Family Law

Families are complicated.

Whether you are headed for divorce, struggling to work out custody and visitation for your children or seeking reunification with your children after DCYF intervention, legal issues involving your family can be some of the most complex, emotional and important legal issues you will face.

Regardless of how amicable or how contentious a divorce may be, the process can be one of the most overwhelming and emotional legal processes a person faces in their life. If you need legal assistance in this difficult time please call me at 401-453-5633. I ensure the highest level of discretion, compassion and zealous representation in your divorce proceedings.

Some Basics

  • In order to file for divorce in Rhode Island, one spouse must have been a Rhode Island resident for 1 consecutive year before filing for divorce.
  • Rhode Island recognizes both at-fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. Among the reasons for divorce are: irreconcilable differences causing a breakdown in the marriage; adultery; impotency; willful desertion for 5 years; addiction to drugs or alcohol; neglect, abuse, or cruelty; or any other gross misbehavior that violated the marital covenant, as validated by the courts.
  • RI courts encourage separating couples to engage in mediation to reach fair resolutions. Mediation is both voluntary and informal and allows both parties to help craft a legally binding decision regarding all aspects of their divorce. If a couple cannot reach an agreement, however, the courts will intervene and enforce final decisions on behalf of the couple.
  • In RI, there are two types of divorce – contested or nominal. A nominal divorce is easier, less expensive and can be accomplished when both spouses are willing to work with one another to reach a settlement. It is extremely helpful to have legal representation even during an uncontested divorce so that you understand your rights to certain assets, custody arrangements with your children, and other aspects of divorce. In order to pursue a nominal divorce, you and your spouse must also agree on various topics relating to your divorce such as: Alimony, Child support, Child custody, Visitation, Debt division, Asset division, Health insurance, Benefits
  • In the event two spouses cannot agree on a settlement to any of the issues above, they can go through a contested divorce. Contested divorces can be extremely complicated and lengthy. Often they require hiring experts to testify about assets, pension plans, and perhaps the value of a company. Even if you did not have an attorney in the initial stages of the divorce process, you will want to hire one once the divorce becomes contested.

Whether you are going through a divorce or were never married and are now struggling to agree on custody and visitation with the other parent of your child, custody and visitation issues can be emotional and difficult.

There are two basic types of child custody that may be determined by the court.

  • Legal Custody: This is the legal right of either one or both parents to make important life decisions for the child including medical treatments, education, and religion. In the event that both parents both have joint legal custody, they will equally have the right to make decisions, and they are required to consult one another prior to acting.
  • Physical Custody: This deals with the physical placement of the child. One parent may have sole physical custody and the other parent has visitation rights. In some cases both parents will share joint physical custody and the child will spend time in both homes on a schedule agreed upon by the parties or ordered by the court.

The Rhode Island Family Court has established guidelines for determining child support payments.  An experienced family attorney can held you in a number of circumstances that arise including the following:

  • Filing a motion to establish child support
  • Modifying an existing child support order
  • Filing or defending against motions for contempts