Rhode Island Divorce
A party can file a divorce in Rhode Island if he or she has resided in the state for at least one year before filing the paperwork. If one of the parties lives out of state, special circumstances apply and should be discussed with an experienced Rhode Island family law attorney. Filing for divorce in Rhode Island does not require the couple to have been married in the state.
A divorcing couple may file what is known as a nominal divorce if they agree to the division of the marital estate (comprised of any property, tangible or intangible, acquired during the marriage), custody of minor children, visitation, and child support. The process for this type of Rhode Island divorce involves filing the necessary documents with the clerk of the Family Court, serving the paperwork on the other party (defendant), appearing for a hearing, and finalizing the divorce within a specified time frame. If all goes well and as agreed, the parties can be legally divorced within three months from the date of the hearing.
If the parties dispute any issue, however, a contested divorce must be filed instead. A contested divorce takes much longer to conclude, and involves a great deal more than a nominal divorce proceeding. The parties may need to visit the courthouse for more than one hearing, in some cases even a trial. The necessary documents can be complicated and difficult to understand without the assistance of an experienced Rhode Island divorce attorney. The entire process can take years to conclude.
A Massachusetts divorce involves unique procedures and forms. An experienced Massachusetts divorce attorney can help guide you through the process. In the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court, all parties must go through a preliminary agreement process, which involves the settling of any difficulties or issues that the couple may have prior to their divorce being granted a hearing date. A divorcing couple must attempt to reach agreements on the equitable division of property, child custody, child support, spousal support if applicable, financial issues, and any other areas of contention.
If a divorcing couple is unable to reach a mutually agreeable decision during the preliminary settlement period, a formal hearing is scheduled and the lengthy trial process will begin.
Ninety-five percent of couples divorcing in Massachusetts settle their cases and move into the process of filing papers to finalize the divorce. For the five percent of couples who cannot reach an agreement, the road to resolution can be long and difficult.
The added stress and financial burden for a family, especially those with small children, cannot be underestimated. Any divorce proceeding will be a very difficult time for family members. Having an experienced, understanding Massachusetts divorce lawyer to help you through the process will allow you to focus on recovering from the experience, and moving forward with your life.
The following issues could arise during a Rhode Island or Massachusetts divorce:
- Custody. Who will make major decisions regarding the health, welfare, religion and schooling of the children?
- Placement. Who will the children live with more than 50 percent of the time?
- Visitation. If one parent is awarded physical custody, what is the visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent?
- Child Support. How much will the non-custodial parent have to pay to the custodial parent?
- Alimony/Maintenance. As with other aspects of a divorce settlement, calculating amounts and determining if alimony is appropriate can be confusing. It is in your best interest to hire a Rhode Island divorce attorney experienced in dealing with alimony as part of a divorce agreement.
- Property Division. When a couple has been married for any length of time, it is likely that they have shared assets. Rhode Island law requires a fair valuation and division of marital assets. An experienced Rhode Island divorce lawyer can help protect your financial interests.
Rui P. Alves is a divorce lawyer admitted to practice in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. For a free initial consultation, please contact Rui at 888-273-9903 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A native of Portugal, Rui is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish.