March 13, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Rhode Island divorce: basic family law considerations
Article provided by Law Office of Hoopis & Hoopis
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When a couple plans to divorce in Rhode Island, the parties must address several legal topics that go beyond the relationship, itself. For example, litigants must assess property division, child custody and visitation, child support and other similar issues if they are applicable to the end of the marriage.
The first step in the process concerns jurisdiction. In Rhode Island, divorce proceedings cannot be initiated unless one or both parties have resided in the state for at least one year.
Grounds for a divorce
When a divorce case is filed, one must declare appropriate grounds for the dissolution of marriage. The most common explanation for divorceis irreconcilable differences. Irreconcilable differences are issues that caused the breakdown of a marriage and cannot be resolved. This is a no-fault justification for divorce, meaning the reason is irrespective of a party's fault. Another fault-free justification for divorce is when parties have lived separately for at least three years.
In addition, there are several fault-based grounds for legally ending a marriage, including the following:
-Habitual use of certain drugs
These are just a few of the many reasons that legally substantiate the end of a marriage.
Rhode Island is an "equitable distribution" state; marital property must be divided in an equitable manner. Equitable does not mean equal. Instead, the court considers a "fair" distribution of assets. The court looks to several factors when assessing what is a fair allocation. This might include the earning potential of each litigant, the financial contribution each party made to the marriage, the length of the marriage and other similar considerations.
Child custody and visitation
When minor children are involved in a divorce, the Rhode Island courts try to limit emotional strain experienced by the children. If the parents cannot come to an agreement regarding custody issues, a judge makes a decision at his or her discretion.
The court makes a custody ruling based on the best interests of the children. A judge examines several factors in an effort to determine which parent (or which living situation) can best support the physical, emotional and mental welfare of the kids. In determining child custody arrangements, the court must permit the right of visitation by the noncustodial parent, except upon a showing that such visitation would not be in the children's best interests. The court develops a plan and issues an order, which must be followed by the parties.
Rhode Island has adopted a child support formula and specific guidelines that help assess the amount of child support that should be given to a custodial parent. In making a determination, the court might examine the financial resources of the custodial parent, the child's educational and physical needs, the financial ability of the noncustodial parent and similar considerations.
A divorce matter often depends on the parties' particular situation. If you would like to learn more about the process, contact an experienced family law attorney. A lawyer can help you sort through complex, legal issues.---
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