In Rhode Island, marital property is not automatically divided 50-50 when a couple files for divorce. This is because the legal theory of community property is not recognized. Instead, equitable distribution is used to divide the property.
This means that divorce courts take into account a wide range of factors when deciding how marital property and marital debt should be divided between spouses. The following are some of the most common factors that are considered.
The length of the marriage and the circumstances of the divorce
All marriages are different. A marriage ending after 30 years due to irreconcilable differences will be treated very differently by courts than a marriage lasting less than 1 year that ended due to an affair, for example.
The contribution of both spouses to the marriage
While one spouse may have been earning a significant income to provide for the family financially, the other could have been spending their time raising the children and maintaining the home. Both of these contributions are considered valuable in the eyes of the courts.
Wasteful dissipation of assets
While contributions to the marriage are considered, wasteful actions will also be taken into account. Let’s say a spouse was working long hours under the pretense of providing for the family but were, in fact, racking up debt due to alcohol consumption and gambling. This situation would likely be seen as the wasteful dissipation of assets by the courts.
If you are going through a divorce in Rhode Island, you must know how the marital assets will likely be divided between you and your ex-spouse. You should also understand how you can impact the outcome.