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We're separating in Rhode Island. What do I do next?

Whether married or living together, you will face many questions when separating in Rhode Island. You may discover some answers by communicating with your significant other or spouse. The roots of the best solutions are often started by two people communicating. However, anger or distrust may interfere with communications; a third party is often helpful to creating solutions.

Many people have sought their own ventures and paths differently than their parents. Their method of finding solution are different, too. They see the value of mediation, in that it is more economical and allows the participants, working with one professional, more control of the process and their decisions.

Unmarried with children.

If you own no joint property, the main topic will be concern children. Custody, parenting plans (previously known as visitation and often still referred to as such) and child support are the issues to be resolved. The first questions will concern where will I live, when will the kids see each parent and who is paying support.

Most people enjoy joint custody meaning that both parents have a say in the major decisions involved in the upbringing of a child, including medical issues, education, religion and where the children will reside.

The parenting plan establishes the schedule for the time a child spends with each parent, including overnights and blocks of time, provisions for holidays and vacation time. In developing a plan, try to look at things from the point of view of the child.

Child support will be determined by a formula that the state uses. The actual amount may vary from the Child Support Guideline amount based upon certain circumstances.

Married with Children

There are many topics to cover in this situation. Again, your first questions will concern where each party will live and when each will see the kids.

In Rhode Island, the assets and debts of the parties will be equitably distributed. Assets include bank accounts, investments, retirement accounts, vehicles and real estate acquired during the marriage (except gifts).

Health insurance is a topic that will require investigating whether the provider of the insurance will allow a former spouse to remain on the policy. Separation should not change current coverage.

Life insurance will reviewed and determined if it should be continued and who the beneficiary will be.

Children issues as set forth above will be treated in the same manner.

Spousal support is less of an issue where both parents work. Alimony, if applicable, is usually of a short duration (rehabilitative alimony) and rarely permanent.

In all cases, it is advisable to hire a divorce professional to guide you through the process that works for you and helps you plan for your future.

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Law Office of Steven J. Hirsch, Esq

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