Rhode Island Contested Divorce Lawyer

Family, Divorce, Criminal Defense Lawyer Susan T. Perkins of Providence, Rhode Island

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Contested Divorces in Rhode Island

When you got married, you likely weren’t thinking about divorce down the road. This fact alone can make the process incredibly overwhelming. Plus, if your spouse becomes hostile, you’ll need to pursue a contested divorce in Rhode Island—which makes things quite a bit more complicated.

At the Law Offices of Susan T. Perkins, we’ve helped clients through contentious, bitter, and even toxic divorces. If you and your spouse are going through a contested divorce in RI, contact our office today at 401-PERKINS for your free case evaluation.

What Qualifies as a Contested Divorce in Rhode Island?

In Rhode Island, any divorce in which spouses are unable to reach an agreement on one or more key issues qualifies as a contested divorce.

Some of these issues include:

Ultimately, it makes no difference whether you disagree on one, some, or all of these matters. Getting a contested divorce means you can’t agree on something and need to sort it out in court.

Grounds for Divorce in RI

Under Rhode Island state law, there are several valid grounds for divorce. The most common reason is, quite simply, irreconcilable differences. You see, Rhode Island is what’s called a no-fault divorce state.

This means you can file for divorce in Rhode Island without having to prove either party did something “wrong.”

However, you can also file for divorce on the basis of fault. If you go this route, you’ll include a specific reason for dissolving the marriage, such as cruelty or adultery.

The Contested Divorce Process in Rhode Island

Here’s what to expect if you’re pursuing a contested divorce in RI:

  • 1. Filing the divorce petition – First, you’ll need to fill out and file a Complaint for Divorce form with the Rhode Island Family Court, as well as other forms such as financial disclosures. You’ll also need to pay any court fees.
  • 2. Serving divorce papers – Next you have to serve your spouse, which means delivering copies of all the filed paperwork. You can’t do this yourself, but you can hire a county sheriff to handle the task.
  • 3. Responding to the petition – Your spouse must officially file an answer within 20 days of being served. If they don’t respond whatsoever, the court may award a default judgment to you—which often means you’re awarded whatever you requested in the initial filing.
  • 4. Discovery process – The purpose of this phase is to identify every single piece of relevant information about your marriage—assets, debts, liabilities, documents, and any other kind of tangible evidence.
  • 5. Settlement or trial – Ideally, your attorney will be able to negotiate a settlement with your spouse. If this isn’t possible, you’ll both proceed with a court trial. All of the evidence will be presented and a judge will make the final ruling on everything from property division to child custody.

Common Key Issues in Contested Divorces

While every contested divorce in Rhode Island is different, there are a few key issues that commonly occur:

  • Division of property – This includes the family home, vehicles, bank accounts, keepsakes, family pets, investments, and anything else you’ve accrued during the marriage
  • Alimony or spousal support – When one spouse is entitled to these payments, the other may disagree about the dollar amount or length of time they’re expected to pay
  • Child custody – This refers not just to where the child will live, but also to who gets the final say on major decisions that affect the child
  • Prenuptial agreements – Courts aren’t required to automatically uphold your prenuptial agreement, plus either spouse has the right to challenge the agreement in court

How a Knowledgeable, Compassionate Rhode Island Divorce Attorney Can Help

The unfortunate reality is that, when you’re going through a contested divorce on your own, you don’t really have anyone in your corner. Your spouse will be focused on what they want. The court’s priority, meanwhile, is to sort everything out according to Rhode Island law.

You need a compassionate, experienced RI divorce attorney who will not just advocate on your behalf, but also make sure you meet deadlines and are aware of every single court appearance.

This is what we do best at the Law Offices of Susan T. Perkins. Plus, when you work with an attorney, you’re much more likely to settle all the details without having to go to trial.

If you’re ready to learn more about getting a contested divorce in Rhode Island, call 401-PERKINS today for your free consultation.

What You Need to Know About Contested Divorce in Rhode Island

How long can a contested divorce typically take in Rhode Island?

A contested divorce in Rhode Island can typically take several months, up to one year or longer. The range is so wide because every contested divorce is completely unique—some can take years to finalize, depending on the issues at hand.

But no matter what, your first divorce hearing will usually be scheduled for about 75 days after you initially file for divorce. So, at the very least, you’re looking at a few months.

Can I appeal the court’s decision in a contested divorce in Rhode Island?

Yes, under R.I. Gen. Laws § 15-5-3, you can appeal the court’s decision in a contested divorce in Rhode Island. But you can’t file an appeal just because you don’t agree with the court’s decision.

Appeals are reserved for cases where you believe the judge committed a legal error, or some other mistake in the court process that negatively or falsely influenced the final judgment.

This is another reason it’s absolutely crucial that you hire a skilled, dedicated Rhode Island divorce attorney as soon as possible. You need someone on your side to make sure your rights and best interests are always protected.

How do I choose the right divorce attorney in Rhode Island?

To choose the right divorce attorney in Rhode Island, consider these factors:

  • Experience – Because divorce can be so complex, you want someone with lots of successful experience handling divorces—not a generalist or a newbie
  • Special factors – If you and your spouse disagree on deeply complicated issues like international investments, look for an attorney with expertise in these areas
  • Communication – Clear communication with your divorce lawyer is essential, so choose an accessible, prompt, and responsive attorney
  • Comfort level – Divorce is a tense, emotional, and often painful process, which is why you have to pick someone you feel you can trust, respect, and rely on

To learn more about how our attorney Susan T. Perkins will help you navigate your contested divorce in Rhode Island, call 401-PERKINS today for your free case consultation.