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Rhode Island residents should think about children during divorce

When a marriage seems to be beyond repair and the couple chooses to part, they have to deal with many issues, of which the divorce itself may not be the most significant. As Rhode Island residents may be aware, divorce can be granted on a number of grounds, including willful neglect and irreconcilable differences. As in other states, there is also the consideration of what happens to the couple's children. 

In cases where the divorce is by mutual consent, the two people involved tend to split their possessions, especially those that were acquired during the course of the marriage. This division of the marital estate can be quite challenging, however, and sometimes it needs to be helped along by court orders.

Often, mediation becomes essential in order to conclude the divorce without much acrimony. However, in cases where some kind of abuse is involved, mediation may not be an option. In all cases, child custody is an important question; courts will generally not rule in favor of parents with a track record of domestic abuse.

Mediation, or a Guardian Ad litem, can also be required if the parents cannot agree on child custody. If there is no agreement by the parties, courts have to determine whether the child will be better provided for by one parent rather than the other and rule accordingly. This affects other decisions like visitation rights, which under Rhode Island law can include visitation by a grandparent or a parted sibling. While it may seem like interference, courts may seek to ensure that one of the partners does not get an unfair deal and suffer even after the divorce. Because dividing the marital estate and making plans for children can be complicated for those going through it for the first time, it might be wise to seek legal advice before proceeding with any filing.

Source: Helena Independent Record, "How to have a cooperative, child-centered divorce", Linda Gryczan, April 9, 2014

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