Rhode Island Grounds for Divorce

The Complaint for Divorce is the initial document filed with the Rhode Island court. It is in this document that the filing will request the court to terminate the marriage under certain specified grounds.

A divorce shall be decreed by the court on the following grounds.

No-Fault Based Grounds:
(1) Irreconcilable differences which have caused the breakdown of the marriage. (2) Living separate and apart without cohabitation for at least 3 years.

Fault Based Grounds:
(1) Impotency; (2) Adultery; (3) Extreme cruelty; (4) Willful desertion for 5 years or for a shorter period if the court believes it is a valid amount of time to terminate a marriage. (5) Continued drunkenness; (6) Drug abuse; (7) Neglect and refusal, for the period of at least one year next before the filing of the petition, on the part of the husband to provide necessaries for the subsistence of his wife, the husband being of sufficient ability; and (8) Any other gross misbehavior and wickedness, in either of the parties, repugnant to and in violation of the marriage covenant. (General Laws of Rhode Island - Title 15 , Chapters 15-5-2 15-5-3, 15-5-3.1 1505-5)

Every divorce case that is filed in the state of Rhode Island must declare the grounds in which the divorce is to be granted. The grounds for divorce must be substantiated with evidence or testimony otherwise the court may dismiss the case. When you are petitioning the court for a divorce, or agreeing to a divorce, make sure that you completely understand the grounds and any potential legal repercussions. If you would like to learn more about the Rhode Island grounds, visit the Rhode Island state statutes located at: