Need Legal Help With A Rhode Island Divorce?

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The decision to seek divorce in Rhode Island is one of the most difficult and stressful events anyone can go through. Though the support needed during this time comes from many people, ensuring you have a skilled and local Rhode Island divorce lawyer who can guide and protect you.  Hiring the right Rhode Island divorce attorney is one of the most important decision you need to make.  You deserve the best Rhode Island lawyer to handle your divorce case from beginning to end.

Braatz Family Law prides itself on being a boutique law firm that focuses on representing individuals through the Rhode Island divorce process. We work tirelessly to ensure the highest level of representation, help guide you through every step and decision in the legal process, and protect the interests of you and your family.

Our firm is committed to personal service and limits the number of cases that we work with at any one time. Our goal is to remove the stress, uncertainty and fear that most clients experience as they approach the process of divorce.

Why Select Braatz Family Law for your Divorce case?

  • We lead the industry in experience and have a broad knowledge base to meet clients’ diverse needs.
  • We stay current with the latest Rhodes Island divorce rules, best practices and laws.
  • We use a collaborative approach among our attorneys to take on complex legal issues.
  • We form long-term relationships with our clients allowing for the best outcomes and results.
  • We leverage in-house resources to keep divorce cases efficient and equitable for our clients.

Types of Rhode Island Divorces our Firm Focuses On:

Contested Divorce

Although Rhode Island family law follows an “Equitable Distribution” method, it’s not necessarily a 50/50 split for the divorcing couple – it is not always that simple. More than 90% of the time, each party more than likely shares their own views of what they believe they deserve, and for good reason. In this case, the divorce is considered contested. At Braatz Family Law, we work knowledgeably and efficiently to navigate the commencement, discovery and settlement phases of each contested divorce case. In the event that a reasonable outcome cannot be agreed upon, we are experienced trial lawyers ready to litigate in court

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce means that you and your marital partner are in agreement as to how you will divide your marital estate before you file. While this may seem very simple and straight forward, having counsel to represent you ensures that every aspect of the process is completed correctly, that you have a full picture of all assets and liabilities before finalizing the agreement and that you understand Rhode Island Divorce law.

Our firm has built a reputation on delivering best in class representation and look forward to working with you.

Here are some of the most common questions your attorney can give you legal counsel on once you have retained them.

Q: Who has to leave the house in a divorce?

A: In our experience, cases that involve children typically result in the primary caregiver of the children getting to remain in the residence during the divorce regardless of whether they are on the deed. For cases that do not involve children, it typically comes down to whether both parties are on the deed and if so, whether both parties wish to remain in the marital home. Asset division and property settlement is an incredibly important factor in divorce cases that requires experienced legal representation to navigate.

Need Legal Help With A Rhode Island Divorce?

Contact us for a free and confidential case consultation.

Q: Can my wife or husband take everything in the divorce?

A: Our straightforward answer to that is no, however it is important to hire representation that can perform thorough discovery, negotiate fair and equitable settlements and strategize the long term implications of certain types of settlement agreements. While the notion of taking “everything” is very outdated, ensuring that all of the relevant information that the court considers is presented at the correct time and part of the negotiation process is essential to protecting and advocating for a favorable outcome in divorce proceedings.

Q: Is Rhode Island a no-fault divorce state? And what does a no-fault divorce mean?

A: Yes, Rhode Island is a no-fault divorce state. A no-fault divorce simply means that you do not have to prove grounds of fault in order to file for divorce. A no-fault divorce does not mean that assets gets split right down the middle and each party receives half of everything. Even if the grounds for divorce are “no fault”, the way the courts will still look individually at your divorce case and divide assets, placement, custody, visitation, child support and alimony in a manner that they deem equitable under the circumstances.

Q: What are the requirements for a no-fault divorce in the State of Rhode Island?

