People who decide to get a divorce are often intimidated by the idea. There is this stereotype that the divorce process is full of court hearings, lawyers arguing with each other, and other drama. While some divorces end up like that, most go a different path.
The majority of people opt for an easier way out of marriage – through an uncontested divorce. This article will provide you with information on how to get divorced in the state of Rhode Island and make it easier with the Internet.
General Information to Consider
Before filing for divorce, spouses have to meet residency requirements. The law states that at least one of the partners has to reside in the state for a minimum of one year before filing for divorce.
Rhode Island is a no-fault state. It means that the divorce process can begin if spouses state that the marriage is broken beyond repair due to irreconcilable differences.
The state also recognizes fault-based grounds for divorce. That list includes:
- Drug addiction and/or alcohol abuse;
- Abandonment by one of the spouses or the spouse is presumed dead;
- Willful desertion for at least 5 years, although this number may be lessened per a judge’s decision;
- Cruelty towards spouse and/or children;
- Gross neglect;
Residents of Rhode Island can follow two divorce paths: contested or uncontested divorce. Divorce becomes contested if the spouses have disagreements on important matters such as spousal support, child custody, alimony, etc.
If they can settle on terms without court intervention, the divorce is uncontested and much easier. And it can become even simpler and cheaper if partners go for an online divorce.
In the case of an uncontested divorce, partners can use the services of an attorney, which will ramp up the cost of divorce to $4000-$8000. However, there is a more affordable option to do everything by yourself.
In a do-it-yourself divorce, there is still the matter of paperwork. Divorce papers may be complicated and intimidating. But there is a solution. Partners can use an online divorce service to save time and money on lawyers. In addition, such websites provide spouses with tools to prepare divorce documents for an adequate price.
Steps For an Uncontested Divorce in Rhode Island
Here are all the steps for an uncontested divorce.
Step 1: Initiate the Process
You can receive divorce forms from the local county court directly. The initiator, also known as the plaintiff, has to fill out the Complaint and Verification and submit it to the court. You can also use online divorce services to help you find out what forms are needed for your particular case.
Submitting the forms is not free – the plaintiff has to pay filing fees. Nonetheless, the court may approve a waiver if a person’s income is below a certain level.
After submitting the papers to the court, the initiator receives a “Summons.” This document features details of the case and has to be served to the other party, known as the respondent.
Step 2: Legally Notify Your Partner
After the papers are filed, the package must be delivered to the respondent. Plaintiff has several options on how to proceed with this task:
- Use services of the sheriff of the county where the respondent resides to deliver the paperwork for a fee;
- Use services of a private authorized constable to deliver papers for a fee.
After serving papers, the sheriff or constable returns with the Answer from the respondent. This document serves as proof that the spouse has received the documents, thus authorizing the court to proceed with the case.
Step 3: The Court and Case
Next, the petitioner needs to prepare all the necessary financial information and other documents if required and file them with the court. After this step is completed, the court will assign a formal hearing date. Usually, the court assigns this hearing around 70 days after the initial filing.
On the formal hearing date, both partners appear to the court and bring one witness. The witness is required to attest that the spouses meet the residency requirements and have irreconcilable differences. If one party does not appear, two witnesses are required.
If spouses agree on all the terms such as property division, asset allocation, child custody, and others, the hearing takes place, and the judge asks some questions if needed. After this, the divorce is finalized, but the judge’s decision becomes official after a 90-day waiting period.
Getting a divorce can be easy or complicated. In Rhode Island, the procedure to get an uncontested divorce is not that complicated. The hardest part is to deal with all the papers.
Hiring an attorney might be costly, while filling out all the papers yourself can be exhausting. Thankfully, online divorce companies can assist people with filling out and generating all the required documents, making the divorce inexpensive and less stressful.