneficial for the divorcing parties. Whether ordered or not.

The family court suggest that the couple participate in Rhode Island divorce mediation as an effort to resolve the differences in their relationship pertaining to issues of custody and child visitation.

[Based on Rhode Island Domestic Relations Law – Title 15, Section 15-5-29]

With property involved in the divorce, there are additional Rhode Island Divorce laws to consider. These points cover some questions that may arise about age, income, and the future of the involved parties.

  • The length of the marriage.
  • The conduct of both parties while they were married.
  • The contribution of each of the parties during the marriage in the acquisition, preservation, or appreciation in value of their respective estates.
  • The contribution and services of either party as a homemaker.
  • The health and age of the parties.
  • The amount and sources of income of each of the parties.
  • The occupation and employability of each of the parties
  • The opportunity of each party for future acquisition of capital assets and income.
  • The contribution by one party to the education, training, licensure, business, or increased earning power of the other.
  • The need of the parent with custody of the children to reside in or own the marital residential property and the property contained within it to use for the best interests of the child that came from the marriage in question.
  • Either party’s wasteful dissipation of assets or any transfer or encumbrance of assets made in contemplation of divorce without fair consideration.
  • Any factor that the court shall expressly find to be just and proper.

Property held by a party before being married or property gotten by gift or inheritance at any term of the marriage shall be considered separate property, and not subject to division. Any increase in value from the date of the marriage of property or an interest in property that was held in the name of one party before the marriage that increased in monetary value because of the efforts of either spouse during the marriage may be subject to division.

Based on Rhode Island Domestic Relations Law – Title 15 , Section 15-5-16.1

Alimony or Spousal Support – Rhode Island Divorce Laws

With alimony or spousal support involved, additional Rhode Island Divorce Laws are in place to consider them. It is important to remember that if you are concerned with any of these Rhode Island Divorce Laws that you consult with an experienced Rhode Island Divorce Attorney. Alimony may be granted to either party. Alimony is provided so that the spouse may sustain themselves for enough time that they can find themselves to be self-sufficient according to Rhode Island Divorce Laws. The court may mandate that the alimony may be indefinite depending on the opinion of the court.

  • The length of the marriage;
  • The conduct of both parties during the marriage;
  • The health, age, station, occupation, amount and source of income
  • The state and the liabilities and needs of each of the parties.
  • 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;
  • The time and expense required for the supported spouse to acquire the appropriate education or training to develop marketable skills and find appropriate employment;
  • The probability, given a party’s age and skills, of completing education or training and becoming self-supporting;
  • The standard of living during the marriage;
    The opportunity of either party for future acquisition of capital assets and income;
  • 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;
  • Any other factor which the court expressly finds to be just and proper.
Based on Rhode Island Domestic Relations Law – Title 15, Section 15-5-16

Name Changes – Rhode Island Divorce Laws

According to, Rhode Island Divorce Laws, any women involved in divorce proceedings may choose to change her name but will still be allowed all rights and liabilities as if she had never changed it.

Child Custody

Unless an agreement about child custody has been made, through mediation or other channels, the determination will be done in the best interest of the child.

When the regulation of the custody of the children is in question, the court will provide for the proper right of visitation by the natural parent that does not have custody of the children with the exception of the showing of causes as to why the right shouldn’t be granted. The court will mandate that the parties must comply with its orders of both the parent with guardianship parent and the children involved.

In the event of noncompliance, the non-custodial parent may file a motion for contempt in family court. Upon a finding by the court that its order for visitation has not been complied with, the court shall exercise its discretion in providing a remedy, and define the non-custodial parent’s visitation in detail. However, if the second finding of noncompliance by the court is made, the court shall consider this to be grounds for a change of custody to the non-custodial parent.

