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Determining spousal support in a Rhode Island divorce

When a couple in Rhode Island decides to divorce, one spouse may be at a distinct financial disadvantage compared to the other spouse. This is especially true if one spouse gave up a career to take care of the family, or if a spouse supported the other spouse financially while that spouse went to school and worked up the career ladder. When such financial disparities exist, it is possible that the court may award the financially disadvantaged spouse spousal support.

However, spousal support can be a hot button family law issue. Disputes often arise as to the amount of the award and how it will be paid. That is why it is important to understand the statutory factors a Rhode Island court will consider when making a spousal support award.

First of all, a court in Rhode Island will consider how long the couple was married, and how each spouse conducted himself or herself while married. If a spouse is not employed, the court will also consider each spouse's ability to be employed, along with any vocational skills of that spouse.

If the spouse is employed, then the spouse's job and source of that spouse's income, along with its amount, will be considered. Furthermore, each spouse's health, as well as how old they are, will be taken into account. In addition, each spouse's needs and liabilities are factors in determining spousal support.

If one of the spouses has primary custody of a child via a parenting plan and must stay at home to take care of the child, that is a factor in the court's decision. Finally, the extent to which a spouse will need to go to school or take other steps to find a job will be a factor.

It is not always easy for a Rhode Island court to determine a spousal support award. But with all these factors in place, it is possible to come to a fair amount.

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