For most people, divorce is stressful, and the outcome is uncertain. There may be significant disputes about who owns which assets, who should have custody of the children, who should have visitation, whether alimony and child support should be paid, and how much. Some people may be tempted to save money by not hiring a lawyer. However, the orders made by a court can affect your family far into the future. It is important to have a Rhode Island divorce lawyer on your side representing your interests during mediations, settlement discussions, and any trial that is needed. At Bilodeau Capalbo, LLC, we provide knowledgeable legal counsel to people throughout Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.Protect Your Interests in a Divorce
A divorce complaint needs to declare the grounds upon which a spouse is seeking the divorce. Divorce grounds include no-fault and fault grounds. No-fault grounds are irreconcilable differences that caused the marriage to break down, or a situation in which the spouses lived separate and apart without cohabiting for three years. Most Rhode Island divorces are granted due to irreconcilable differences. Fault grounds include gross misbehavior and wickedness, adultery, impotence, extreme cruelty, willful desertion for five years, habitual use of certain drugs like morphine, continued drunkenness, neglect, and the refusal by a husband to provide necessaries for his wife to subsist when a husband has a sufficient ability to provide this support.
In Rhode Island, marriage is considered an economic partnership. Courts make an equitable distribution of assets upon a divorce. This means that marital assets are usually divided equally, but certain facts can make it fair to divide the property differently. The goal is to assign marital property to each spouse in a fair way based on the spouse's contributions to the marital estate.
Marital assets that may be divided during a divorce include real property, cars, boats, bank accounts, IRAs, pensions, retirement accounts, personal property such as furniture and computers, and any businesses. Usually, these are divided equally between the spouses. However, each case is different, and a divorce attorney at our Rhode Island firm can advise you on whether a different distribution of marital assets may be appropriate.
Child custody and support is another sensitive area during a divorce. The court's primary concern with custody is the child's best interests, rather than the wishes of the child's parent or parents regarding the child's custody. Factors to be considered include the child's reasonable preferences, the child's interactions with parents and siblings, the child's relationship to their community, school and health considerations, the stability of the home environment, the parents' moral fitness, and each parent's ability to facilitate a close parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent.
Unlike with many other states, it is rare for Rhode Island courts to order joint custody, unless the parents agree to it ahead of time. Our Rhode Island divorce attorneys can help you reach this agreement if you believe that it is right for you. A child's preferences regarding where they want to live are considered only if the court believes that they are mature enough to make this kind of important decision. Often, a non-custodial parent will have visitation, and a custodial parent's refusal to follow a court-ordered visitation schedule can result in custody being changed. Regarding child support, the court will abide by the Rhode Island child support formula and guidelines to calculate child support based on both parents' incomes.
There are certain situations in which spousal support (alimony) may be awarded. Alimony can be rehabilitative, which means that it will be provided for a limited, specific stretch of time to help a spouse return to the job market. In other cases, the court has the right to award indefinite alimony. For example, if a spouse is too old to go back to the workplace or be trained for a career, or if a spouse is incapacitated, the court may decide that they should receive indefinite alimony.Hire a Divorce Lawyer in Rhode Island or Beyond
If you are considering a divorce from your spouse in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, or Connecticut, it is important to consult an experienced family law attorney. At Bilodeau Capalbo, LLC, we maintain close and trusting relationships with our clients, and we have a strong reputation for client satisfaction. Our firm has offices in West Warwick, Westerly, and Hartford. Call us at (401) 300-4055 or use our online form to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.