Property Division and Rhode Island Divorce Law

Rhode Island is an equitable distribution state. This means that each party will typically receive approximately 50% of the marital assets and the marital debt. But "financial need" and "fault" can be a factor in the final decision about equitable property division and spousal support.

Property Division and Fault

The most common irremedial reason people give for divorce in Rhode Island is the "breakdown in the marriage." That is all you need to say. But if one party WAS at fault, you may want to prove that claim. If fault can be proven on the grounds of adultery, extreme emotional or physical cruelty or gross misbehavior, that could change the proportion of marital assets awarded to a spouse. In one notable case, Providence divorce attorney Stephen Linder was able to secure 70% of the marital assets for an abused spouse.

When you meet with Mr. Linder in your initial consultation, be sure to fully explain the circumstances that led you to seek a divorce. He can advise you on the impact this could have on property division under Rhode Island divorce law.

Complex Property Division

Attorney Linder has handled many divorce cases involving complex marital assets such as executive pay packages and inheritances, as well as property division for estates with millions of dollars in assets. His clients have included those with family-owned businesses, those where one partner was part of a professional practice or a business partnership, and those with franchise businesses. It's critical in such cases to minimize the negative effects of the divorce on the business.

The Award of Spousal Support

Rhode Island alimony laws have changed in recent years. Spousal support IS still available and either spouse can receive or be ordered to pay support. The primary difference is that the family court judge is more likely to award "rehabilitative" support for a specific amount of time. The goal of rehabilitative support is to give a spouse time to become self-supporting. Lifetime spousal support is more likely to be ordered if a spouse is elderly, disabled or seriously ill.

The Rhode Island family court takes a comprehensive view of financial assets versus needs. A judge may order only a few years of support, or no support at all, but may then give the lower-earning spouse a greater share of the marital assets and less marital debt. To learn more about Rhode Island's approach to spousal support, visit our spousal support page.

At your initial consultation with attorney Linder, he will explain the various factors that could affect your request for alimony. Contact our Providence law firm to schedule your initial consultation.