RI Divorce Law Firm

Newport, Rhode Island Divorce Attorney

A Leading Divorce Law Firm in Rhode Island

Any Newport, Rhode Island Divorce Attorney at The Law Offices of Howe and Garside, LTD., is able to serve clients in all of Rhode Island, including but not limited to towns surrounding Newport, RI such as Middletown, Portsmouth, Jamestown, North Kingstown, South Kingstown, Wakefield and Tiverton, and farther north like Providence, Lincoln and beyond.

We handle the following areas of Divorce:

Contact a Divorce Attorney of the Law
Offices of Howe & Garside, LTD. at:

divorce legal separation

About Divorce in Rhode Island

In the State of Rhode Island divorce petitions must first meet a specific set of criteria before they can be filed.

Grounds for filing and status of petition. In RI, parties to a divorce must specify the grounds, or reasons, that the divorce is being sought. Most divorces are filed on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences” which is a “no-fault” ground. Other no fault divorces are filed based upon facts showing that the parties have lived separate and apart from each other for a period of at least three years. This process is made simpler with the assistance of Newport, Rhode Island Divorce Attorney.

In filing a divorce based upon “fault” there are usually severe and extenuating circumstances. Fault is not required to obtain a divorce as it once was and “fault” can be proven by evidence in a contested trial even in a divorce based upon a no-fault ground. So it is not necessary to allege fault in the pleadings. Sometimes fault is alleged to bring the specific fault to the attention of the trial judge from the onset of the case. Some fault grounds are adultery, extreme cruelty, and “gross behavior and wickedness repugnant to and in violation of the marriage”. There are other grounds which can be discussed with a Newport, Rhode Island Divorce Attorney.

Contact a Divorce Attorney of the Law
Offices of Howe & Garside, LTD. at:

divorce legal separation

Equitable Distribution of Marital Property

Property distribution. Rhode Island is an “equitable distribution” state when it comes to dividing the property of the parties. Other states use a “community property” theory to divide assets. In Rhode Island, all of the marital property will be divided “equitably” which does not equate to “equally”. Parties usually reach a property settlement agreement before bringing their case before the court in a nominal (uncontested) divorce. If necessary, the Court will determine the value of all property, and make the decision as to how it will be divided as well.

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

Business Evaluations

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.

Contact a Divorce Attorney of the Law
Offices of Howe & Garside, LTD. at:

What Makes Our Newport, Rhode Island Divorce Attorney Different?

In today’s economic climate, many divorcing couples are having a very difficult time dividing their assets because their investment accounts and “qualified” assets such as 401k accounts have diminished in value. At the same time their real estate value has diminished and their debt has increased. Often, they are running a negative cash flow even before they separate and have two residences to support.

When Jeremy Howe, Kristy Garside and Susan Brassard represent a party, we do it with professionalism, not emotion. Our knowledge, experience, level headedness and even our use of the Family Law Software allows us in cases to assist clients to understand their financial circumstances to make a more efficient counter-offer.

Similarly, When Nancy Johnson-Gallagher and Jeremy Howe of “Partners In Mediation” mediate cases, they use Family Law Software in most of the mediations. The software serves the important purpose of pointing out the true and complete economic position of the couple. Most often, one or both of the mediating couple do not have a clear picture of their economic reality. If the other party or the mediator(s) show that reality, they can be seen as “siding” with the other person (who does understand their reality) or as trying to defeat the desire of the other to be divorced.

More importantly, the software allows your mediators or your lawyer to manipulate all variables to determine which solution is the best solution:

  • What is the effect of alimony on their taxes?
  • Can we convert some property division into alimony within the IRS rules?
  • What difference does it make if mother or father takes the dependency exemption(s)?
  • Is the proposed property division fair?
  • Did the division of the assets take into account the tax consequences of the asset division?
  • What long-term effect will the offers have on the individuals?

All of these questions can be answered through use of the software and in many mediations and divorces, the software information has been the key to showing our clients the “bottom” line regarding their future budget and their future estates. Some mediators espouse a type of mediation known as “collaborative” mediation where they bring in Newport, Rhode Island Divorce Attorney‘s, counselors and accountants with the mediating persons to resolve domestic mediations.

In our cases, we bring our legal knowledge (Jeremy Howe, Kristy J. Garside, and Susan E. Brassard) and our therapy experience (Nancy Johnson-Gallagher, LICSW in mediations) into the room with our Family Law Software, and we have found that our method is cost-effective and that the parties are in a better position to negotiate or mediate if they are not working in a vacuum. Similarly, a divorcing client can better accept a solution if he or she can see the present and future effect of an offer on them personally. In all cases, we offer our clients or the mediating parties the option of validating the data with their own accountant. We submit that we can help clients through the difficult divorce process better through our use of Family Law Software and how we approach the issues.

Contact a Divorce Attorney of the Law
Offices of Howe & Garside, LTD. at:


what a few of our clients have to say about us.

Contact Info.

Contact us

55 Memorial Blvd. Suite 5
Newport, RI 02840
Phone: (401) 841-5700
Fax: 401-367-0192

By Appointment

640 George Washington Hwy
Building B, Suite 103
Lincoln, RI 02865
Phone: (401) 841-5700

  • Ten Best Family Law Attorneys
  • mediate premium

Free Phone Consultation

    We also make ElderLaw housecalls!