Rhode Island Uncontested Divorce

This information is an overview of the uncontested Rhode Island divorce filing process and a summary of the divorce papers that are typically filed with the family law or domestic relations clerk. This overview is not intended to be an exact step-by-step guide for those "do it yourself divorce" filers, due to the fact that many cases are unique and the overview presented here is often not the only method of obtaining an uncontested divorce in Rhode Island.

To file for a divorce in Rhode Island, either the husband or the wife must be a resident of the state for a year before filing, which may be done in the county of residence of the Plaintiff unless the residency requirement has been satisfied in the Defendant’s residence.

Grounds for divorce are No-Fault, which are 1) irreconcilable differences causing an irremediable breakdown in the marriage or 2) living separate and apart without cohabitation for three years. General grounds are 1) impotence, 2) adultery, 3) abandonment and presumed dead, 4) alcoholism and/or drug addiction, 5) willful desertion for five years (or less, at the discretion of the court, 6) cruel and inhuman treatment, 7) bigamy, and 8) gross neglect.

Actions are filed in the Family Court.

The person filling the action is called the Plaintiff; the party responding is called the Defendant.

In all divorce actions, a court hearing is required. In all actions, an official Financial Statement must be filed. In addition in actions involving minor children, an official Child Support Guidelines form must be used.

Here are some of the forms that must be filed for a divorce:

> a Complaint for Divorce, which identifies the parties, states the ground, and starts the action;

> a Verification, which certifies the accuracy and truth of the Complaint;

> a Marital Settlement Agreement, which states the terms and conditions of the division and distribution of the marital estate;

> a Schedule for Visitation for Minor Children, which establishes the visitation schedule when there are minor children;

> Child Support Guidelines, Worksheet and Income Table, which deal with the support of minor children, if applicable;

> a Declaration Under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA), which establishes the custody of minor children, if applicable;

> an Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Service, by which the Respondent enters an appearance in the action and waives service of process;

> a Notice of Hearing, which puts the Respondent on notice that a hearing in the action will be held;

> Final Judgment of Divorce, which ends the marriage when the court signs the Decree.