Rhode Island Residency Requirements
To legally file for divorce in the state of Rhode Island individuals
must first meet the residency requirements set by the state. These laws
require that at least one or both individual reside in the state
boundaries of Rhode Island for a minimum of one year prior to filing
Divorce complaints may be filed by either individual. Since divorce
cases are handled by the county circuit courts, divorces are to be
filed to the county in which the filer resides. If both individuals
file for divorce and both individuals reside within the state but in
different counties, then the divorce request may be petitioned to
either individual's county of residency.
In order for a divorce to be legal in the United States, the petition
must include the grounds for divorce. Grounds for divorce are the
reasons why the individuals involved desire a legal divorce. However
each state has different grounds for divorce, so the grounds from one
state may not be legal in the state of Rhode Island.
One individual may petition the court under certain divorce grounds but
will need to show evidence for these grounds before the court. Two
individuals may petition for divorce and present the divorcing grounds
as previously agreed upon.
Rhode Island divides its divorce grounds into two different categories:
No-Fault grounds and Fault grounds. No-Fault grounds do not name one
individual responsible for the divorce petition, instead both
individual cite that no one is responsible. Marriage counseling often
precedes divorce filing in these circumstances.
No-Fault grounds include two reasons for divorce: irreconcilable
differences and no cohabitation. Irreconcilable differences state that
both individuals agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Under
no cohabitation grounds the individuals involved must live in separate
living spaces for a minimum of three years prior to filing for divorce.
Fault grounds cite one individual responsible for the divorce filing
and include eight different grounds under this category. These include
committing adultery by either individual, impotency of either
individual, extreme cruelty of either individual to the other,
continued and extended drunken behavior of either individual, willingly
deserting a spouse for a minimum of five years, habitual drug usage by
either individual--including morphine, chloral, or opium--the committing
of gross behavior by either individual that violates the covenant of
marriage, or refusing and neglecting to provided the marital
necessities for a minimum of one year, including financially,
physically, and emotionally.
Under the grounds where a spouse is deserted by another, the court has
the right to grant a divorce after a shorter time period than five
The state of Rhode Island is considered an equitable distribution state
where all property acquired during the marriage is to be distributed in
an equitable manner. This means that the property will be awarded in a
fair manner rather than an equal manner.
If the individuals involved cannot divide the property themselves, the
court will award the property accordingly. The court will consider the
financial situations of, the custody awarded to, and the economical
situations of the individuals before awarding any property.