For many people seeking a divorce, the most desired result is simply the end of a marriage, and not much else needs to be determined. Most divorces in Rhode Island are not this simple. As part of the dissolution of a marriage, Rhode Island Law provides courts the authority to enter orders involving the couple’s children, spousal support, as well as for the division of property obtained during the marriage and other issues.
For many couples who share children and are seeking a divorce, the most important issue to be decided by the court is that of the custody and care of the children. Rhode Island courts primarily consider a custody arrangement that is in the “best interests” of the children. Although one parent may be awarded primary physical custody of the children, state law protects the noncustodial parent’s rights to visitation with the child, unless good cause can be shown for restricting such vitiation. Courts can also award joint physical and legal custody of children to both parents, who would then share in the day-to-day care and decision-making for the child. When fighting for custody or visitation rights, a parent needs to be adequately prepared and have an understanding of the factors used by the courts in awarding custody.
In addition to the custody of children, Rhode Island courts may also enter orders awarding child support and spousal support (alimony) to either party. Generally, the party with primary physical custody of the children will receive a support award from the noncustodial parent. Child support is based largely on the parties’ incomes. It is common for divorcing parents to try and conceal or misrepresent some of their income or expenses to manipulate a court into awarding an unfair support or alimony award, so it is important that a detailed and accurate accounting be performed on the couple’s finances before an award is issued.
In addition to child support and alimony, Rhode Island courts also are tasked with dividing up the assets shared by a married couple when they divorce. Generally, any asset that is obtained during a marriage is shared property, regardless of who purchased it. Furthermore, value added to individually held assets such as real estate or business interests during a marriage may also be shared. Courts are allowed to consider a litany of factors when dividing marital property, and each party should be prepared to justify their claims for marital property with legally enforceable arguments.
Are You Anticipating a Divorce?
If you or someone you know is seeking a Rhode Island divorce, it is important to select a qualified divorce attorney to help you fight for your rights. The experienced Rhode Island family law attorneys at Bilodeau Capalbo understand how high the stakes are in a divorce, and we want to help you fight for your family and assets. Our Rhode Island family lawyers assist clients in all types of domestic claims, including divorces and child custody disputes. Contact our offices today and schedule a free consultation by calling 401-300-4055.