Written by attorney David Slepkow

Rhode Island Divorce: Cheating - Abuse - Drugs- Gambling- Alcoholism- Verbal abuse

Rhode Island is a "no fault state". Does that mean the assets are always divided 50% to the wife and 50% to the husband in a divorce?

No. A no fault divorce in Rhode Island simply means that a fault grounds are not necessary in order to obtain a divorce in Rhode Island. In other words, all the parties have to prove to obtain a divorce in Rhode Island is irreconcilable differences that led to the breakdown of the marriage. However, the parties are free to allege other various fault grounds as a cause of the break up of the marriage. Even if a divorce is a "no fault " divorce it does not necessarily mean that it will be an uncontested divorce.

"No fault divorce" does not mean that fault is not significant! Fault can be extremely significant in Rhode Island. If a party can prove that the other party is at fault for the breakup of the marriage, then they can seek a disproportionate share of the marital assets. Fault may also be a small factor to determine whether or not a party is entitled to alimony.

The following types of behavior could be grounds to obtain more than fifty percent of the marital assets: alcoholism, drug addiction, domestic violence, criminal history, incarceration, extra marital affairs (cheating), abusive behavior, gambling, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, financial mismanagement, criminal activity, abandonment, etc. You should consult with a Rhode Island lawyer / attorney concerning the circumstances of your case and how they will affect your divorce.

What is an Uncontested divorce in Rhode Island?

An uncontested divorce is a divorce in which the parties agree to all issues involved in the case including child custody, child support, visitation, equitable division of the marital domicile (real estate) etc.

What does a "no fault" divorce mean in Rhode Island?

In some states, it is necessary to prove fault grounds in order to obtain a divorce. Under Rhode Island divorce and family law, it is not necessary to prove fault grounds in order to obtain an absolute divorce. All you need to do is prove irreconcilable differences in order to get a divorce. Irreconcilable differences can be anything from lack of communication, different goals and aspirations, affairs, domestic violence, arguing, fell out of love or actually anything. In other words, if either party wants to terminate the marriage, then that party can get a divorce in Rhode Island so long as the other jurisdictional requirements in Rhode Island are met.

How does fault affect a Rhode Island (RI) divorce?

Even though Rhode Island is a no fault state, fault can play a very important role in how the court equitably divides the assets and debts of the parties. After the family court has determined what assets are in fact marital assets, then the court will look at various factors to determine the equitable division of assets. The court may consider the following factors in determining equitable assignment of the property.

a) The length of the marriage;

b) The conduct of the parties during the marriage;

c) The contribution of each of the parties during the marriage in the acquisition, preservation or appreciation in value of their respective estates;

d) The contribution and services of either party as a homemaker;

e) The health and age of the parties;

f) The amount and sources of income of each of the parties

g) The occupation and employability of each of the parties;

h) The opportunity of each party for future acquisition of capital assets and income;

  • Source: R.I.G.L. 15-5-16.1 (Rhode Island General Laws)

among other factors which are set forth in R.I.G.L. 15-5-16.1. That statute specifically states that the court can consider any factor which the court so expressly finds to be just and proper.

Please note that in many cases the parties decide to divide the property 50% to the wife and 50% to the husband. One of the most important factors the Rhode Island Family Court judge will look at in granting the husband or wife a disproportionate share of the marital assets is if the other party had an affair, was emotionally or physically abusive or had substantial drug and alcohol problems. The court will also look at other negative conduct in awarding a disproportionate share of the marital assets.

It is not uncommon for a judge to award a 60/40 or 55/45 distribution of marital assets in a divorce if the Family Court finds that one party had an extra marital affair and that affair led to the breakdown of the marriage. Rhode Island Attorneys legal Notice per RI Rules of Professional Responsibility: The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer as an expert or specialist in any field of practice.

Free Q&A with lawyers in your area

Avvo child custody email series

Can’t find what you’re looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer