As Rhode Island readers know, in many divorce cases, one of the issues that must be resolved is asset distribution. In matters of family law, particularly divorce and legal separation cases, property division must usually be decided before a court can issue a final order. In cases where couples have amassed substantial wealth, it can be difficult to reach an agreement as to how those assets will ultimately be distributed.
Recently, Anthony Gemma, Rhode Island's democratic congressional candidate, announced that he and his estranged wife plan to divorce. In a campaign-related disclosure regarding the couple's finances, the public learned that the Gemmas have personal assets of at least $3 million, including business partnerships, income from salaries, bank account holdings, investments and retirement accounts. Gemma also disclosed debts and liabilities. And, although it was not listed on the disclosure, the town assessor's office reported that his family's home is valued at $537,300.
Though details on the Gemmas' divorce are scarce, in cases like this, a complex course of asset distribution is typically required. The division of business property and wealth in a divorce can lead to further disputes between separating spouses, since allocations of personal property, determinations regarding real estate and pensions and division of debts must be made.
In most Rhode Island divorces, courts hold that marital assets are divided equally between the spouses. However, depending on the circumstances of a particular case, courts can order a different method of distribution. In a case involving business interests or immense wealth between spouses, a more complex plan for property division may be necessary. When faced with the end of marriage and the need to divide assets, it is important for Rhode Island residents to know that in this state, marriage is considered a partnership. Like in any separation or dissolution of a joint venture, marital assets are usually divided equally, unless facts specific to the case dictate otherwise.
Source: WPRI, "Anthony Gemma discloses more than $3M in personal wealth," Ted Nesi, Aug. 15, 2012