Say it Aint So ABC News! ABC’s horrible RI Divorce Article

ABC News recently released an article entitled “Top 7 Worst States for Divorce”. This article is terrible journalism and is wrong in nearly all respects concerning Rhode Island Divorce Law

ABC news : amateur hour

This article lists Rhode Island and Providence Plantations as one of the worst 7 states in the country to get a divorce. This article cites a New York Divorce and Family Law Attorney who is uniformed about RI Divorce law as its source. It is unclear why ABC News did not interview a Rhode Island Divorce attorney concerning the details of RI Domestic relations law.

RI divorce- wrong information

The problem is- that most of the information in the article concerning the particulars about Rhode Island divorce law and divorce process is wrong! If the premises of the article are totally incorrect and uniformed, the conclusion concerning Rhode Island being a bad state to obtain a divorce is not even worth mentioning.Even more troubling, is that ABC News provides a link to this New York Divorce Lawyer’s website. This link raises real questions as to whether this purported news article is really lawyer advertising / blogging disguised as legitimate journalism.

This piece of purported journalism is a hatchet job amateurism which is a disgrace to the foundations of journalistic integrity. According to the article, the NY divorce lawyer “said he used data from the U.S. Census Bureau, state bar associations, Bloomberg and state legislature websites.”

NY Divorce lawyer clowning around

REALLY!? Some guy does a bit of online research and can be relied on to accurately determine which states are the worst to get a divorce?”Was there a quid pro quo for this lawyer to get his link on this website? For sure, this link is very valuable on a high profile AUTHORITATIVE website such as ABC News.  If this is advertising or a guest blog then ABC News should call it as it is.

Did this New York child custody law firm pay to get a link in the article? Is this a blog post or is it a LEGITIMATE news article?

The article claims that Rhode Island “hands out a minimum processing time of 510 days, making it the second-longest waiting period for a divorce, Provda said.” First of all, As a RI Divorce Attorney with 18 years of experience in Providence Family Court, I have no idea what he is referring to when he says “minimum processing time.”  A divorce isn’t really processed by the Rhode Island Family Court!

Waiting period

A divorce is litigated by the parties and ruled on by the Judges with the assistance 0f RI court clerks and staff. To the extent he is referring to the minimum amount of time it takes to obtain an absolute divorce in Rhode Island then he is completely incorrect in stating it takes 510 days to obtain a final judgment of divorce in RI. In Rhode Island pursuant to RI Law § 15-5-14 (b)   it typically takes 60 days after filing for the divorce nominal hearing. If everything is agreed to on that nominal  date or if there is a default then the divorce MAY be heard on that day. After that nominal hearing and the decision at the nominal, there is a three month waiting period. Therefore it takes a minimum of 151 days to obtain a divorce in Rhode Island not 510 days as set forth in the article.  Shame on ABC NEWS!

RI divorce law: 60 days to wait for nominal hearing

§ 15-5-14 (b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, no petition for divorce or separation shall be in order for hearing until after the expiration of sixty (60) days after the filing of the petition…

The Providence Family court Clerks process paperwork AND FORMS but this certainly does not take 510 days!

The article also cites the NY family law lawyer for proposition that: “Even after filing, there is a long ‘cool down’ period with another five months. As in the rest of the region, Rhode Island has a low marriage rate, low divorce rate and a high, almost 30, median age at first marriage,”

Pursuant to RI General law, 15-5-23 there is a three month waiting / cooling off period not a 5 month period as set forth on the article. “§ 15-5-23 Remarriage – Final decree. – After final decree for divorce from the bond of marriage either party may marry again; but no decree for a divorce shall become final and operative until three (3) months after the trial and decision….”

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