Why Most States & RI Have Made No-Fault Divorce the Standard

For generations, proving fault, the seedy or unsavory action of one spouse was the only option or grounds to obtain a divorce. However, no-fault divorce has become very popular in recent years as a way to eliminate a legal and permanent separation based on blame. Its popularity is in response to society’s movement away from seeing a divorcing couple as shameful.

 no-fault divorce

No-fault Divorce

Divorcing without proving fault removes the process of deeming one partner as “innocent” to protect their reputation, character and social status while trashing the other. No-fault divorce was first utilized in the United States in 1933 in New Mexico’s Second Judicial District as a way to avoid the adversarial structure of the law. Since then, nearly every state in the union has adopted no-fault divorce as a standard.

Rhode Island Law

Rhode Island is a “no fault state” divorce state. Read the no fault statute in RI here. Nonetheless, fault grounds can still be alleged to obtain an absolute divorce in RI. Rhode Island divorces can be granted based on irreconcilable differences that lead to the irremediable breakdown of the marriage.

Does irreconcilable no fault grounds in Rhode Island mean the assets are always divided 50% to the wife and 50% to the husband in a divorce in Providence Family court?

No. A no fault divorce in Rhode Island means that fault grounds are not necessary in order to obtain a divorce in RI. Husband and / or wife have to prove irreconcilable differences that led to the breakdown of the marriage to obtain a “no Fault” divorce in Rhode Island. Husband or wife are still able to allege fault grounds that lead to the breakdown of the marriage. Even if a divorce in Rhode Island is filed based on “no fault ” grounds it does not necessarily mean that it will be an uncontested RI divorce.

Fault is still very significant in an irreconcilable differences divorce in Rhode Island and Providence Plantations! If a spouse can establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the other party is at fault for deterioration of the marriage, then they can seek a disproportionate share of the marital assets.

Destructive behavior and fault

The following types of negative or destructive behavior could be grounds to obtain more than fifty percent of the marital assets: alcoholism, drug addiction, domestic violence, criminal history, incarceration, extra marital affairs (cheating), abusive behavior, gambling, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, financial mismanagement, criminal activity, abandonment, etc.

You should consult with a Rhode Island divorce attorney regarding your potential divorce cause of action

Grounds for an at Fault Divorce

Married couples wanting to obtain a divorce in states that still require proof of fault will base their dissolution of marriage on specific grounds that often include:

• Adultery
• Bigamy
• Impotence
• The wife’s pregnancy unknown to the husband prior to the marriage
• Mental, emotional or physical abuse of one spouse to another
• Cruelty
• Abandonment
• Substance abuse
• Insanity
• Becoming infected with a STD (sexually transmitted disease)
• Incarceration
• Marrying a close relative

In some states, additional grounds for divorce can include:

• An irreparable breakdown of the couple’s marriage
• Living apart from each other for an extended time
• Irreconcilable differences
• An irretrievably broken marriage

Why No-Fault Is Beneficial

States have adopted no-fault divorce because it provides valuable benefits to both spouses during and after the divorce process. In addition, it saves the state money, time and problems. Some of these benefits include:

• A reduction of legal fees
• Avoidance of the time-consuming process of proving fault
• Finding fault of the divorcing spouse often requires substantial trial time instead of the quicker method of settling outside of the court system
• Avoidance of unsavory and derogatory testimony by relatives, friends and neighbors spewing a spouse’s misdeeds
• The infliction of emotional injury and trauma on the divorcing couple’s children that will hear detrimental criticism and disparaging remarks of either or both parents
• The need for more judges to handle lengthy trials, which would cost the state significantly more money

No Stopping the Divorce

No-fault divorces are based on some type of irreconcilable difference between the divorcing couple. Because of that, one spouse does not have the legal ability to stop the process of a no-fault divorce.

Usually, no-fault divorce does not alter the standards of child custody. In a proof of fault divorce, one parent might attempt to prove that the other parent is unfit to raise the child through a deficit in their moral character because of adultery or wrongful conduct. Alternatively, the judge in a no-fault divorce simply decides on the custody and support of the children based on the best interest of each child. This process eliminates the need for grounds of immoral turpitude or a depraved character to obtain the divorce.

Many argue that no-fault divorces have placed the concept of marriage in jeopardy and devalued its worth. However, a no-fault divorce can still be a highly stressful and devastatingly emotional event on both spouses.

A Rhode Island divorce attorney

Hiring a competent Rhode Island divorce attorney can help alleviate some of the stress of petitioning the court for divorce. The RI divorce lawyer can provide advice and counsel on how to protect yourself and your children through the process. With effective legal representation, the impact of a marriage’s breakup on each family member can be minimized.

One of the main reasons for no fault divorces is that spouses in the past were lying and perjuring themselves to fraudulently make up fault allegations so that they could get a divorce. Historically, Men were admitting to affairs that never occurred just so they could obtain a divorce!

Wikipedia stated: “Many American lawyers and judges objected to the legal fictions used to satisfy the requirements for divorce, which were effectively rendering oaths meaningless and threatening to wreck the integrity of the American justice system by making perjury into a commonplace occurrence. As early as the 1930s, a treatise on American family law complained:

In divorce litigation it is well known that the parties often seek to evade the statutory limitations and thus there is great danger of perjury, collusion, and fraud . . . . In many cases no defense is interposed, and often when the case is contested the contest is not waged with vigor or good faith.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No-fault_divorce

Here are the fault grounds in Rhode Island pursuant to RI Family law:

” § 15-5-2 Additional grounds for divorce. – Divorces from the bond of marriage shall also be decreed for the following causes:

(1) Impotency;

(2) Adultery;

(3) Extreme cruelty;

(4) Willful desertion for five (5) years of either of the parties, or for willful desertion for a shorter period of time in the discretion of the court;

(5) Continued drunkenness;

(6) The habitual, excessive, and intemperate use of opium, morphine, or chloral;

(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.” http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/title15/15-5/15-5-2.htm

§ 15-5-3.1 Divorce on grounds of irreconcilable differences. – (a) A divorce from the bonds of matrimony shall be decreed, irrespective of the fault of either party, on the ground of irreconcilable differences which have caused the irremediable breakdown of the marriage.

(b) In any pleading or hearing for divorce under this section, allegations or evidence of specific acts of misconduct shall be improper and inadmissible, except for the purpose of making a determination pursuant to §§ 15-5-16 and 15-5-16.1, or where child custody is in issue and the evidence is relevant to establish that parental custody would be detrimental to the child, or at a hearing where it is determined by the court to be necessary to establish the existence of irreconcilable differences.

(c) Upon hearing of an action for divorce under this section, the acts of one party shall not negate the acts of the other nor bar the divorce decree. ” http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/title15/15-5/15-5-3.1.HTM

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