The criteria that the court uses when deciding upon an equitable distribution of the marital property are:
- The length of the marriage
- Conduct of the parties during the marriage
- Contribution of each of the parties during the marriage in the acquisition, preservation, or appreciation in value of their respective estates
- Contribution and services of either party as a homemaker
- Health and age of the parties
- The amount and sources of income of each of the parties
- The occupation and employability of each of the parties
- The opportunity for future acquisition of capital assets and income
- Any contributions by one party to the education, training, licensure, business, or increased earning power of the other
- The need of the custodial parent to occupy or own the marital residence and to use or own its household effects taking into account the best interests of the children of the marriage
- Either party’s wasteful dissipation of assets or any transfer or encumbrance of assets made in contemplation of divorce without fair consideration
- And any other factor the court finds to be just and proper
In the divorce, a significant asset of the parties may be a business. The “family business” may include a business interest that has been inherited by one of the parties from family members or a business run by one of the parties who is self-employed.
A business evaluation typically includes a thorough review of the business books and records over a time deemed sufficient by a Newport, Rhode Island Divorce Attorney to provide a history of the value of the business and the total benefits received by the owner. This review may include three to five years of the following records: income tax returns, balance sheets, accounts payable and receivable ledgers, profit and loss statements, and will also include a review of the owner’s salary from the business, distributions, fringe benefits and personal expenses paid from within the business. The results can then be used to negotiate a party’s position at the pre-trial level and then used at trial.
The evaluation can also be used as a tool in our mediation practice where the evaluator might act as a neutral. Business evaluation experts are hired to conduct these evaluations, and in contested situations, are often asked to testify.
Restoration or Name Change. Upon request, a party may return to the use of their premarital/maiden name.
Child Support. Child support is requested in the divorce Complaint in the prayers or demands.
Spousal Support. Alimony is also included in the Complaint. It can be granted based upon numerous factors set forth in the Rhode Island Alimony statute. In Rhode Island, alimony is generally “rehabilitative”. It is designed to provide support for a spouse for a reasonable length of time to enable the recipient to become financially independent and self sufficient. The court does have discretion to award alimony for an indefinite period based upon the factors set forth in the Alimony statute.
Some people would prefer not to be divorced. Certain religious beliefs carry a stigma in relation to divorce and those practicing these beliefs will not be permitted to remarry within their chosen faith if they are divorced. In the State of Rhode Island, it is possible to obtain a “divorce from bed and board” which considers all mattes relating to property and the children but does not divorce them in the eyes of the church.