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Divorce FAQ: Your Questions Answered

Gene Kirzhner Feb. 7, 2018

A divorce FAQ is handy since it’s a bit more complicated to end a marriage than it is to begin one. So, here is our guide to the most commonly asked questions about divorce in Rhode Island.

Divorce FAQ: On What Grounds Can I Get a Divorce?

Courts most often grant divorces on the grounds of separation or irreconcilable differences.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “irreconcilable differences” used in media reports of famous divorces. What does it mean? The couple has grown apart. They no longer see eye-to-eye on critical issues. The gulf between them is so enormous that they feel it could never be bridged.

Divorce FAQ: Where Should I File for Divorce? I Live Far Away from My Spouse.

You file in the county where you have residency.

Divorce FAQ: Does It Make Any Difference Whether or Not My Spouse Agrees to End the Marriage?

You are allowed to file for divorce regardless of the feelings of your spouse.

Divorce FAQ: How Long Will It Take for Me to Get Divorced?

It typically takes up to six months. The state doesn’t grant instant divorces. The official clock starts ticking once your spouse receives the divorce papers. But you’re not legally single until the divorce is final.

The waiting period or cooling off period allows for various issues to be settled. It also gives the spouses time to rethink their decision to divorce.

Divorce FAQ: What if I Change My Mind About the Divorce After I’ve Filed Papers?

You can cancel the divorce process by filing a dismissal form before the court issues a final judgment.

Divorce FAQ: How Can I Speed up The Divorce?

The divorce process moves along faster if both parties are in agreement to divorce. In such a case the divorce is called an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce hearing can take place less than three months after filing.

It means that you and your spouse reached an understanding of all the issues that you must settle before the state grants a divorce. In other words, you’ve left nothing that a judge has to decide.

For example, you and your spouse have worked out an arrangement to share custody of your animals. Therefore, a judge is not required to rule in favor of one or the other spouse.

Divorce FAQ: What Could Slow Down My Divorce?

The more contentious issues there are between spouses, the slower the divorce process. Spouses who bickered much of their married life tend to continue that pattern of behavior through the divorce.

If spouses can’t agree, it becomes necessary for a judge to make a ruling. If there are a lot of sticking points, the more rulings there are. This conflict can result in many negotiation meetings. It can also result in multiple court appearances.

Divorce FAQ: Is It Mandatory that I Appear in Court?

Not necessarily. If you and your spouse have already crafted an agreeable settlement, a court appearance may not be required.

Divorce FAQ: What Issues Do I Need to Settle Before I Can Get a Divorce?

Each divorce presents its own unique set of issues, but the more common ones are as follows:

  • Who will have legal custody of the children?

  • Who will have physical custody of the children?

  • What are the financial arrangements for the children’s future?

  • How will you divide your property?

  • How will you divide your debt?

  • Will there be spousal support? Which spouse will receive the help, and how much?

Divorce FAQ: What’s the Difference Between Legal Child Custody and Physical Child Custody?

Legal child custody deals with the general welfare of the child. For example, it would determine who has the right to decide what type of medical care the child would receive.

Physical custody dictates with whom the child lives.

Predictably, negotiation over child custody is frequently the most emotionally draining aspect of a divorce settlement. Typically, this is the case when both spouses want sole rather than shared custody.

The details of child custody must meet the satisfaction of a judge before he will finalize the divorce.

Divorce FAQ: What’s Spousal Support?

It’s the modern term for alimony.

Divorce FAQ: How Do You Determine Spousal Support?

There’s no ready-made formula for setting spousal support. Its primary objective is to keep the spouse with the lesser income from being in need.

The spousal support would help that spouse maintain his current standard of living.

Divorce FAQ: Is Spousal Support Automatic?

No. In fact, it’s not as prevalent in Rhode Island as it is in other states.

Both spouses may have independent sources of income that both parties consider sufficient. Therefore, neither person might need spousal support.

No one wants their marriage to fail. But if a divorce is necessary, make it as smooth as possible.

Try to reach an agreement with your spouse on as many issues as possible before you file your divorce papers.

The more details you iron out ahead of time, the faster you’ll legally be free of the marriage.