When a marriage ends, the toughest part is separating the joint life that a couple had created together. The common life of a couple is a mix of family, love, time, energy and assets. Parting ways means walking away with what is rightfully yours and sharing what is not with your spouse.

Rhode Island follows the law of equitable distribution, which means all marital property is divided between the couple based on the principle of fairness, rather than equality. While dividing property, a court will first determine what assets were acquired during the marriage. Such assets are called marital property and in most cases, would be included in the divorce settlement. However, personal possessions including individual gifts, inheritance, and property acquired before marriage or with money earned before marriage are referred to as separate property and would not be distributed as part of the divorce settlement.

While distributing assets, the court will consider many factors. These factors may include the length of the marriage, custody of children, personal conduct, employability, age and health, financial contribution and conduct, the financial contribution of one party to the other party’s professional growth or any other factor the court may deem important in certain cases. If a couple has children, usually, the parent with primary custody will get the family house.

Going into the tedious but crucial task of dividing property, it is important that you are aware of your rights. Depending on the case and how it is presented, such settlements can vary significantly. For case specific advice, it is important to consult an attorney who specializes in property division to help ensure you get your fair share before you agree to settle.