Rhode Island Divorce

A party can file a divorce in Rhode Island if he or she has resided in the state for at least one year before filing the paperwork. If one of the parties lives out of state, special circumstances apply and should be discussed with an experienced Rhode Island family law attorney. Filing for divorce in Rhode Island does not require the couple to have been married in the state.

A divorcing couple may file what is known as a nominal divorce if they agree to the division of the marital estate (comprised of any property, tangible or intangible, acquired during the marriage), custody of minor children, visitation, and child support. The process for this type of Rhode Island divorce involves filing the necessary documents with the clerk of the Family Court, serving the paperwork on the other party (defendant), appearing for a hearing, and finalizing the divorce within a specified time frame. If all goes well and as agreed, the parties can be legally divorced within three months from the date of the hearing.

If the parties dispute any issue, however, a contested divorce must be filed instead. A contested divorce takes much longer to conclude, and involves a great deal more than a nominal divorce proceeding. The parties may need to visit the courthouse for more than one hearing, in some cases even a trial. The necessary documents can be complicated and difficult to understand without the assistance of an experienced Rhode Island divorce attorney. The entire process can take years to conclude.

Contact Rhode Island divorce attorney Rui P. Alves to schedule a free initial consultation to assess your legal rights. Call him at 401.273.7171 or email him at ralves@bartongilman.com. A native of Portugal, Attorney Alves speaks fluent Portuguese and Spanish.

The following issues could arise during a Rhode Island divorce:


Custody: Who will make major decisions regarding the health, welfare, religion and schooling of the children?

Placement: Who will the children live with more than 50 percent of the time?

Visitation: If one parent is awarded physical custody, what is the visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent?

Child Support: How much will the non-custodial parent have to pay to the custodial parent?


As with other aspects of a divorce settlement, calculating amounts and determining if alimony is appropriate can be confusing. It is in your best interest to hire a Rhode Island divorce attorney experienced in dealing with alimony as part of a divorce agreement.

Property Division

When a couple has been married for any length of time, it is likely that they have shared assets. Rhode Island law requires a fair valuation and division of marital assets. An experienced Rhode Island divorce lawyer can help protect your financial interests.