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Rhode Island Divorce Law Frequently Asked Questions How Long Until It Ends? Residency requirements and no-fault divorce

1) How long does it take to get divorced from Rhode Island?

If all issues related to divorce, child support, child custody, equitable division of property, alimony, visitation, and other issues are resolved between the parties, the earliest possible date for a divorce nominal divorce in Rhode Island (a nominal divorce is an uncontested divorce in which everything is agreed) is approximately sixty-five to seventy days after the plaintiff files for divorce. If the matter is set as uncontested, then the clerk will set an automatic court date, “the Nominal Divorce Hearing,” approximately sixty-five to seventy days after filing.

In the event that one of the parties does not want to advance the nominal seventy-day divorce hearing date or if all issues between the parties are not resolved, then the case will not advance on the nominal date and will be scheduled for conferences and additional meetings. potentially the discovery process. The case can eventually culminate in a trial. Contested divorces are generally resolved in 6-10 months, but can take up to a year.

A divorce cannot be final until at least ninety days after the parties attend the nominal hearing in court. In other words, the final judgment for divorce in Rhode Island cannot enter until at least 90 days after the nominal divorce hearing. In the event that the parties do not go to court and resolve the matter on the nominal court date, then the divorce could take up to a year or potentially longer. It is extremely rare for a divorce to last more than a year.

2) What does a “no fault” divorce mean in Rhode Island?

In some states it is necessary to prove fault to obtain a divorce. In Rhode Island, you do not have to prove fault to obtain an absolute divorce. All you need to do is prove irreconcilable differences to get a divorce. Irreconcilable differences can be anything from miscommunication, different goals and aspirations, love affairs, domestic violence, arguments, heartbreak, or anything. In other words, if either party wants to end the marriage, then that party can be divorced in Rhode Island as long as the other jurisdictional requirements in Rhode Island are met.

“No-fault divorce” does not mean that the fault is not significant! The fault can be extremely significant in Rhode Island. If one of the parties can prove that the other party is at fault for the breakdown of the marriage, then he may seek a disproportionate share of the marital property. Guilt can also be a factor in determining whether one of the parties is entitled to alimony.The following types of behavior could be grounds for obtaining more than fifty percent of the marital property: alcoholism, drug addiction, domestic violence , extramarital affairs (cheating), abusive behavior, gambling, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, financial mismanagement, criminal activity, abandonment, etc.

3) What is the residency requirement to obtain a divorce in Rhode Island?

To file for divorce in Rhode Island, you must have been a domiciled resident and resident of Rhode Island for one year prior to filing for divorce. If you have not been a domiciled resident and resident of Rhode Island for a year prior to filing your divorce claim, you can file it based on your husband / wife’s residence in Rhode Island for one year prior to filing. It does not matter if you change residence or move out of town the next day, as long as you have been a resident on the date of the divorce application and for one year before.

There are exceptions for people stationed in the military who maintain a residence in Rhode Island. Even if you move the day after filing, you still meet the Rhode Island residency requirements. If you do not qualify to file for divorce in Rhode Island, you should seek an attorney in other states who may qualify to file for divorce. If you live in Rhode Island but do not meet the residency requirements to file for divorce, there are other types of actions, such as a separate support complaint without filing for divorce, that you can file that would allow you to resolve the issues. in relation to property rights and custody and maintenance of children.

3a) What are the residency requirements in nominal divorce hearings to obtain a divorce in Rhode Island?

-It is sufficient, if both parties appear on the nominal court date and testify that at least one of the parties was a domiciled inhabitant and resident of Rhode Island for one year prior to the filing of the divorce complaint. Family Court will normally waive the additional witness requirement if both husband and wife attend the court date and testify that at least one of the parties had the required residency as set forth above.

-If only one party attends the nominal court date, then you need one of the following to obtain a divorce in Rhode Island (a) two additional witnesses in court to testify of the plaintiff or defendant’s year of residence (b ) one witness in court to testify of the plaintiff’s one-year residency and an affidavit from a different witness proving the person’s residence. (The Rhode Island Family Court Clerk can easily obtain this affidavit form.)

If you do not meet these requirements to prove your Rhode Island residency, your divorce case may be dismissed or you may be given additional time to obtain the necessary witnesses or affidavit.

4) In Rhode Island family law, does it matter who files for divorce first?

It should not matter which spouse files for divorce when Family Court determines equitable division of property, child support, child custody, visitation, child custody, alimony, etc. However, in the event that a no-contact order, restraining order, or emergency motion is needed or filed, which party you file first can be extremely important! This is especially true if there is an emergency motion regarding child custody and / or child visitation in relation to a child.

Disclaimer from Rhode Island attorneys under the RI Professional Liability Rules:

The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all attorneys in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any attorney as an expert or specialist in any field of practice.

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