Grounds for divorce
General divorce procedure
Mediation or counseling
Rights to maiden name
No fault divorce: The court in Rhode Island may grant a divorce where it is alleged that the marriage is irretrievably broken and parties lived separate and apart for a period of at least three years. (Rhode Island Domestic Relations Law, Chapter 15-5-3)
Fault-base divorce: Rhode Island courts may grant a divorce to the spouse on the following grounds:
- Extreme cruelty;
- Willful desertion for five (5) years of either of the parties, or for willful desertion for a shorter period of time in the discretion of the court;
- Continued drunkenness;
- The habitual, excessive, and intemperate use of opium, morphine, or chloral;
- Neglect and refusal, for the period of at least one year next before the filing of the petition, on the part of the husband to provide necessaries for the subsistence of his wife, the husband being of sufficient ability; and
- Any other gross misbehavior and wickedness, in either of the parties, repugnant to and in violation of the marriage covenant.
(Rhode Island Domestic Relations Law, Chapter 15-5-2)
What is the difference between fault divorce and no-fault divorce?
Before you file for divorce in the State of Rhode Island residency requirements must be met in order for the court to hear your case.
You may file for divorce in RI if at least one of the parties have been a resident of Rhode Island for at least one year before the filing of the complain for divorce. (Rhode Island Domestic Relations Law, Chapter 15-5-12)
A proceeding for divorce in Rhode Island may be brought in the county:
- where the plaintiff resides;
- where the defendant resides.
There is a waiting period of 60 days after filing for RI Divorce before a divorce case will be decided. (Rhode Island Domestic Relations Law, Chapter 15-5-14)
Title of Divorce action: Complaint for Divorce.
Mediation calls to help spouses to reach an agreement on child custody and parenting arrangements, marital property distribution, pension division and maintenance.
Rhode Island courts may order the participation in mediation in program established by court, especially on issues of custody and visitation.
Communications made by or to a mediator or between parties in the presence of the mediator as a part of mediation ordered under this section are privileged and are not admissible as evidence in any civil or criminal proceeding. (Rhode Island Domestic Relations Law, Chapter 15-5-29)
In addition to … an order to pay spousal support made pursuant to a complaint for divorce, the court may assign to either the husband or wife a portion of the estate of the other.
In determining the nature and value of the property, if any, to be assigned, the court after hearing the witnesses, if any, of each party shall consider the following:
- The length of the marriage;
- The conduct of the parties during the marriage;
- 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 custodial parent to occupy or own the marital residence and to use or own its household effects taking into account the best interests of the children of the marriage;
- Either party's wasteful dissipation of assets or any transfer or encumbrance of assets made in contemplation of divorce without fair consideration; and
- Any factor which the court shall expressly find to be just and proper.
The court may not assign property or an interest in property held in the name of one of the parties if the property was held by the party prior to the marriage, but may assign income which has been derived from the property during the term of the marriage, and the court may assign the appreciation of value from the date of the marriage of property or an interest in property which was held in the name of one party prior to the marriage which increased in value as a result of the efforts of either spouse during the marriage.
The court also shall not assign property or an interest in property which has been transferred to one of the parties by inheritance before, during, or after the term of the marriage. The court shall not assign property or an interest in property which has been transferred to one of the parties by gift from a third party before, during, or after the term of the marriage. (Rhode Island Domestic Relations Law, Chapter 15-5-16.1)
The court may award, during the pendency of the action or otherwise, to one or both of the parties the right to reside in the marital residence.
Grounds for separation are the same as for divorce.
The court shall order either or both parents owing a duty of support to a child to pay an amount based upon a formula and guidelines adopted by an administrative order of the family court. If, after calculating support based upon court established formula and guidelines, the court, in its discretion, finds the order would be inequitable to the child or either parent, the court shall make findings of fact and shall order either or both parents owing a duty of support to pay an amount reasonable or necessary for the child's support after considering all relevant factors including, but not limited to:
- 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; and
- The financial resources and needs of the non-custodial parent.
The court may, if in its discretion it deems it necessary or advisable, order child support and education costs for children attending high school at the time of their eighteenth (18th) birthday and for ninety (90) days after graduation, but in no case beyond their nineteenth (19th) birthday. (Rhode Island Domestic Relations Law, Chapter 15-5-16.2)
However, if a child has severe physical or mental impairment and lives with one of the parents beyond the age 19, the court may order child support to continue. The court may, if in its discretion it deems it necessary or advisable, appoint an attorney or a guardian ad litem to represent the interest of a minor or dependent child with respect to his or her support, custody, and visitation. (Rhode Island Domestic Relations Law, Chapter 15-5-16.2)
Any woman, to whom a divorce from the bond of marriage is decreed, shall, upon request, be authorized by the decree to change her name, notwithstanding that there may be children born of the marriage, and subject to the same rights and liabilities as if her name had not been changed. (Rhode Island Domestic Relations Law, Chapter 15-5-17)