Based on Rhode Island Domestic Relations Law – Title 15 , Section 15-5-19

Child Support – Rhode Island Divorce Laws

Child Support is discussed Rhode Island Divorce Laws as being based on the income shares model. If the model decides that the order is inequitable to the parent or the child, the court will order that either one or both parents pay an adequate amount of money for the child support. Some factors the court may review when deciding on payment amounts according to Rhode Island Divorce Laws are listed here.

  • The financial resources of the child.
  • The financial resources of the custodial parent.
  • The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved.
  • The physical and emotional condition of the child and his or her educational needs.
  • The financial resources and needs of the non-custodial parent.
Based on Rhode Island Domestic Relations Law – Title 15 , Sections 15-5-16.2 and 15-5-24

The court can order that the child is taken care of throughout high school including the time after they turn eighteen and additionally up to 90 days after they graduate according to Rhode Island Divorce Laws. The support will not continue after the child turns 19 unless there is a court order because of severe physical and mental impairment and these benefits will not extend past the 21st birthday.

Rhode Island Divorce Laws Pertaining To Premartital Agreements

If you have a premarital agreement, you may use the list below as guidelines to address it.

  • The rights and obligations of both of the parties in any and all of the property of whenever and wherever acquired or located.
  • It must be discussed the right to buy, sell, transfer, use, exchange, lease, abandon, expend, assign, consume, create a security interest in, encumber, mortgage, dispose of, or otherwise manage and control property.
  • The disposition of property upon separation, marital dissolution, death, or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of any other event.
  • The modification or elimination of spousal support.
  • The making of a will, trust, or another arrangement to carry out the provisions of the agreement.
  • The ownership rights in and disposition of the death benefit from a life insurance policy.
  • The choice of law governing the construction of the agreement.
  • Any other matter, including their personal rights and duties, which do not violate public policy or a statute that would impose a criminal penalty.
  • The right of a child to support may not be adversely affected by a premarital agreement.
Based on Rhode Island Domestic Relations Law – Title 15 , Sections 15-17-3 and 15-5-24

Using Rhode Island Divorce Laws to Your Advantage

Rhode Island divorce laws are neutral, which is to say they are not written to benefit one party or the other. It is up to each spouse to take advantage of Rhode Island divorce laws to the best of their ability or to risk having those laws used against them.That is not easy to do for the average person. Trying to make sense of Rhode Island divorce laws can be like trying to read another language. And even if you can navigate the jargon, that doesn’t make is any easier to put plans into action.
Rather than moving forward with confusion and uncertainty, do what it takes to safeguard your future and use Rhode Island divorce laws to your advantage. Here are some tips, tricks, and strategies to help give you the edge you’re looking for.

  • Speak to Friends and Family – Considering how high the divorce rate is, you likely know someone local who has been through the process before. Reach out to them for any insights they may have about Rhode Island divorce laws. Understanding what they mean on paper is a lot different than knowing how they will affect you in practice.
  • Focus on Specific Issues – You have certain priorities for your divorce – secure possession of specific assets, gain primary custody of children etc. Figure out exactly what your priorities are, then look up the applicable laws. You can spend a lot of time and frustration trying to make sense of Rhode Island divorce laws as a whole. But if you search more deeply, you can focus in on the information you most want and need.
  • Consult with a Lawyer – Ultimately, an experienced lawyer is the best resource you can have for navigating Rhode Island divorce laws. This person will be able to take a baffling page of text and tell you in plain terms what it means and how it will affect your divorce. A quality lawyer will also know how to use the specifics of Rhode Island divorce laws to your advantage. If you are looking for confidence and clarity, reach out to legal counsel.

Rhode Island Divorce Laws can obviously be a lot to take in, and you may have a lot of questions. Divorce can be especially difficult to deal with when children, properties, and money involved. It is crucial that you act in your best interests and contact an experienced Rhode Island Divorce Attorney for advice and representation. Elisa Morris is a fierce advocate for her clients and strives to provide them the best representation in their Rhode Island Divorce Laws proceedings. If you are considering divorce contact Rhode Island Divorce Law Lawyer Elisha Morris at (401) 421-4038 for a free consultation.