Jump to Navigation

Tell Us About
Your Situation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

Steve Hirsch Avvo - Rate your Lawyer. Get Free Legal Advice.

Rhode Island Family Law Blog

A brief overview of the development of divorce in America

The right to divorce in America seems to be a given, and these days Rhode Island residents can even get a "no-fault" divorce, by citing "irreconcilable differences" as the reason behind their split. However, it has not always been possible or easy to get a divorce. Let's take a look back in time and explore a brief overview of the history of divorce in the United States.

In the early 1800s, it was recognized, that just as a union of countries could be broken up, a couple in the union of marriage should also be allowed to break up. In the 1800s, "omnibus clauses" and other legal ambiguities were used to allow a couple to divorce. Usually to get divorced, there had to be proof of physical abuse or adultery. However, an omnibus clause made it possible for a couple to divorce if the court deemed it to be reasonable and just. This lead to a rise in divorce rates between 1850 and 1900.

What factors may a court consider when deciding on child custody?

When parents in Rhode Island are divorcing, one of their primary concerns is usually their child. Not only may they be concerned about their child's well-being during the divorce process, but they may also be concerned about child custody issues and how much time they will have with their child post-divorce.

In Rhode Island, parents can decide on their own to create a joint custody schedule. However, if the matter is left up to the court, this may not be the case. It may be more probable for one party to have sole physical custody and the other parent to have visitation rights. There are a number of factors a Rhode Island court will consider when making child custody decisions.

Divorce presents a variety of family law issues to resolve

Getting divorced in Rhode Island involves much more than one party moving out of the family home and signing a few documents after a trip to the courtroom. It is important to understand what issues need to be resolved and how to best go about reaching an outcome that is fair. For this reason, many people seeking a divorce may need to get more information before any decisions are made.

First of all, if the couple has children a parenting plan that addresses custody and visitation will need to be established. Father's rights are important in such situations, as in many cases a child deserves to have a meaningful relationship with both parents. In addition, child support will be another issue in such situations.

Prenuptial agreements may not be romantic, but they are practical

Couples in Rhode Island who are engaged to be married may have stars in their eyes, but they should not forget the financial practicalities that married life will bring. After all, they may have an idea as to whose property should be whose, and what property will be owned by the two of them. One way to cement these notions is by creating a prenuptial agreement. And, in fact, according to a 2013 American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers survey, 63 percent of members surveyed stated that they saw an uptick in the creation of prenuptial agreement since 2010.

Of course, a prenuptial agreement can address how property will be split should the couple divorce, but it can do so much more. For example, it can also address how property will be distributed if one spouse passes away. This can especially come in handy if it is one or both of the spouses' second marriage, and there are children from the first marriage. Also, prenuptial agreements can establish how much spousal support, if any, will be paid should the couple divorce. Prenuptial agreements are meant to protect both spouses' financial interests, as well as make the divorce process run smoother, should it come to that.

Does an expensive wedding increase the possibility of divorce?

Weddings are a big deal, and not just to the two individuals waiting to join hands in marriage. Couples in Rhode Island planning a wedding will find that between finding the right wedding dress, flowers, food, music and venue, planning a wedding can have a significant impact on their pocketbook. In the United States, couples will spend approximately $30,000 on their wedding, on average. However, is there any correlation between wedding costs and whether the couple's relationship will last?

A study out of Emory University has reported that the cost of a couple's wedding ceremony could have an effect on whether or not the couple will eventually divorce. According to the study, couples that spent over $20,000 on their wedding were 1.6 times more likely to divorce when compared to those who spent only between $5,000 and $10,000 on their wedding. Couples who spent $1,000 or less on their wedding, according to the study, were the least likely to divorce. However, given all of this, the study also reported that the more guests that came to the couple's wedding the lower the rate of divorce.

Modifying child support payments with the help of OCSS

Many parents who are paying child support in Rhode Island live up to their financial obligations. However, some of them may someday find themselves facing unexpected financial hardships. When this happens, they may wish to modify their child support order.

If the paying parent's case is currently receiving services from the Rhode Island Office of Child Support Services, and if the parent is a state resident, they may ask the court for a modification, known as a "Motion for Relief." OCSS may be able to assist paying parents in this situation with this request.

Child support arrears could result in passport denial

As most Rhode Island residents know, in order to travel abroad a person needs a valid passport. Those who do not have a valid passport will not be allowed to leave the country.

International travel aside, when parents pay child support, they are obligated to make all payments on time and in full. If they fail to do so, it could result in penalties, including the denial of a passport. This could not only ruin a person's vacation plans, but if a person has to travel abroad for work, the job could be in jeopardy.

Couples may wait until after the holidays to divorce, study says

Labor Day has come and gone in Rhode Island, signaling the end of summer and ushering in the fall season. This time of year, according to some researchers, also ushers in another aspect of life for some couples -- divorce.

A study by sociologists at the University of Washington reported that there are two peak times for divorce: March and August. The study examined the number of divorce filings in Washington spanning from 2001 to 2015. Notably, the peaks occurred both after the winter holiday season and the summer vacation season before the start of school.

How can mediation help address your divorce legal issues?

Getting a divorce can be an emotionally-charged event. Feelings such as anger, resentment, guilt and sadness bubble to the surface, causing some Rhode Island spouses to continue fighting even after they have separated. However, leaving the matter up to a judge via litigation may not end up in the result you want. If you can set your negative emotions aside, mediating your divorce might be one way to tailor your outcome to meet your needs and move forward.

Child custody these days may differ from that of past generations

So-called "Generation X" and "Millenium" couples in Rhode Island who have children may find that their lives are very different from those of their parents. For example, unlike previous generations, it is more likely that both partners have jobs outside the home. Moreover, both partners may be more involved in raising the children and keeping the home than in past generations.