Divorce Guide

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Rhode Island No Fault Divorce


According to Rhode Island no fault divorce laws, divorce can be obtained only on the basis of “no-fault” grounds where none of the spouses need to prove that the other spouse has been at fault. Marriage would be dissolved if a spouse states that the marriage has “irretrievably broken down” owing to “incompatibility or irreconcilable differences”.

What about “Fault” grounds in Rhode Island divorce?

Rhode Island is a purely “no-fault” divorce state. But, it does not mean that a substantial “wrong doing’ is not considered. It is only that the faults of the spouse need not be providing the court in order to get the divorce. “Faults’ of the other spouse would be taken very seriously if it affects the property division issue or custody mater between the spouses. The spouse who has been more “innocent” compared to the other spouse’s “wrongdoing” is likely to get a larger share in marital assets. Similarly, the “innocent spouse” has higher chances of getting a fairer custody decision if the other spouse’s “act” is detrimental to the child.

The “fault” grounds which are considered important for deciding in property matters or spousal support or child custody are: adultery, cheating, drug or alcohol abuse etc.

Residential requirements in Rhode Island no fault divorce

In order to get divorce on no fault divorce basis, it is mandatory that at least one spouse must be a resident of Rhode Island for a minimum period of one year prior to filing of the divorce.

Property division in Rhode Island no fault divorce

The matter of property division is usually settled by the spouses outside the court as a trial regarding this issue would take much longer and also eat up a lot of money! In case, the spouses are unable to arrive at a consensus, then the courts would intervene. RI is an “equitable property division state” where the property between the spouses is equitably and fairly distributed among the spouses. The courts consider all the factors such as the age and health of the financially weaker spouse, employability of the spouses, lifestyle led by the spouse during the course of the marriage etc. If a spouse raises the matter of “wrongdoing” during property division, then courts might consider the “innocent” spouse a larger share of the marital assets. Thus, property division is not necessarily equal in these cases.

Child custody in Rhode Island no fault divorce

The matter concerning child custody is also usually settled “outside the court” so that the children are not involved in the messy court battles. The spouses may participate in custody mediation as recommended by the court where a sound parenting plan and visitation schedule is drafted. However, if the spouses are unable to arrive at a consensus regarding this matter, then child custody matter would be settled taking into consideration RI child custody guidelines. Courts try to keep the “best interests of the child” as the most important, where the welfare of the child and his/her security are considered to be most important.


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