A: There are a few minimum requirements for filing for a no-fault divorce in Rhode Island. First, both spouses must have been living in Rhode Island for more than one year before filing for divorce.  Second, irreconcilable differences must have caused the marriage to be beyond repair and/or you and your spouse have been living separately for more than three years. Most divorce cases in Rhode Island are filed as no-fault under one of the above criteria.

Q: Is there a waiting period in Rhode Island for my divorce to be granted once I have filed?

A: Yes. If you are filing for divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, the waiting period is 90 days after your final family court appearance. If you are filing on the grounds of living apart for more than three years, the waiting period is 21 days from your final court appearance. Your final court appearance is where either an agreement is reached and entered or your trial has concluded and the judge has ruled. Your first court appearance is not your last court appearance.

Q: Once I have filed for divorce, how long until my court date will be scheduled?

A: While it is up to the courts to schedule hearings, typically your case will be scheduled approximately 60 to 80 days after the complaint has been filed with the court. This first court date is the beginning of the process, not the date at which your divorce case will be concluded.

Q: Is there a waiting period in Rhode Island for my divorce to be granted once I have filed?

A: Yes. If you are filing for divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, the waiting period is 90 days after your final family court appearance. If you are filing on the grounds of living apart for more than three years, the waiting period is 21 days from your final court appearance. Your final court appearance is where either an agreement is reached and entered or your trial has concluded and the judge has ruled. Your first court appearance is not your last court appearance.

Q: Can I change my name in a divorce in Rhode Island?

A: Yes, any woman who would like to change their name during a divorce may be authorized to do so by decree during a divorce. It is important to have a Family Law Attorney who understands how to ensure this is done properly as part of the divorce process. Though it seems like a simple, no brainer type of question, it is important that this is addressed properly during your proceedings.

Q: I was just served with Rhode Island divorce papers, what do I need to do next?

A: Being served divorce papers is no cause for panic, nor is the word defendant. In Family Court, the term Plaintiff simply refers to the filing party and being served papers is the first step in beginning the process. Once you have signed for service, it is important that you decide how you want to move forward. Whether you decide to move forward with counsel or represent yourself, it is important that an Entry of Appearance be filed and the other required documents get completed and filed accurately and on time. The summons that is included in your service will also provide you with the date, time and location of your first hearing. Due to the complicated nature of divorce proceedings, retaining an experienced Rhode Island divorce attorney after service ensures competent representation at all stages of your proceedings.

Q: If I file for divorce, how and when will my spouse be served?

A: Typically, once you file for divorce with the courts in Rhode Island, a summons is produced within two business days of the filing. Once the summons is produced, service is completed by a licensed constable and includes the complaint, summons and all supporting documents. Constables make every effort to coordinate a mutually convenient time and location for service to occur. While there is some flexibility in when service is completed, it needs to be completed in a timely manner and include the correct version of all documents.

Q: Can I file for divorce without my spouse finding out I did so?

A: Legally, once you file for a RI divorce, service of the complaint and other required documents for filing must be completed on the other party in a timely manner. In Rhode Island, once the court accepts the filing, your attorney will arrange for a constable to complete service.

Q: If I get divorced, I am required to disclose all of my financial information?

A: Both parties to a Rhode Island divorce are legally required to accurately and honestly complete the DR6 form which is a document that gathers information about your income, assets, liabilities and debts. This form must be filed with the complaint if you are the plaintiff or after you are served if you are the defendant. It is important that this form be accurate and complete, your attorney will review and ensure that it is filled out correctly. Additionally, depending on the nature of your divorce, discovery or interrogatories may be filed by one or both parties which could compel additional disclosure of information including financial assets.

Q: What is the Rhode Island DR6 form and what do I need to report?

A: The DR6 form is a form that both parties must complete accurately and honestly to disclose their assets and liabilities. This form includes income, expenses, property, bank account information, credit cards, loan information, retirement and investment accounts and several other areas. It is important that you include all of the information accurately and review any questions of variances you may have with your attorney before it is filed.

Q: What is a QDRO and is it something that I need?

