Making the Tough Times a Little Easier Schedule a Free Phone Consultation

Dividing Property in Rhode Island Divorces

Gene Kirzhner Sept. 7, 2021

If you are going through a divorce in Rhode Island, you should learn what property you will be able to keep and what you’ll need to split. You might also want to understand who will be responsible for the debts in your marriage.

Read on to learn more about how property is divided in Rhode Island divorces.

Equitable Division

If you are experiencing a divorce, you will need to work with your spouse or your attorney on a marital settlement agreement (MSA). An MSA is a written document that outlines how you and your partner would divide your assets and deal with your children. If you cannot create an MSA or come to a mutual agreement with your partner, the court will have to divide the property based on equitable division.

Equitable division essentially means your property will be divided between spouses. Without an MSA, the court will decide what is fair and equitable based on various factors that show how much you have contributed to or effected the marriage.

Marital Property Will Be Divided

The court needs to know which property belongs to the marriage before they can divide your property. Marital property is property that is acquired during the course of the marriage. Non-marital property refers to property that belonged to one of the spouses before the marriage. This can include any inheritances or gifts that were only given to one spouse. Unless you transferred the property to a joint account, it would likely remain yours after the divorce. Yet, assets received during the marriage that were not gifts or inheritances will be considered marital property and subject to division.

Division of Debt

Just as property is classified as marital or non-marital, a debt must also be considered marital for the responsibility to be split. Debt can be considered non-marital if one spouse racked up a bunch of debt independently for their sole benefit.

Factors to Consider When Dividing Property

The court will consider the following factors when dividing marital property and decide whether the non-marital property needs to be included:

  • Marriage length

  • Conduct during the marriage

  • Contributions to the value of property

  • Contributions and services as a homemaker

  • Health and age

  • Each spouse’s income, employability, and occupation

  • Each spouse’s opportunity to acquire assets and income

  • The contribution by one spouse to the other’s education, licenses, business, training, or increased earning power

  • Best interests of the children

  • Waste of assets by any spouse

If you are going through a divorce and would like to discuss the division of your assets, contact The Law Offices of Howe and Garside. Our experienced and qualified attorneys can help keep you informed and, most importantly, help you achieve the best possible outcome. We look forward to hearing from you!