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Rhode Island Divorce – Distribution of the Marital Estate

In Rhode Island, the trial judge responsible for equitably distributing property in a divorce engages in a three-step process. The judge first must determine which assets are marital property, second must consider the factors set forth in R.I. Gen. Laws § 15-5-16.1(a), and finally, the judge must distribute the property. The § 15-5-16.1(a) factors that the judge considers are as follows:

(1) The length of the marriage;

(2) The conduct of the parties during the marriage;

(3) The contribution of each of the parties during the marriage in the acquisition, preservation, or appreciation in value of their respective estates;

(4) The contribution and services of either party as a homemaker;

(5) The health and age of the parties;

(6) The amount and sources of income of each of the parties;

(7) The occupation and employability of each of the parties;

(8) The opportunity of each party for future acquisition of capital assets and income;

(9) The contribution by one party to the education, training, licensure, business, or increased earning power of the other;

(10) The need of the custodial parent to occupy or own the marital residence and to use or own its household effects taking into account the best interests of the children of the marriage;

(11) Either party’s wasteful dissipation of assets or any transfer or encumbrance of assets made in contemplation of divorce without fair consideration; and

(12) Any factor which the court shall expressly find to be just and proper.

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Categories: Divorce, Family Court, Family Law.

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