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What are the legal grounds for divorce in Rhode Island?

The decision to divorce in Rhode Island is not one to be taken lightly. Whether it's a long-term marriage that has slowly deteriorated, a short one that was a mistake or something in between, there are certain legal issues that must be navigated when choosing to end a marriage. Prior to the divorce proceedings moving forward, it's required that there be legal justification for it. Once the reason for the divorce is detailed, then the couple can begin taking steps to dissolve the union.

Divorces are either granted on fault or no-fault grounds. For a no-fault divorce, it must be shown that irreconcilable differences have led to the marriage being unsalvageable. In lieu of irreconcilable differences, the couple must have stopped living together for a minimum of three years. This is generally the easiest way to end a marriage as no one is blaming the other party. A minimum amount of emotional stress is linked to these divorces and if the couple is able to agree on most every issue from spousal support and who will have custody of children - if any - this will be the quickest resolution.

For a fault divorce, there are more factors that must be ironed out. If there is one of the following: impotency, adultery, extreme cruelty, willful desertion for at least five years or if the court decides that enough time has elapsed, drunkenness, drug use, neglect and refusal on the part of the husband to support the spouse for at least one year before filing if he has the ability to do so or gross misbehavior.

It's imperative to remember that there must be a reason given for the divorce. There must be evidence to corroborate that the reason for the divorce filing is valid. If this is not present, there's a chance the court might dismiss the case. The decision to divorce is not a simple one and prior to taking the necessary steps, having a thorough understanding of the law and its numerous ancillary facts can help smooth the process and get the divorce done as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Source:, "Rhode Island Grounds for Divorce," accessed on Sept. 9, 2014

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