A: A Qualified Domestic Relations Order “QDRO” is a domestic relations order that creates or recognizes the existence of an “alternate payee’s” right to receive, or assigns to an alternate payee the right to receive, all or a portion of the benefits payable with respect to a participant under a retirement plan, and that includes certain information and meets certain other requirements. Simply put, a QDRO tells a plan how to distribute funds based on the agreements entered into the Rhode Island Marital Settlement Agreement.

Q: What is a statement listing children and do I have to provide one?

A: A statement listing children is a required form in each divorce filing, regardless of whether you have children. Though it is a simple form to fill out, it must be included with accurate information at the time of filing.

Q: What are interrogatories and do I have to respond to them?

A: Interrogatories are a divorce discovery tool that the parties can use to have specific questions about a case answered before your divorce trial. Typically, if you serve one party with interrogatories, they will serve you with similar questions.

Q: What is a premarital asset and how do I prove a particular asset was premarital in my divorce case?

A: Simply put, a premarital asset is something that you purchased prior to being married that did not use joint or marital funds. Premarital assets are a complicated issue in divorce as the burden for proof is high. Additionally, even though an asset may be premarital, the change in value during the marriage may still be considered by the court as marital. Though premarital funds may have been used to purchase assets, there are arguments about when those premarital funds are transformed to marital assets if they are used for things like a downpayment for a house you have owned for a lengthy period of time. It is imperative that you provide as much information and documentation to your attorney as possible for an asset you believe may be excluded from marital assets.

Q: What are temporary allowances and are they something I need in my divorce case?

A: A motion for temporary allowances is filed in divorce cases where one party needs immediate relief. Typically, the first hearing date once a divorce case is filed is sixty days or more from the date of filing. A motion for temporary allowances is heard immediately and can address things in the short term like child support, spousal support, living arrangements, parenting time and other time sensitive matters. These orders stay in place until an order supersedes it or the order is finalized.

Q: What is a Marital Settlement Agreement and is it binding once I sign it?

A: The Marital Settle Agreement, known as the MSA, outlines all of the agreements that the parties make in regards to their marital estate and children. Once it is signed, it is binding, but anything related to the children is always modifiable by court.

Q: What is a Decision Pending Entry of Final Judgment and what does it mean?

A: It is an interlocutory order that governs that parties during the waiting period between the Nominal Hearing and the Final Judgment entering. It includes the same provisions as the final judgment.

Q: What is a Final Judgment and when does it get entered?

A: The Final Judgment is the decision that the court issues at the conclusion of a Nominal Hearing or Trial that legally divorces the parties and finalizes the divorce. In most Rhode Island cases, it is entered 90 days after the Nominal hearing. In cases where the parties have lived apart for more than three years, the waiting period is 20 days.

Q: Now that I have filed for divorce, can I stop paying for/contributing to things for my spouse like insurance, mortgage/rent, car payments or other monthly expenses?

A: Financial responsibilities can be complicated, however neither party should stop their normal or established contribution patterns. For issues that need immediate attention, your attorney can file for temporary allowances that address reasonable and necessary expenses. You should always consult with an experienced family law divorce lawyer before making any major changes to your financial contributions or spending to avoid unnecessary proceedings.

Q: What is the timeline of a typical Rhode Island divorce?

A: The answer is that there isn’t one. From the time one party files, the first hearing is typically sixty or more days from the time the filing is accepted. Depending on the length of separation, the Final Judgment can be filed with the courts either 90 or 21 days from the Nominal Hearing or from when the Judge issues their decision at the conclusion of a trial. Most divorces in Rhode Island enter the Final Judgment 90 days from the Nominal Hearing. What happens in between the first hearing and the Nominal Hearing can take as little as a month or up to a year. At the year mark, the courts will require you to have either a Nominal Hearing or a trial.

For a comprehensive summary of Rhode Island divorce laws visit: https://www.womansdivorce.com/rhode-island.html#LAW