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3 Rhode Island Divorce Laws You Should Know

Gene Kirzhner June 4, 2015

The average person probably isn’t familiar with Rhode Island Divorce laws. Getting a divorce usually isn’t a planned venture. The decision to dissolve a marriage or legal relationship can be filled with emotional exhaustion and difficult decisions. If you’re considering a divorce we recommend familiarizing yourself with a few of the basic laws pertaining to your state. Having a basic foundation of the legal structure of divorce simplifies the communication with divorce lawyers. It also puts you in a much more comfortable position when choosing the divorce attorney to represent you.


§ 15-5-3.1 Divorce on grounds of irreconcilable differences. – (a) A divorce from the bonds of matrimony shall be decreed, irrespective of the fault of either party, on the ground of irreconcilable differences which have caused the irremediable breakdown of the marriage.
Divorce on Grounds of Irreconcilable Differences

This statute speaks to the no-fault divorce petition. Under these terms either spouse in the marriage can request that the marriage be dissolved due to the couple’s inability to maintain a functioning marriage. Many states allow no-fault divorces allowing couples to dissolve their legal marital status without stringent restrictions.

§ 15-5-2 Additional grounds for divorce. – Divorces from the bond of marriage shall also be decreed for the following causes:
(1) Impotency; (2) Adultery; (3) Extreme cruelty;
(4) Willful desertion for five (5) years of either of the parties, or for willful desertion for a shorter period of time in the discretion of the court;
(5) Continued drunkenness;
(6) The habitual, excessive, and intemperate use of opium, morphine, or chloral;
(7) Neglect and refusal, for the period of at least one year next before the filing of the petition, on the part of the husband to provide necessaries for the subsistence of his wife, the husband being of sufficient ability; and
(8) Any other gross misbehavior and wickedness, in either of the parties, repugnant to and in violation of the marriage covenant.
RI Grounds for Divorce

This statute allows a victimized spouse to seek refuge from an unhealthy marriage. In the instance that one party is mistreating the other, the spouse can request to have the marriage dissolved under the pre-disclosed circumstances. These events are breeding grounds are known to be breeding environments for verbal, physical and financial abuse.

§ 15-5-10 Disposal of certain real estate after filing of complaint. – At any time after the filing of a complaint for divorce from bed, board, and future cohabitation, and until a decree of reconciliation has been entered, the court, upon the petition of either party seized in his or her own right of real estate in Rhode Island, after notice to the opposing party, after a hearing on the petition, may, if the court finds that justice and the best interests of the party require, enter a decree permitting the party to sell, mortgage, or otherwise dispose of the real estate free of the rights of life estates created by chapter 25 of title 33 of the opposing party.
Disposal of real estate

At our Rhode Island Divorce Law Firm, a common inquiry we encounter is the definition of dividing properties or real estate. This statute provides guidance for the disposal of real estate after the complaint has been filed. The court must give its approval of how the property of both spouses will be divided according to law.

Knowing these three statutes provides a basic foundation for Rhode Island Divorce laws. We recommend discussing them with your divorce attorney and asking how they would apply to your specific circumstances. Review all of the details with your attorney so that they are equipped to build a strong case in your best interests.