Divorce proceedings cause conflict and anxiety for most divorcing couples, even amicable separations. It’s best to hire an experienced divorce attorney to manage the legal side of things while you take care of yourself and your family.
Gemma Law Associates, Inc., is a highly regarded Rhode Island law firm with more than four decades of experience. Our divorce lawyers provide legal advocacy, compassionate counsel, and aggressive representation for individuals seeking a divorce in Rhode Island.
Rhode Island Divorce Laws
A licensed attorney can guide you through the complicated divorce procedures and filing requirements. While it’s possible to represent yourself, minor mistakes could pose challenges for you and your family.
Below, we discuss important laws you should know and how they could impact your divorce.
To file for divorce in Rhode Island, one spouse must have resided in the state for at least one year.
Grounds for divorce in Rhode Island include:
- Irreconcilable differences
- Living separate and apart without cohabitation for three years
- Extreme cruelty
- Willful desertion for five years or at the discretion of the court
- Habitual drunkenness
- Habitual drug use
- Neglect or refusal to support for at least one year; or
- Misbehavior or wickedness in violation of the marriage covenant
Equitable distribution is a term used in Rhode Island Family Court to settle marital property disputes. Dividing marital property is a contentious endeavor for most couples. It involves careful assessment of pre-marital property, the length of the marriage, income and assets, debt, education and skill level of each spouse, along with several other factors.
Property isn’t necessarily divided equally. An experienced attorney can have a significant impact on how marital property is allocated.
Child support is another complex and stressful area of divorce. The purpose is to protect the child from financial hardship following a divorce or separation. Child support isn’t a punishment but an obligation to the child’s future.
Child support is calculated using the Rhode Island Child Support Guidelines and is not taxed nor tax deductible. Payments can be modified over time by the courts or modified per a change in parental circumstance. For example, a significant change in employment or income.
Rhode Island’s family courts take child support very seriously. Unpaid child support will incur penalties enforced by the Office of Child Support Services. Penalties may include wage garnishment or the confiscation and/or sale of property, assets, or investments.
Child custody and visitation rights are addressed during divorce proceedings and play into how child support is calculated. For example, a parent who shares custody and visitation could pay less in child support if the arrangement is in the child’s best interest.
Alimony is a mandatory payment made to one spouse “for a reasonable length of time” so he or she may become financially independent and self-sufficient following separation or divorce.
The courts determine the alimony and several factors influence its amount:
- Length of marriage
- Conduct of the spouses
- The health, age, and skills of each spouse
- The couple’s previous standard of living
- Custody of child(ren)
- How long a homemaker has been out of the workforce; etc.
Courts also have the authority to stipulate how long alimony should be paid.
Finally, alimony is considered income which must be reported and taxed. Alimony is tax deductible for the spouse making payments.
Rhode Island Divorce Lawyers
Divorce presents unique challenges for different people and different families. You will have questions, doubts, and worries that go beyond managing a household or tending to family relationships.
At Gemma Law, we can help carry the load by representing your interests throughout divorce proceedings, mediation, and a trial should an agreement not be reached.
Our team of compassionate attorneys will guide you through the process step-by-step, answer questions, and make recommendations that reflect your interests as well as your family’s.