Divorce is never easy; no one ever thinks it will happen to his or her marriage, and the emotional toll can be severe even if spouses are not bitterly divided. Although the top concern for married parents should be the welfare and well-being of their children, the dispensation of property is often the most contested part of a divorce.

Rhode Island law helps to simplify the process of marital property division so there is a minimum of complications that may cause confusion or dispute. The specifics of these laws determine, for one thing, what property is considered “marital property” and not the personal property of individuals.

In general, any property obtained by the couple during the marriage can be marital property and subject to division and assignment to one spouse or the other. Some exceptions, such as personal gifts and inheritances, may be judged as individual assets or possessions.

Like most states, Rhode Island uses the rule of equitable distribution when courts are faced with the decision of separating assets for divorcing spouses. This means that valuable accounts and possessions may be assigned based on what a spouse has earned or must have due to an effort made towards an asset or a necessary standard of living.

It is always recommended that each spouse in a divorce retain legal counsel to represent their interests and ensure their fair treatment in a divorce court, even in an amicable separation. Consider an attorney if you are thinking of or preparing for divorce in Rhode Island. A lawyer can help identify factors for alimony and other forms of financial support as well as initial property division.